Barlow Road banner
    HOME     NorthwestJourney.com     ColumbiaRiverImages.com

"The Barlow Road ... Brightwood to Sandy ... Marmot Road and the Devil's Backbone"
Includes ... Barlow Road ... Brightwood ... Sandy ... Marmot Road ... Devil's Backbone ...
Image, 2013, Sign, Barlow Road, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Barlow Road sign, Foster Farm, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken May 4, 2013.


The Barlow Road ...
The Barlow Road was a part of the Oregon Trail. The road was authorized by the Oregon Legislature in 1845, and by September 1846, it made its way around the south side of Mount Hood. This 80-to-110-mile road provided an alternative to the dangerous and expensive route that used rafts to transport wagons down the Columbia River. The Barlow Road began at The Dalles, Oregon, headed south through Dufur and Tygh Valley (which some folks consider the start of the Barlow Road), then turned west at Gate Creek and generally followed the White River before it headed north through Barlow Pass and Government Camp. It then passed through "Tollgate #5" near today's Rhododendron and continued to the community of Sandy, where it turned west and ended up at Oregon City.


Follow the Barlow Road ... (east to west)


 
Following the Sandy River ... Brightwood to Sandy ... Marmot Road and the Devil's Backbone

Overview ...

At Brightwood the two routes of the Barlow Road meet and follow the north side of the Sandy River. The route goes for nearly 15 miles (crossing the 7-mile-long ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone") until it turns south and crosses the Sandy River just east of today's community of Sandy. This crossing was known as the "Lower Crossing" of the Sandy and was the location of the Barlow Road's second Tollgate (1853 to 1865). Highlights include SE Marmot and SE TenEyck Roads, the Rock Corral and the forgotten community of Marmot, the Devil's Backbone, Jonsrud Viewpoint, the Revenue Bridge, and Second Tollgate at the "Lower Crossing of the Sandy River".


Following the Sandy River ...

Image, 2012, Sandy River, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sandy River looking upstream from East Sleeply Hollow Drive bridge. View is approximately one mile downstream of where the Salmon River merges with the Sandy River. Image taken November 7, 2012.

North Bank Route Segment ... (Brightwood to Devil's Backbone)

Excerpts from:
1993, Barlow Road Historic Corridor: Westernmost Segment of the Oregon Trail.




"The approximate six mile North Bank segment is the most problematical of the Barlow Road segments. Apparently, the original route closely followed the north bank of the Sandy River, primarily using the lower river terrace. ...

The one Barlow Road site section identified in the North Bank route segment is located in what is known locally as the Rock Corral area, under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. This 1/2 mile road section, located on an upper river terrace, is primarily in "used" condition as several parts of the section currently serve as driveways to various residences. One major part has been gravelled and another has been asphalted, though both are maintained as privately used single lane thoroughfares.

Local forklore has identified the Rock Corral pioneer campsite at the west end of the site section. There is no historic documentation to support his assignment, including almost 30 emigrant diaries reviewed for this Barlow Road project area. ... An 1872 surveyors wagon road reference point corresponds with the road remains near the large rock, but makes no mention of the campground or the rock.

The remaining 1 1/2 miles of the North Bank road segment west of the Rock Corral site section primarily traverses the large Mensinger Bottom terrace presently cleared pasture land used for livestock grazing. No early road remains were identified on the terrace and an 1872 surveyors note locates "Wagon road from Portland to the Dalles" on the current county road alignment. Local informants have also noted that the current county road likely follows the emigrant road alignment. ..."


Source:    Clackamas County (Or.), 1993, Barlow Road Historic Corridor: Westernmost Segment of the Oregon Trail: Background Report & Management Plan, Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development.


East Barlow Trail Road ...

For nearly six miles the East Barlow Trail Road follows the early Barlow Trail route and links the communities of Zigzag and Brightwood, traversing between the Sandy River's "Upper Crossing" and the junction with today's Marmot Drive.


Image, 2012, East Barlow Trail Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Road sign, East Barlow Trail Road, Brightwood, Oregon. Image taken November 15, 2012.
Image, 2012, East Barlow Trail Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Road sign, East Barlow Trail Road, Brightwood, Oregon. Image taken November 7, 2012.

East Barlow Trail Road ... Barlow Wayside

The Barlow Wayside Park is a pedestrian-only park located on East Barlow Trail Road, near Brightwood, Oregon. The park is managed by Clackamas County and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. It was created in 1956 when Clackamas County conserved about 100 acres for a county park near Brightwood, along the North bank of the Sandy River. Today there is approximately a mile and a half of walking trails going through forests and wetlands, and includes rustic bridges. Little Joe Creek winds its way through the lower portion of the park, providing shelter and sustenance for Coho salmon and steelhead, which spawn here every autumn and winter. There’s an informative kiosk at the entrance, interpretive panels, and a self-guided Natural History Tour Guide.


Image, 2012, Barlow Wayside, East Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Barlow Wayside, East Barlow Road, Oregon. Image taken November 15, 2012.
Image, 2012, Barlow Wayside, East Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Trails, Barlow Wayside, East Barlow Road, Oregon. Image taken November 15, 2012.

Marmot Road ...

From Brightwood, the Barlow Road heads west, following the general path of today's East Barlow Trail Road, East Marmot Road, and SE Marmot Road, eventually connecting to SE Ten Eyck Road and crossing the Sandy River's "Lower Crossing". The 20-mile-long road passes through Mensinger Bottom, passes Rock Corral and the location of the community of Marmot, before beginning to rise to cross the Devil's Backbone, a seven-mile-long ridge supporting fantastic views of the Sandy River valley below.


Image, 2012, Barlow Road, Marmot Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Following the Barlow Road ... Marmot Road across the Devil's Backbone. Marmot Road, east of Sandy, Oregon, follows the path of the Barlow Road across a seven-mile ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone". Image taken November 7, 2012.
Image, 2012, Barlow Road, Marmot Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Following the Barlow Road ... Scenic, Marmot Road across the Devil's Backbone. Marmot Road, east of Sandy, Oregon, follows the path of the Barlow Road across a seven-mile ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone". Image taken November 7, 2012.
Image, 2012, Barlow Road, Marmot Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Following the Barlow Road ... Marmot Road across the Devil's Backbone. Marmot Road, east of Sandy, Oregon, follows the path of the Barlow Road across a seven-mile ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone". Image taken November 7, 2012.

East Marmot Road ... Rock Corral

Rock Corral was a campsite on the Barlow Road where early pioneers rested before their last rough climb over the Devil's Backbone and the final push to Oregon City. Rock Corral was a rather large rock around which the pioneers circled their wagons and later around which they constructed a pole corral.

According to the Clackamas County and the Wasco County Historical Societies' publication "Barlow Road" (1985):

"... Here a two-acre enclosure as a compsite was built around the larger of two great rocks (residual remnants of lava flows from early glacial period) and sometimes referred to as the "Big Rock Corral". No trace of the pole fence remains. ..."

The location of Rock Corral is located approximately 2.2 miles west of the junction of East Barlow Trail Road and SE Marmot Road at Brightwood. The "rock" can be seen on the left across from an Oregon Trail Rock Corral historical marker on the right.

In 1974 the "Rock Corral on the Barlow Road" (also known as the "Oregon Trail - Barlow Road - Campsite) was added to the National Register of Historic Places, marking dates 1825 to 1849 (Event #74001673).

(T2S, R6E, Sec.22)

"Local folklore has identified the Rock Corral pioneer campsite at the east end of the site section. There is no historic documentation to support this assignment, including almost 30 emigrant diaries reviewed for this Barlow Road project area. It is likely the area was a prehistorically-used campsite, leading to development of the ash deposits around the large boulder situated next to the emigrant route. One local informant, in fact, noted finding prehistoric chipped stone artifacts around the rock. An 1872 surveyors wagon road reference point corresponds with the road remains near the large rock, but makes no mention of the campground or the rock."


Source:    Stephen Dow Beckham and Richard C. Hanes, 1992, The Barlow Road, Clackamas County, Oregon, Inventory Project, Historic Context, 1845-1919, prepared for the Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development, August 1992.

Image, 2012, Barlow Road, Marmot Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Following the Barlow Road ... Sign, Rock Corral, Marmot Road, Oregon. Marmot Road, east of Sandy, Oregon, follows the path of the Barlow Road across a seven-mile ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone". Image taken November 7, 2012.
Image, 2012, Barlow Road, Marmot Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Approaching the "rock", Rock Corral, Marmot Road, Oregon. Marmot Road, east of Sandy, Oregon, follows the path of the Barlow Road across a seven-mile ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone". Image taken November 15, 2012.
Image, 2012, Barlow Road, Marmot Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Rock, Rock Corral, Marmot Road, Oregon. Marmot Road, east of Sandy, Oregon, follows the path of the Barlow Road across a seven-mile ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone". Image taken November 7, 2012.

East Marmot Road ... Marmot

Approximately 6 miles from Brightwood the Barlow Road goes through the once-thriving Oregon community of Marmot. Today there are only a few homes and a "Barlow Trail Route" historical marker on the road. Marmot was settled in 1883 and humorously given the name "Marmot". According to Oregon Geographic Names (2003, Oregon Historical Society Press):

"... Adolf Aschoff, for many years a forester and guide about Mount Hood, settled at the present site of Marmot on March 16, 1883. He found an abundance of peculiar burrowings, especially in the fern growth near the borders of the timber. Local residents told him that these holes were dug by marmots, but Aschoff determined otherwise and found that they were made by the so-called mountain beaver, or Aplodontia rufa. When the post office was established, Aschoff and two cronies decided to call the place Marmot on account of this error. One of these friends of Aschoff's was an old miner, Fauntleroy S. Peake, who became first postmaster about 1886. Aschoff became postmaster in 1891, and the office was discontinued in 1930. ..." [McArthur and McArthur, 2003]

(T2S, R6E, Sec.18, elevation 1,273 feet)
(45.23.47N, 122.06.56W)


Image, 2012, Barlow Road, Marmot Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Following the Barlow Road ... location of the Oregon community of Marmot, Marmot Road, Oregon. Marmot Road, east of Sandy, Oregon, follows the path of the Barlow Road across a seven-mile ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone". Image taken November 7, 2012.
Image, 2012, Barlow Road, Marmot Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Following the Barlow Road ... location of the Oregon community of Marmot, Marmot Road, Oregon. Marmot Road, east of Sandy, Oregon, follows the path of the Barlow Road across a seven-mile ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone". Image taken November 7, 2012.

Devil's Backbone ...

The route of the Barlow Road crosses the seven-mile-long ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone" before descending down to the Sandy River to cross at what is known as Sandy River's "Lower Crossing". Today, SE Marmot Road crosses the Devil's Backbone.


Image, 2012, Sandy, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Territorial view from the Devil's Backbone, Marmot Road, Sandy, Oregon. Marmot Road, east of Sandy, Oregon, follows the path of the Barlow Road across a seven-mile ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone". Image taken July 13, 2012.

Devil's Backbone Route Segment ...

Excerpts from:
1993, Barlow Road Historic Corridor: Westernmost Segment of the Oregon Trail.




"This six mile route segment contains two site sections, including one of substantial length. This prominent ridge line is fairly dry and vegetation does not hinder visiblility of road remains to the degree of the South Bank segment. Most of this route segment is now rural farmland, as opposed to the higher density residential development along the north and south banks of the Sandy River and in the town sites of Rhododendron and Government Camp.

A short, 1/4 mile, road site section was identified at the east end of the Devils Backbone route segment. A roadbed crsses a small unnamed creek at the base of the mountain slope and then climbs straight up the toe of the ridge to a flat terrace. This section has been primarily used by tractors in recent times, except for the lower portion of hillside slope which still retinas original earthen berms along the shoulders suggesting a "pristine" condition of the roadbed. The location of the stream crossing at the base of the hill corresponds to an 1872 surveyors observation point for the "Wagon road from Portland to The Dalles". The emergence of the road section at the top of the hill is close to and aligns with another 1872 surveyors wagon road observation point.

Further up the Devils Backbone to the west is another, longer site section. Stretching for almost 3 1/2 miles in length, the site section begins at the former town site of Marmot and extends along the ridge top westward with occasional road remains apparent. Four 1860 surveyors observation points noting "a wagon road from Willamette Valley to Dalles" in addition to a fifth observation point established in 1872 correspond to the route identified in the field.

One of the better segments of preserved road is an intermittent "pristine" road section extending up a very narrow, steep ridge line from the Marmot town site. The old roadbed first follows the south shoulder of the county road in a woodland setting toward the west from Marmot before crossing to the north of the modern-day road. It then follows the narrow ridge line upward until reaching the ridge top and disappearing into a cleared pasture land.

Other "pristine" and "used" road sections were observed along the remaining 3 miles of the site section. "Pristine" sections include a deep rut at the west perimeter of an old orchard, an excellent roadbed through a remaining stand of woods, a short segment of ruts along th enorth shoulder of the county road and a very short swale in a recently clear-cut area. Two sections "used" for skidding logs, including a lengthy segment on the top of a narrow, level ridge near the north shoulder of the county road. Historic sites associated with this site section, besides Marmot which served travelers along the road course from the 1880s to the 1910s, is an unmarked pioneer grave site, a possible emigrant cmapsite according to emigrant diaries, and several early homesteads.

Two other portions of the Devils Backbone road segment lacked road remains. One is a 3/4 mile portion of the route located immediately east of the Marmot town site between the two road site sections described above. The other is the estern one mile of the ridge top route segment. The latter section has been significantly impacted by field clearing and agricultural development.

Though hill, Devils Backbone brought some relief from the thickets, sandy soils, wet boggy areas, and large river cobbles hindering travel along the previous miles of river bank. ..>"


Source:    Clackamas County (Or.), 1993, Barlow Road Historic Corridor: Westernmost Segment of the Oregon Trail: Background Report & Management Plan, Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development.


Image, 1992, Barlow Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Detail, 1992 Map, Early Barlow Road crossing the eastern part of the Devil's Backbone, from the Marmot settlement (on right) to just west of the Devil's Backbone summit and the Marmot Dam Road.

Source:   Beckham, S.D., and Hanes, R.C., 1992, The Barlow Road, Clackamas County, Oregon, Inventory Project, Historic Context, 1845-1919, prepared for the Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development, August 1992.

  • Orange - Barlow Road.
  • Blue - SE Marmot Road.

Devil's Backbone to the Sandy River Crossing ...

According to the Clackamas County and the Wasco County Historical Societies' publication "Barlow Road" (1985), it was a good one or two-day journey to descend the ridge and reach the crossing of the Sandy River at Revenue's Place and Tollgate. "Ropes were snubbed to trees to ease the descent of wagons down the Devil's Backbone, but no trace of these scars can be seen today due to logging and burns. Ruts are still visible in certain areas."


Marmot Road into Ten Eyck Road ...

Approximately 1/4 mile before reaching the "Lower Crossing" of the Sandy River, today's SE Marmot Road merges into today's SE Ten Eyck Road which today crosses the Sandy River on the "Revenue Bridge". The Ten Eyck Road was named after the Ten Eyck family. In 1883 Richard Ten Eyck arrived and settled in the Marmot area.


View the Devil's Backbone ... Jonsrud Viewpoint

The Jonsrud Viewpoint is located one mile east of the community of Sandy. The viewpoint gives spectacular views of not only Mount Hood, but also the Devil's Backbone and the Sandy River. The Barlow trail crosses the 7-mile-long ridge known as the "Devil's Backbone" before it descends down to the Sandy River to cross.

"... This viewpoint is named for the Jonsrud family of Sandy, Oregon. T.G. Jonsrud and his wife Kari settled west of Sandy in 1877. The Jonsrud's son Robert, a blacksmit and sawmill owner, acquired this land in the early 1900s. In 1922 Robert and his wife Tillie built the beautiful Prairie Style house across the road and cleared this viewpoint which has been in constant use for more than 70 years. Philip Jonsrud, Robert's son, donated the viewpoint to the City of Sandy in 1984."


Source:    Information panel, Jonsrud Viewpoint, visited 2012.

Image, 2012, Sandy, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Jonsrud Viewpoint, Sandy, Oregon. View towards Mount Hood, Devil's Backbone (ridgeline, middle), and the Sandy River valley. Image taken July 13, 2012.
Image, 2012, Sandy, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Detail of information sign, "Devil's Backbone", Jonsrud Viewpoint, Sandy, Oregon. Image taken July 13, 2012.
Image, 2012, Sandy, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Hood and the Sandy River valley, as seen from the Jonsrud Viewpoint, Sandy, Oregon. Image taken July 13, 2012.



  • NEXT: Crossing the Sandy River
    • Overview ...
    • Sandy River Crossing Route Segment ...
    • Sandy River ... "Lower Crossing"
    • Sandy River ... "Lower Crossing" ... "Revenue Bridge"
    • Sandy River ... Second Tollgate (1853 to 1865)
    • Cedar Creek ...
    • SE Ten Eyck Road ...
    • Sandy, Oregon ...






HOME
NORTHWEST JOURNEY
COLUMBIA RIVER IMAGES
THE BARLOW ROAD
THE COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY



*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.

Lat/Long were obtained from plotting location on National Geographic's TOPO! program, 3.4.3, 2003.

Sources:    [See Barlow Road Sources]

TheBarlowRoad.com/barlow_road_sandy_river.html
© 2016, Lyn Topinka, "TheBarlowRoad.com", All rights reserved.
Images are NOT to be downloaded from this website.
November 2015