Fort Hoskins to Old Railroad Grade
About Fort Hoskins to the Old Railroad Grade
This route heads north from Fort Hoskins Historical Park along a road that follows the Luckiamute River and the route of a railroad that once traveled from the Willamette Valley to a town that no longer exists deep in the Coast Range (Valsetz). This out-and-back route is 26 miles, with 1130' of climbing, and is 68% unpaved.
For the first 4 miles the road is known as Luckiamute Road and is paved. The road turns to gravel and the next two miles are known as Wildwood Road. The road then passes through a private timber company (Hancock Forests) gate and becomes the Old Railroad Grade. Our route follows the Old Railroad Grade for 7 miles before turning back prior to a significant climb on the way to Valsetz. From the turn-around, it is another 7 miles to Valsetz.
Starting location: Fort Hoskins (see location) (see parking options)
Distance & drive time (from downtown Corvallis): 19 miles; 25 minutes (see route)
RWGPS route map: 26 miles; +1130'; 68% unpaved
Limitations on public access: This route uses roads owned by private timber companies that are subject to limits on public access and fire season restrictions and closures. This area is most likely to be open between Mid-September and early July. Non-motorized travel and passenger vehicles are allowed 1 hour before sunrise to 1 hour after sunrise. The following activities or vehicles are prohibited: Camping; fires; electric bikes; motorcycles; ATVs; target shooting; trapping.
Extensions of this route:
At mile 6.7, you can take the road on the left and go 1.5 miles along the west bank of the Luckiamute River, before returning to the main route.
The Lake of the Winds route begins at Fort Hoskins and is an 8 mile out-and-back route to the south.
Places on the route
This Benton County park is the site a fort that was established in 1856 to monitor a newly created coastal Native American reservation. Today, the park offers a scenic hillside setting featuring a historical landmarks, a picnic shelter, hiking trails, and restrooms. The park is open from dawn to dusk. The 19 mile drive from downtown Corvallis takes about 25 minutes.
The Valley & Siletz Railroad operated from roughly 1920 to 1980 between the towns of Independence and Valsetz. Valsetz was a timber company town that was established in 1919 and was decommissioned and destroyed in 1984. The "Old Railroad Grade" is a road that begins at the Hancock Forest Gate about 6 miles northwest of Fort Hoskins and generally follows the route of the old rail line for about 12 miles to Valsetz.
The Steel Bridge: This is a classic steel truss bridge located 5 miles northwest of Fort Hoskins (see location).
Stott Mountain - North Alsea Travel Management Area
This route enters privately owned land at the Hancock Forest gate at mile 6. This is the beginning of this Travel Management Area (TMA). TMAs are are collaborative efforts between public and private landowners that maintain public hunting access on private and surrounding public land. There are a number of restrictions, including the following:
Private lands are closed to the public 1 hour after sunset to 1 hour before sunrise.
Prohibited activities: Camping; fires; electric bikes; motorcycles; ATVs; target shooting; trapping.
Areas may be closed during high fire danger. For lands owned by Hancock Forests and Weyerhaeuser: At fire season level 3 all roads are are closed to motor vehicles, but hiking and biking is permitted. At fire season level 4 public access is prohibited.
Active logging operations: The Old Railroad Grade is subject to active logging operations, which means you could encounter log trucks. Such activity typically occurs during the work week, and less so on weekends, particularly on Sundays. If you hear a log truck approaching, get off the road and wait for it to pass. This is for your own safety and in recognition that you are a guest on private property.
Log truck gravel: Most of these roads have reasonable sized gravel much of the time. For that, I recommend a minimum recommended tire width of 40mm. However, these roads are subject to being freshly graveled with big and loose gravel from time to time. For this kind of gravel, you likely will be happier on tires that are at least 2" (~50mm) wide.