1/10/2010 – Oregon City Waterworks – South Fork and Memaloose Creek

Date of Hike: 1/10/2010
Location of Hike: Up the South Fork of the Clackamas River and up part of Memaloose Creek
Weather during Hike: Mostly overcast and cool
Hiking Buddies: Don
Start Time: 9:30 AM  End Time: 1:00 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles?  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hike I had on my list of “to dos” for quite some time. It was hiking up the South Fork of the Clackamas to explore the remains of the old Oregon City waterworks. From what I’ve been able to find out, it was decommissioned in the early 1960’s. I have not been able to find out when it was built, but for a number of years, it was the water source for the city of Oregon City. It would appear Oregon City was trying to duplicate what Portland did with Bull Run-piping in high quality water from high in the hills where it was much purer.

We crossed the South Fork near where it dumps out into the Clackamas-over a logjam which was pretty easy.

We then explored down near the river where there used to be a house of the caretaker. We found an old cable crossing point, some foundation for a small building, and even an old fire hydrant!

From there, we proceeded back up the “road” that parallels the river.

The pipeline is buried under this road and it is visible in a few places. We passed through several tunnels, saw two beautiful falls-the

higher of which has to be over 200′ tall and rivals anything you can find in the gorge. Then at the end of the trip we saw the dam and collector where the pipeline started. Back down the trail and across an old bridge just North of where Memaloose creek joins the South fork and up Memaloose creek.

Saw some more old stuff, including what looked like a settling box.

Continued up the creek, through one last tunnel and then climbed up out of the canyon to an old road and back to the car.

It was one of the best days hiking for me, since it combined two of my passions – hiking and history. It was really cool to see all the old stuff, and the waterfalls were absolutely gorgeous. I’m planning on making a return trip……

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