Route: OC&E Rail Trail (OR)

Submitted by Jason Hardrath… on Mon, 05/20/2019 - 09:29pm
Oregon, US
61.7 mi

Submitted by Jason Hardrath:

The OC&E Line State Trail is a conversion of the OC&E Railroad disused railway easement into a non-motorized path used for walking, cycling, jogging and horse riding. The now paved flat trails stretch through agricultural and forest areas appealing for recreational development. The OC&E linear park is used by over 130,000 visitors every year. For example, from Olene, an unpaved section of the trail passes ranch lands, rivers and forests.

Construction on the OC&E Railroad (also known as the Klamath Municipal Railway) began in the summer of 1917 as part of a grand scheme to connect Central and Eastern Oregon with rail lines and take advantage of timber opportunities. Initial development efforts involved bonds sold by the city of Klamath Falls. Logging camps with spur railroads sprang up almost overnight, and by 1919, four lumber mills were located on the main line.[2] After several delays, the OC&E was declared open in the fall of 1923, and in 1927 was extended to Bly.

Southern Pacific and Burlington Northern (and their pre-merger railroads) operated the line jointly from 1925 until 1974, when it was purchased by Weyerhaeuser, who solely operated the entire railroad in support of its timber operations. At peak production in the late 1970s, the OC&E was reported to be transporting 35,000 loads of wood products a year.

In the early 1980s, the OC&E had a decline in traffic, and when it was no longer cost effective to move logs by rail, Weyerhaeuser railbanked the line, and deeded it to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in 1992.[2] The last logging train entered Klamath Falls on April 29, 1990.
The main OC & E line runs between Klamath Falls, Oregon and Bly, Oregon. There is a separate project called the "Woods Line Spur (33 miles)" that could be done as its own project. Both Combined make the longest linear state park in Oregon (someone could also combine the two lines for a 109 mile day).

For the OC & E main line FKT, I think the most reasonable and classic start and finish points would be to go from Bly Station in Bly, Oregon to Crosby Station in Klamath Falls, Oregon (or vice versa) even though you can sneak in about an extra mile on either end to the historic ends of the track...It makes sense to start and end where there is parking and at historic stations. See here : 

The trailheads make this easy as a supported or self-supported venture.

The Woods Line Spur runs for about 32 miles north from near Beatty, terminating near Sycan Marsh.  It is not shown on our main map, but is on Strava: