In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous. – Aristotle
Although the entire 21-mile Banks-Vernonia State Trail has felt the tred of my red scooter tires, the section my husband and I return to most frequently starts at the Vernonia Lake adjunct. (See map.)
The paved loop around Vernonia Lake is approximately 1-mile long, smooth and flat, perfect for wheelchairs and mobility devices of all shapes and sizes. There are wheelchair accessible ADA fishing docks and restrooms. For meditative rest stops and picnics, park benches and picnic tables await around the lake perimeter.
This now serene and scenic lake was once the mill pond for the Oregon – American Lumber Company, the largest all-electric lumber mill in the world until it closed in 1957. Remnants of the old mill can still be seen off to the side of the pathway. Today, Vernonia Lake is regularly stocked with a variety of fish that, in turn, attract a wide array of wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts.
More Accessible Adventure
You could easily spend the day at the lake, or continue on as we do along the Banks-Vernonia State Trail for more accessible, picturesque adventure. The lake loop connects to the Banks–Vernonia State Trail via a 3/4 mile paved path that runs alongside the Nehalem River and Bear Creek. Lined with trees and informational markers, this connector path is especially beautiful in the autumn. At the end of the path you will see a trailhead marker leading towards Anderson Park. Take that left and continue as far as you like towards Banks. My husband and I generally ride the 4.2 miles to the Beaver Creek Trailhead, which looks as though it’s been given a maintenance upgrade lately as muddy areas and bumpy spots have been repaired or better marked. This part of the trail also offers beautiful wooden bridges, and on any given day a variety of Oregon flora and fauna: rabbits, small skittish snakes, banana slugs, old barns with lazy livestock, and wildflowers interlaced with shimmering blue dragonflies. The Beaver Creek Trailhead has an ADA accessible vault restroom, parking and picnic area.
We then turn around to spin back to the lake.
Always a memorable day.
Making Accessibility Happen
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