Crown Z Trail advise needed

I am a member of the Crown Zellerbach Trail Citizens Advisory Committee and am asking for cyclists to test-ride the new section of trail between Wilark and Holce Trailheads, near Vernonia. See attached trail map.

I would like your opinion about how enjoyable/difficult this section of trail is. It is not for beginners and very different than other segments of the trail, most of which can be ridden on a road bike. I recommend you ride this section on a mountain bike due to loose, large gravel in places.

This section of the trail is on a private tree farm road. We are fortunate to have been given access and want to respect the dual use of the road/trail. However, I am concerned that the general public may find the road surface overwhelming and frustrating for both walking and cycling. I’d like your opinions.

Please post your comments here or contact me directly at or 503 754-8424.

Dale Latham


My wife and I actually walked most of that section last month. We attempted to find the Holce trailhead initially, but there was no clear indication of the trail at the gate at the end of Knott St. We then drove around to I believe Wilark and walked west from their.

My recollection is that the trail wasn’t too bad until you passed a junction and a tree stump, where the trail narrowed and steepened. We continued on until we reached the clear cut area and could see down to Knott street. We had no interest in continuing further due to the steepness of the road. As it stands now, I would consider the tree stump where the trail narrows to singletrack to be the functional end of the trail, and Holce trailhead not a functional trailhead.

Thanks. We hope to have the Holce Trailhead signage and a parking area installed at the end of Knott street by the end of summer.

For the section of trail that “wasn’t too bad”, how would you rate your walking experience on a scale of 1-10? Would you recommend it to others?

I would say it was a 6; not too difficult, but not particularly scenic, either. We’ve walked a lot of the trail, in sections, and really appreciate the upgrades at the Ruley trailhead. Generally, I would recommend the sections in either direction from the Ruley or Scappoose trailheads to first timers, but we’ve enjoyed exploring all of it.

A friend and myself rode the CZ from Chapman Landing to downtown Vernonia and back to Chapman Landing this past March. It was an outstanding ride, even with sporadic rain. The trail is a treasure, we are going to do it again in a couple weeks and experience it in summer. Things did get a little confusing at the Wilkes trailhead, once we crossed the HWY, first was signage that the route/road was closed due to logging operations, but being a Saturday we went through. The gravel was thick, loose, and unpacked making for a real workout, especially at that grade. I agree this not road bike terrain, and very strenuous. We had 35mm and 47mm tires, and it was still difficult. I always take screen shots of google maps and the road/trail is marked as Pebble Creek Mnln, so we were able to connect to Knott, without a wrong turn at the one fork before the clear cut. We did notice the little CZ markers, but I don’t recall them giving a clear indication of the route at the fork, and from the end of gravel through the clear cut to Knott St. Which, I think if one was unprepared by not studying a map/having GPS, they might feel lost. The descent and ascent through the clear cut to the gate on Knott required walking our bikes, too rough and my legs were cooked. Looking forward to doing this again, but yes, this is the most difficult section of trail in my opinion, but I did find it enjoyable.

Thanks again. Very helpful comments!

Very interesting. You are the second person to mention a confusing intersection near the clearcut- I’ll go out and see what we missed. Glad you enjoyed the trail and we’re up for the challenging loose rock. Let me know how your next ride goes!

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We went through there again this past Saturday, started at Mt. Tabor-HWY 30-CZ-Banks/Vernonia-Hillsboro-Mt. Tabor, mid-day coffee in Vernonia, 116 miles, 10.5 hrs, great loop, so much to see and experience! This connection really makes it work w/o getting on the highways. It looks like someone added some handwritten signage recently and the route was a lot clearer to us this time at both forks before the clearcut. I also noticed sections of the loose gravel were more packed and easier to ride on then before, but other sections we walked because it was too loose. We walked down the clearcut, 33mm semi slick tires and too far from home to risk a puncture or a crash. I’m going to agree with your concern though, it’s a hike and bike situation for a more adventurous mindset, but over time if that gravel continues to pack down it should be just fine, in my opinion.
The rest of the trail was beautiful, flowers, foliage tunnels, etc… a lot of people using it. Most likely will do this again in the fall…great trail.

That’s an amazing ride for a one day trip!

Thanks for everyone’s comments about the crown Z Trail conditions between Wilark and Holce Trailheads AND your compliments about the trail.

I rode the trail last month and temporarily fixed one road marker that was broken and others that were obstructed by vegetation. I placed temporary markers up until the County can do something permanent. It’s a challenge because the shoulders are compacted from many years of log truck use so it’s almost impossible to place the markers so they are close to each intersection.

The County is working to improve the trail surface but it may take some time since the tree farm owner is involved too.