OTE - Oregon Travel Experience

Northrup Creek Horse Camp Big Tree Trail

Posted on: March 29th, 2024 in Heritage Tree Details |

Grand fir: Abies grandis

The Northrup Creek Horse Camp Big Tree Trail was created in 2012 when the Oregon Department of Forestry identified numerous large conifer and deciduous trees in close proximity to Northrup Creek.  The species include grand fir, western redcedar, Sitka spruce, bigleaf maple, red alder, and bitter cherry.  It is believed that many of these are among the top five largest in the state, with possible state champions as well.

Credit: Oregon Digital

The Big Tree Trail is located inside what used to be The Northrup Creek Grazing Experiment. The Experiment started in 1936 to study the seeding, fertilizing, grazing, and management of logged-off and burned-over timberlands and the effects of grazing on reforestation. The goal was to make burnt-up land profitable again. The project was overseen by the John Jacob Astor Experiment Station outside of Astoria and continued until the early 1950s.

Credit: Oregon Digital

The Experiment ultimately “failed” as it determined grazing was not the solution for burned over timber lands. However, in 1939 Governor Charles Sprague notably gave a stump speech in the area at the time he was actively promoting the State Forest Acquisition Act. The legislation included conservation requirements for loggers to re-seed the forest by leaving seed trees and reforestation efforts for burned areas, particularly those affected by the repeated Tillamook burns of 1933, 1939, and 1945.

Former Clatsop County Judge Guy Boyington, one of the original framers of the state forest arrangement, envisioned that the foreclosed lands could be made productive if forest land management was available. Clatsop County became the first county to participate. 

Tree Facts

  • Approximate Age: 200 years
  • Height: 208′
  • Circumference: 19″8″
  • Dedicated: April 12, 2024

To visit: You can visit the Big Tree Trail inside the Northrup Creek Horse Camp at 87644 Northrup Creek Road, Clatskanie, Oregon, 97016. It is located between Jewell and Birkenfeld four miles north of Hwy 202. The trail is just under one mile and is open year-round for hiking. Hikers must start at the gate during the seasonal closure of the camp, which adds two miles.