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Riverside Trail to Rainbow Campground

EASY 75 reviews
#36 of 156 trails in

Riverside Trail to Rainbow Campground is a 7.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Estacada, Oregon that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.7 miles Elevation Gain: 675 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly



mountain biking

nature trips


bird watching






wild flowers


Directions from Estacada: Travel south on Hwy. 224 for 25.6 miles (approximately .50 mile past Ripplebrook Guard Station), and turn right onto Rd. 46. On Rd. 46, travel 1.8 miles and the trailhead is located on the right.

3 months ago

We loved it!! Suuuuper long haha, probably longer than 7 miles there and back. Regardless, it was beautiful and very fun. Actually filled up my water bottle half way from the clear stream, and it was so refreshing. Finding the trail was weird at first, because it’s a little hidden in between a couple camping spots. The camp host may leave a note on your car cause they think you’re an extra car from a campsite without a permit haha no worries though! 17 frogs and 6 salamanders seen in total!

3 months ago

Nice hike, easy enough. Great views, not very many people. No waterfall!! I'm not sure where that info came from.

3 months ago

nice day hike and lots of shade on a hot day , the trail is in good condition

4 months ago

We really enjoyed this hike. There were only two other people we ran into. There is no cell service though.

4 months ago

Simple trail with great scenery. Busy & parking is at the campground with limited marking for it.

5 months ago

This was a really nice trail along the Clackamas River. My Garmin reported 8.8 miles and 1,458 elevation gain. The river is absolutely stunning in several places. I think the best part of this hike was the mileage. It's a good long walk. We passed about 6 people total on a Sunday afternoon. A bit of the trail is alongside the road, but it is a very lightly traveled road.

6 months ago

Beautiful hike. Sunny and clear skies, water was blue and gorgeous, and the trees peaceful. Not a very difficult hike but not super easy or boring either. The ups and downs wind along the river most of the time and then away for a nice quiet hike. Only for about a quarter of a mile can you really hear the road, and it's only visible a few times during the hike. I packed my 70L pack to make it more difficult. It would be a great practice hike to prepare for a longer trip so bring your pack. Also might be a good hike for a hot sunny day due to all the tree cover.

Don’t recall ever hearing the road over the roar of the river. Tips in previous reviews recommending the parking lot a mile before the southern campground was very helpful. Quite a few opportunities to get down next to the river! A good hike with lots of ups and downs but nothing overly difficult.

8 months ago

Pretty icey in a lot of the trail right now. Didn't have equipment so had to stop around the halfway mark. Would come back to do the whole thing in the summer -- pretty trail by the river.

10 months ago

Lots of up and down which we like. Beautiful views of the river. Easy enough for our 4 year old but not boring.

11 months ago

Overall, not a bad hike at all. Pleasant meandering among old growth, great views of the Clackamas river, not too far from Portland yet not crowded...HOWEVER....the trail offers nothing truly spectacular, and about 1/3 of a mile of it is almost directly ON highway 224. The worst is the trash and sketchy tweaker cars parked at random trailheads along the way, waiting for you to leave your vehicle alone for several hours

Sun Dec 09 2018

This was a nice hike through the woods along the river. There was just a dusting of snow in certain spots.

Sat Nov 03 2018

Steep but up and down. Beautiful foliage.

Sat Oct 20 2018

Harder side of easy. It’s 80% hills, though none are too steep or too far up or too far down. If you’re looking for a ‘flat’ kind of easy, (I was thinking for my mom with arthritis) this ain’t it. The trail is really well maintained, no dangerous areas. The trailhead sign is hard to see but easier to see coming from the south (campground).

Mon Aug 27 2018

If you do this from the campsite, which is where Google maps directed me to, it’s just over 8 miles, campsite to campsite. Pretty hike. Nice to hear the river. Not too many cars so I was rarely aware when I was near the road, which wasn’t often. Lots of ups and downs, old growth and new.

Sat Aug 11 2018

So the directions take you to Riverside Camp ground which is fine and we started there, but there is a sign just before it’s a small wood sign on a tree and there is a parking lot so if your directions say 1 mile left start looking for the sign. Was a great hike for newbies definitely going back and did not see a waterfall

Wed Jun 20 2018

This is a nice hike that isn't too strenuous.

Sun Jun 10 2018

I visited this trail with my family on a rainy June day. It was absolutely beautiful. We saw many newts and even a frog. We stopped at a few points to get close to the Clackamas River. We skipped some rocks and stuck our feet in the cold water. I was grateful to see no trash, and I think we may have been the only people on the trail this day. We did the whole out and back.

Sun Jun 03 2018

It’s a wonderful light elevation hike. You still get a decent workout because of the ups and downs. Gorgeous views. Minus one star for trash on the trail where it gets close to the road.

Sat Mar 31 2018

Pretty and lightly trafficked trail. Great river views and lush, green forest. Would be great for a picnic, as there are many nice river spots along the way. The only downside is that some parts are close to the road, and those tended to have some vehicle trash and toilet paper around them. Still, other parts were beautiful and secluded, and we only saw two other people while we were there, so it was nice to have to trail to ourselves. Trilliums and wildflowers are just beginning to bloom.

Mon Mar 26 2018

Great hike with my pup. Only saw a handful of other hikers and heard less than 10 cars pass by. I started at the middle point where these directions take you. I went left to the campground and back up to rainbow campground, then back to my car and my watch had me at 10 miles. Although I did explore all the side trails and frequently walked to river access. Also I did not see a waterfall. Great hike though!

Wed Mar 21 2018

Trail was amazing to run! Lots of scenery. Quad crushing hills. Sign is hard to find, FYI.

Mon Feb 12 2018

Nice easy trail, very narrow in some places. There are two entry points. You can start at the first one one which is about .50 mile from the Ripplebrook guard station, which is also a general store that sells passes to Bagby Hot Springs if you wanna full day. There is a sign indicating the trail, but this point drops you off in the middle of the trail and you can walk up and down both directions. If you want to start at the beginning of the trail, head further down to Riverside camp ground for an easy 3.7 mile trek one-way. As noted it runs close to the road, but traffic was light as was the trail on a cloudy Sunday morning in February.

Fri Nov 10 2017

Went a few days ago and it was so green and beautiful!

Sat May 20 2017

This is a nice trail for all levels. It is not nearly as busy as some of the other trails in the area. The path is quite narrow at times. (Totally doable, you can just tell it isn't a high traffic trail) Some negatives for us... The road is RIGHT there for more of the trail than we would have preferred. The biggest downside was the garbage. There was a l lot of it. Not garbage I was willing to pick up either... Like used toilet paper all over the place. The plus sides were there too though. You can easily spawn off the trail and check out the Clackamas River. There was a lovely bridge and LOTS of interesting trees and nature to look at along the way.

Mon Nov 28 2016

This app takes you to the campsite .9 mile past the trailhead. This time of year, the river was high and fast, super mossy, green forest!! There was no one else out there today and it was perfect for my dog today!!! Easy trail, a bit slippery today, be safe!!

Thu Jul 21 2016

A good hike... next to a road ☹️

Sat Jul 02 2016

I really enjoyed this trail, so mellow, and great access to the river and potential swimming spots. The map location took me to Riverside Campground which the trail connects to, but it wasn't super easy to spot the trail head within the campground. The actual trailhead is about 2 miles before the campground, on the right.

Wed Nov 11 2015

There is something about the rainy day Fall hike that this trail lends itself perfectly to.

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