Directions: Take Highway 26 past the town of Sandy and about 15 miles later you will see a sign for the Wildwood Recreation Area on your right. After stopping at the pay station follow the road past a junction and just a short distance later take a left into the parking area.
Make sure to get a trail map at the trailhead. There are lots of trails through here and it definitely helps to have one.
Get on the trail to the left of the bathrooms and cross a bridge over the Salmon River. Keep following the trail until you reach a junction, go left onto the Wetlands Trail which quickly turns into boardwalk. This takes you through a marshy area, there are a few side boardwalk trails to your left, these take you farther out into the marsh area for better wildlife viewing. This is a good area to hangout if you are into birds, we saw quite a few interesting ones while we were here.
Continue following the boardwalk to a junction, go right and the trail loops back to the bridge. There is an optional side trip here that you can take. Go down the steps that are to the right of the bridge and get on a narrow dirt trail. This trail takes you along the river, with a few trails actually leading you out to the river. You can follow this trail for about a half mile where you will run into a private property sign on a fence. Turn around and head back to the bridge.
Cross back over the bridge and immediately take a left where you will get onto the Streamwatch trail. Follow this paved trail as it eventually heads downhill and gets to river level. Follow the signs for the underwater viewing window. This viewing area is below water level and you are able to see small fish swimming around. It’s a great area for kids. Coming out of the viewing area go left and continue following the streamwatch loop trail as you pass several side trails that take you to the river.
At the junction for the Salmon River Shelter take this trail and pass a bathroom and the shelter. The trail ends at a parking area, go left and follow around the edge until you come to a second paved trail. Follow this trail until you come to a junction marked for Mt. Hood Village. Go right and follow the trail through a very pretty wooded area. You will go uphill for a short distance but most of the trail is well graded. Keep following this trail until you come to the Old Mill Nature Loop. You can take this loop around, it’s not very interesting at all, you do get to see the remnants of the old mill at the end though. Once you are back at the beginning of the loop follow the trail signed for Trailhead Parking.
Distance: 4.5 miles (if you take all the side trails and loops)
Elevation: 50 feet
Pet Friendly: Yes
Good For: All ages
Parking Fee: $5 day use fee
Popular: Yes on weekends
Overall: This is a pleasant and easy hike, if not a bit boring. The Salmon River is pretty and you get lots of chances to see it.