OC&E Railroad

  • Easy (Switchback Trailhead tour)
  • 2.8 miles round trip
  • 80 feet elevation gain
  • Open all year
  • Use: hikers, horses, bicycles

  • Easy (to Brown Cemetery)
  • 4.8-mile loop
  • 130 feet elevation gain

The state’s longest and narrowest park consists of a hundred miles of railroad grades east of Klamath Falls. Open to hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians, the OC&E Woods Line State Trail follows an abandoned logging railroad from Klamath Falls over a mountain to the Sprague River. There the path forks, with one branch continuing upriver to Bly and another spur climbing to Sycan Marsh.

The railroad’s story begins in 1917, when Klamath Falls entrepreneurs dreamed of building east to connect with railroad lines in Lakeview and Burns. Although the tracks stopped in Bly in 1929, the steam locomotives of the Oregon, California, & Eastern Railroad kept busy by hauling away Klamath County’s forests. Up to a million board feet of ponderosa pine rode the steel rails to Klamath Falls each day. When the big trees were gone the line fell into disuse. In 1992 the route became a linear park as part of the “Rails to Trails” movement.

Only the first 7 miles of the old railbed have been paved, on the outskirts of Klamath Falls. The remainder is a smooth gravel route that slices straight across ranch fields and curves through pine woods. Perhaps the most interesting sections for day trips are at a mountain switchback where trains backed over a pass, and at Beatty where the railroad forks beside the Sprague River. If you have time, you can do both in one day.

Start by driving Highway …

After exploring the Indian cemetery, return …

Other Options

Other top attractions on the OC&E Woods Line Trail include …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon.