Hiking Big Bottom Wilderness

The Big Bottom Wilderness Area came into being in 2009. Located on the Clackamas River about 42 miles from Estacada it can be approached most easily by following State Highway (SH) 224 to Ripplebrook Guard Station and then Primary Forest Route (PFR) 46. Turn right on a Secondary Forest Route (SFR) 4670, cross the bridge over the Clackamas River and turn right on the gravel road leading down river. Travel about a mile and park at a spur road leading downhill. The immediate area has been freshly logged so road signs may not be available but on a map the parking area will be road 120. A “big tree” adventure awaits you about a mile down this old logging road.

walking Big Bottom Wilderness
Larry Rea Hiking Big Bottom Wilderness Clackamas County

My son and I hiked into the area to look for some of Oregon’s biggest old growth trees. It would be difficult to get lost in this small wilderness area but to be on the efficient side it would be a good idea to carry a compass. Thrashing around in the brush can get confusing (and frustrating). If you stay on the old roadbed you will miss seeing the Big Trees although it is pleasant in the grove of old growth trees along the river.

Chris and fallen tree
Chris and windfall tree Big Bottom Wilderness; Clackamas County

This fallen tree won’t set any size records but does create a formidable barrier to travel.

I wonder if it made any sound when it fell. We did hear the sound of limbs falling while we were hiking around. The wind wasn’t blowing… that would have made me nervous… and some of the trees lean at seemingly impossible angles. Given the number of fallen trees one might wonder if root rot is a problem in this grove.

At any rate on a nice spring day a hike in these woods can be quite enjoyable.




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