Alder Flat - Clackamas River

• Alder Flat is a remote location in the Mt Hood National Forest
• Deep emerald swimming holes on the bend of the Clackamas River

Alder Flat

Alder Flat

Alder Flat - Mount Hood Forest

Alder Flat - Clackamas River

If your aim this summer is to beat the crowds and enjoy the great outdoors then Alder Flat at the Mount Hood National Forest is one of the best place to go.

This place is an hour drive of Portland. The only way to access the backcountry campsites and the swimming hole is via approximately mile-long hike along the Alder Flat Trail. Adventure enthusiasts might find the trail too short and easy. However, the journey is quite rewarding in itself and the destination is definitely worthwhile.

It is due to this very 1-mile walk to reach the pool and basalt outcroppings that Adler Flat is far less populated than all other swimming holes along the Clackamas River.

The destination for all those who jump onto Alder Flat trail is the cool rocky beach that forms the front of the swimming hole at Alder flats, or one of the five primitive campsites that overlook the river. Every campsite near Alder Flat is completely enclosed by a grove of red alder that gives this swimming hole its name.

Originating from the Dry Creek Pond, the trail meanders through a variety of species of rushes, ferns and skunk cabbage. Adventure enthusiasts can also try their hand at fishing in the wild and scenic Clackamas River and attempt to capture trout or salmon.

No restroom, no drinking water, no garbage service on the site. Leave the land better than you find it – pick up all trash you find and take it with you.


Alder Flat | General Description

Open: Year-round
Managed: US Forest Service
Location: Mt. Hood National Forest

Services: No services are available
Activities: Camping, swimming, hiking, cliff jumping, fishing, and rockhounding
Accommodations: Campground open year-round

Distance from the parking: 1 mile
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: None
Dogs: Allowed
Popularity: Low to moderate

Elevation: 1,311 ft (400 m)

Alder Flat is located:

  • 25 miles southeast of Estacada
  • 56 miles southeast of Portland
  • 77 miles northeast of Salem
  • 125 miles northwest of Bend
  • 140 miles northeast of Eugene.

Remote swimming spot on the Clackamas River

Swimming hole rating: 4 out of 5
Water body: River
Water quality: Clear & transparent
Current: Moderate
Depth: Deep and shallow
Beach: Rocks and rock formation
Water T° (summer): Cool


From Portland,

  • Drive on Highway 26 East to Sandy
  • Turn right on Highway 211 and follow for about 6 miles to Highway 224
  • Turn left onto Highway 224 East (HWY 211S) and continue 29.9 miles to the trailhead on the right.

From Salem & Eugene,

  • From I-5, take Exit 271 for Highway 214, and turn right onto Highway 214 toward Woodburn
  • Continue on Highway 211 North for 33.2 miles to Highway 224 East
  • Turn left onto Highway 224 East and continue 29.9 miles to the trailhead on the right.

The Alder Flat trailhead is located on the left of the parking area. Hike for about 0.35 miles to the trail's intersection. Bear right and continue hiking for 0.65 miles to the Clackamas River.

Phone: 503-668-1700

GPS: N 45°5.036', W 122°3.691' | 45.083938, -122.06152

GPS (Trailhead): N 45°4.835', W 122°3.370' | 45.080582, -122.056166

Adventures Nearby

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