USFS Info Sheet

Topo Map

GPS Track (.GPX File)

Cripple Creek Trail Elevation Profile-East to West

Note: The lower parts of this trail suffered significant damage from the Riverside fire.  This trail is currently inaccessible due to Pipeline road being closed.

A good year-round opportunity for fun.  Easy  access only about a mile off the pavement. After passing STRAIGHT  through Three Lynx, climb to the saddle.  The trail is on your  left.  If you drive downhill at all you have gone too far.

There is usually year round access to  the trailhead.  As the trail leads to the high country you  will encounter snow at some point during the Winter and early Spring.  An effort is made to keep this trail clear of fallen trees and debris  to the snow during the Winter.

This is a great way to access the high country by  foot rather than miles and miles of gravel road driving.  The  trail also clears of snow weeks before the 4635 road.

According to C.W. Elliot, civil engineer of Portland, Cripple Creek was named for a surveyor who cut his foot with an ax in the vicinity in 18971

Three Lynx has an interesting story on how it was named. Old maps show the creek called Three Links, and there is a legend in eastern Clackamas County to the effect that this name was the result of loss, by a surveyor, of three links out of a surveying chain. Ernest P. Rands and William C. Elliott of Portland, for many years civil engineers in Oregon, said there was not truth in the three links story. They were in the neighborhood of the stream at the time it was named. They are authority for the statement that one of the Austin family, early settlers nearby, named the stream Three Lynx creek because he saw three bobcats on its banks.1

Connects with several other trails once on top:
Cache Meadow Trail 702, Grouse Point Trail 517, and indirectly Rimrock Trail 704.


It is possible but not recommended to start the hike at Hwy 224 just across the Sandstone Bridge (the fourth green steel bridge crossed from Estacada).  Park on the right at  the east end of the bridge.  Cross the highway and follow the closed off road to a camping area.  Go left across the creek and
follow the old road up the bank about 50 feet.  A trail departs on the right.  Follow this trail up to an old railroad grade.  Turn right and follow the grade about half a mile passing an alder bog on the right.  Just past the bog as the grade tends right look for a trail going up a shallow draw to the left.  Climb up to the improved Pipeline Road and go over the aqueduct (10 foot diameter iron pipe).  Cripple Creek Trailhead is on the right.

Map Courtesy of Paul Turner

1Oregon Geographic Names, McArthur, Lewis.


Cripple Creek Trail 703 — 2 Comments

  1. Hiked this trail on 2/10/2016 – Trail in good shape – 12 logs down up until the 4635 road crossing. Most were easy stepovers, but there is one large log down on one of the first rockslides.

  2. Hiked the Cripple Creek trail from Three Lynx to Serene lake yesterday. Not sure the last time the Forest Service acknowledged the trail, but my 2003 map doesn’t show it, and it’s obviously not been maintained by the agency for a while. A good portion of the tread has slumped, making for tough hiking, but someone recently logged it out, which helped a ton. Thanks to whoever did it! I’ve hiked the area a lot over the years, but never hiked this lower section of Cripple. The big openings with Oregon oak totally made the poison oak I got worth it!

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