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CZ Trail (Crown Zellerbach Trail)

  • Length:
    5.4 miles
  • Difficulty:
  • Nearby Cities:
    Scappoose, St. Helens, Columbia City
  • Region:
    Greater Portland
  • Attributes:
    Mountain Views, Non-technical, Rail-to-Trail

Trailhead Elevation: 128 ft


Get directions to the trailhead on Google Maps

In Oregon, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle, and the same Oregon road laws apply. Please “be seen” and practice safe riding. Vehicle traffic, farm equipment and narrow shoulders exist on many Oregon roads, and you may find that construction projects, traffic or other events may cause road conditions or signage to differ from the map results, ride descriptions and directions. For travel options plus weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941. Routes listed on this website are for informational purposes and intended as a reference guide only.

We need more urban places to ride, and bike paths for both inexperienced and experienced riders. The CZ trail is a great place to take the children to learn how to ride in a safe environment. The CZ trail is short and mostly flat and offers a great view of wildlife in the Multnomah Channel.

The trail is an old converted rail line. The terrain is slightly downhill from the market to the Multnomah Channel. Part of the trail is paved and part of it is a hard-packed gravel surface. This is an out-and-back trail that is 5.4 miles one way or 10.8 miles out and back. This is an excellent trail to take the family along. This end of the trail is the other end of the Banks to Vernonia Trail. Soon there will be an off road bike path from Scappoose to Banks.

From Portland head north on Hwy. 30 toward Saint Helens. Look for the last light-signal in Scappoose, just past the fire station. Turn left at the light, onto Scappoose-Vernonia Road and follow the signs toward Vernonia. The trailhead is located approximately 2 miles off Hwy. 30 and just across from the Scappoose B&B Market at the corner of Scappoose-Vernonia Road and Sam Blehm Road.


  1. I’m fully documenting the Crown-Zellerback trail at

  2. I would rate this closer to moderate than mild. From the parking lot to the end of the trail its a straight incline and most of the path is gravel. It was tricky at times to navigate with my kids in the bike trailer and with no leveling out areas my 6yr old got tired quicker than usual. That being said its a beautiful ride through the forest will definitely do again without a bike trailer.

  3. I tried to ride down from Chapman but came to a dead end there just past Cater Hill Road. Big pile of rocks and no apparent way to get across the creek. Does any one know a way past that point?

  4. I have done the “trail” fromScappoose to Vernonia on a fat tire (not a mountain)bike. Ther are two creeks that you have to ford.
    I dismount and hop from rock to rock. You could wade or balance on a downed tree. I’ve seen all three methods done.

  5. I’ve ridden the trail for a while on a road bike. It’s all about comfort level, and skill. The avalanche and creek crossings are by-passable, as long s you know the adjoining highway well. I’d recommend getting to know it now before it gets paved, on any bike you want.

  6. They are building a bridge over Alder Creek. Soon there will be one less creek to cross.

  7. I did the Crown Zellerbach Trail starting in dwn twn Portland out on Hwy 30 to Scappoose (approximately 20 miles) to the Scappoose-Vernonia Hwy to Vernonia. The Scappoose to Vernonia took approximately 3 hrs on the Crown Zellerbach Trail. It is definately suited for mountain bike tire size bikes. I used a road bike with 28 mm width tires and there are plenty of places where gravel and this tire width and speed do not mix. You just have to go slower. I did get through to the Sentry Market in Vernonia in about 3 hrs time, some walking included on a steep climb.

    Another important point, I expected to come out in Pittsburg, according to what you see if you Google map the trail, but I ended up coming out on E. Knott St. in Vernonia. This is something of a short cut if look at from the Google map and traveling on 47 with very little shoulder can be difficult with trafifc. There just isn’t that much room on the road for cars and bikes, so avoiding as much time on 47 (Scappoose-Veronia Hwy) is good. Stick to the trail. The CZ TTrail turns into the Columbia Forest Rd (it’s a trail, road only in name) to Pebble Creek Mtn (again trail) which in the last down hill stretch, just as you pass under power lines, appear to dead end with a blockage of logs and over growth to prevent vehicles from entering. There is a small go up and
    around just to the right of this impediment and a very steep, rain washed, gullied down hill stretch to a large metal gate, you’ll be on the valley floor and see a barn/building, go around the gate easily and left onto E.Knott St. to E.Mist/Hwy 47 into Vernonia. (Scappoose-Vernonia this way approximately 16 miles give or take)

    Continue on to the Banks-Vernonia going through Trail through LL Stub Stewart Park to Banks (approx 20 miles) then into Hillsboro (another 12.5 miles or so).

    It’s a combination road and trail ride with the trail part being the CZ Trail. But the rest is paved road or trail and if you have the time to get back to Portland from Hillsboro (I ended up in dwn twn Hillsboro @ 9:10pm and took the Max in, started at 2:40pm, admittedly late).

    Columbia County and the CZ Trail and who ever else is involved in making this trail work have done a serious upgrade along the way in terms of several river/stream crossings. I did this on a road bike and walked about a mile in parts where it was too rough to ride and I was tired. It might be too much to think this will be a paved road bike path like the Banks-Vernonia but it’s an excellent trail ride and if you tolerate relatively slow going on a road bike and the pounding/abuse your bike will take, I recommend it. Start earlier than I did though.

  8. I just rode the trail yesterday, from the Scappoose trailhead to the top of the ridge before it drops into the Vernonia drainage. It’s awesome! Did it on a road bike with 25mm front, 28mm rear tires- totally doable, you just have to slow down for a few sections that get a little rough and pick your line. No hike-a-bike, nothing even questionable. I rode it from Portland, on a whim when I saw the trailhead sign, so the road bike was ideal for that. If you’re driving out and just riding the trail a cx bike might be a better choice so you can monster-truck all the little bumpy sections. Have fun, it’s great and almost totally tree covered, so a good choice for a hot day.

  9. I ran across a picture taken in 1983 or a huge old growth tree. Crown Zellbacker info board gave tree stats but not clue as to the location. Anyone know if the tree still exists? It looked like a spot many would stop for photos. Thanks!

  10. Just rode the trail this past week, from Scappoose up over the top to Hwy. 47. Great ride, once you get out of town it becomes very sylvan; even though it closely parallels the main Scappoose-Vernonia road it felt wonderfully remote. Easy to follow, but no junction or other signing. We missed the turn to go up Cedar Creek Rd. (to Schaeffer & Apiary) because…well, we just missed it due to no signing. Turned out OK because staying on the trail was excellent.

    Surface generally pretty good, I rode it on 35c tires but a more accomplished cyclist than I could probably do 28c without much difficulty.

    Grade is very gradual (old logging RR grade, I believe, later converted to truck haul road) with a few steep rollers up near the summit. A few boggy areas up there too, even though its been try for a while.

    At the summit the C-Z does a big buttonhook & crosses under the highway. Downhill commences, lovely in here but some downed logs yet to be cleared. No big deal.

    After leveling out & passing a large open area, the C-Z spur crosses the road again (at grade) and passes a gate (still signed as C-Z Trail) We started up this (very, very, steep climb, no longer a rail grade) but realized we were heading S/W towards Vernonia – and we wanted to go north on 47. So we turned around, went back to the Scap-Vernonia road, and rode that to 47. Looks like there’s a parallel gravel road on the north side of the highway but not sure…?

    Anyway, an altogether beautiful ride. And – the Coastal Mountain Sport Haus just north of Apiary Rd. on hwy. 47 is a fabulous place to stay if you want to go the luxurious route. If not, Big Eddy county campgound is a lovely spot.

Submitted by

Barlow Bikes

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