Banks-Vernonia State Trail

Historic Banks-to-Vernonia Railbed Restored

Today, the logging railroads that once lined northwestern Oregon are gone, their tracks dismantled. But the railbeds they etched onto the mountainsides largely remain. In 1991, a 21-mile stretch of one of these railways was transformed into a recreational trail for hikers, bike riders and equestrians. The Banks-Vernonia State Trail — or the BVT, as it’s known locally — was Oregon’s very first rails-to-trail success story. It attracts people from every corner of the state with countless opportunities to experience the joy of being active amid the unmatched beauty of the Coastal Moutains.

Thanks to Oregon Lottery dollars, the Banks-Vernonia State Trail has recently benefited from grants totaling over $150,000, both for general maintenance as well as improvements to the Manning Trailhead.

Off the Beaten Path

Banks-Vernonia State Trail

With six trailheads accessing the BVT, including Banks and Vernonia at either end and Stub Stewart State Park in the middle, you can pick a portion of the trail to hike or, if you prefer, bike the entire length. The BVT runs 21 miles from Banks to Vernonia, or 42 miles round trip if you’re going for maximum mileage!

Not to be missed

Autumn foliage at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park

L.L. Stub Stewart State Park

L.L. Stub Stewart, one of Oregon’s newer state parks, opened in 2007. Its wooded location in the foothills of the North Coast Range was chosen, in part, to conjoin the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.

Although Stub Stewart is a great basecamp for those exploring the BVT, it’s so much more! Its 1,600+ acres host an incredible range of activities. Stub Stewart makes an awesome combo adventure with the BVT or as a destination in its own right. Learn more!

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Coastal Mountain Paradise

Vernonia Renaissance

About an hour from Portland, you’ll find a small timber town that’s in many ways the polar opposite of Oregon’s largest city. Vernonia started out as a small Coastal Mountain mill town, and, for better or worse, its fate followed the fortunes of that industry. But today, Vernonia is asserting its unique character and finding new ways forward.

The arrival of a new century has seen Vernonia pursuing a new identity and new opportunities. It’s a quirky and relaxing getaway spot for those seeking respite from the big city. It’s begun to attract the attention of movie producers who are drawn to its all-American downtown as well as the rugged beauty of the surrounding scenery. In 2020, actor David Oyelowo (who played Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma) released The Water Man, his directorial debut, filmed in Vernonia — and also supported in part by Lottery dollars through the Oregon Film Board. And, of course, Vernonia is an excellent starting point for those wanting to explore the Banks-to-Vernonia State Trail!

Above: Vernonia Lake & hiking loop, unique Vernonia accommodations, The Black Iron Grill (relax with a little Video Lottery while you’re there!)