Driving around the streets surrounding the Astoria Column, it’s easy to miss the entrance to an urban trail popular among local residents: the Pipeline Road Trail.
The trail, located off the eastern end of James Street, offers a long paved path, plus several additional trails that veer off the road. Along the way, visitors can enjoy a quiet walk while getting glimpses of Astoria and the region from a high vantage point, see local wildlife, and view a true urban forest, complete with a combination of human-made structures alongside nature.
The trail itself is a logging road that leads to one of Astoria’s water facilities. The road, which is also a paved trail, features many twists, turns, dips and hills — all of which make the distance feel like it’s a longer length. The same goes for the off-road trails. Many of them feature an increasing incline, followed by either looping downward or heading back the direction you came from.
Along the way, the trail’s views mostly consist of forest so trees, flowers, bushes and other plants are visible every step of the way. Depending on which path is taken, there is some variety to what views you can see.
If you stick to the paved path, you’ll be able to view CMH Field (bring binoculars and you might be able to tell who is winning), Youngs River and Saddle Mountain. And of course, along the paved trail, you will be able to see several pipes, as well as other urban features, like staircases and manholes covered with overgrown plants.
The off-trail paths have more variety in views. At some points, you can view the Astoria Column, a radio communications tower and other unique sites.
Keep in mind, the road is technically a connector road, not a trail. Though, you’re OK to walk along the road since it is closed to non-authorized vehicles. Aside from hikers and walkers, the trail is also popular for cyclists and people who ride ATVs and motorized bikes.
The road measures about 1.3 miles, according to the city. Although that length is what portion of the trail is within city limits. The road reaches between James Street and Market Road in Svensen. Outside Astoria, the road intersects with even more off-road trails and logging roads. With the road’s actual length in mind, plus its various off-road trails, it’s easy to get more than a 1.3 mile hike (or bike ride) while visiting Pipeline Road.
If you decide to visit the trail and stick to the paved path, you should be fine in any type of footwear but if you’re interested in exploring some of the off-road trails, I recommend wearing sturdy shoes or hiking boots. Many of the trails get muddy after rainy days or are filled with gravel, both of which can be hard to navigate if your footwear isn’t solid. Also keep in mind to visit the trail when it’s light out — since there are several trails to choose from, the area can be confusing to navigate if you’re unfamiliar with it.
To access the trailhead, drive east on Niagara Avenue, then south toward Shively Park and finally, east to James Street. Shortly down the road, there is a white gate and a small area where visitors can park off-street. To get to the trail, just walk past the white gate and start following the road.