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Featured National Recreation Trails

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Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.


Tillamook County Water Trail, Oregon


Map of northwest Oregon


Photos courtesy of Tillamook Estuaries Partnership

The over 200-mile water trail system encompasses the abundant rivers, estruaries, and bays of Tillamook County, Oregon. The project received Recreational Trails Program funding for water trail guidebook printing and map development.


Tillamook County Water Trail - The Vision

photo of wide wetlands with kayakers

Along the Tillamook County Water Trail system


The Water Trail encourages the quiet exploration and discovery of the ecological, historical, social, and cultural features of Tillamook County from the uplands to the ocean.

As a recreational and educational experience that promotes and celebrates the value of Tillamook County’s waterways, the trail contributes to the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the county. The Trail establishes an alternative, low-impact way to enjoy and appreciate the wonders of all five county estuaries.

Tucked between the rugged Coast Range and the Pacific Ocean, the area features natural and historic resources along its numerous waterways. These scenic water trails wind through some of North America's richest timber and dairy land. Native vegetation line the banks, local birds use a variety of habitats as rookeries, and rich wetlands provide critical habitat for important fish populations.

photo of boating on smooth water

Kayaking through the estruary


Tillamook Bay was identified in 1994 as an estuary of national significance and entered into the Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program. The Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, lead partner in the water trail system, is the organization that implements the Tillamook Bay's National Estuary Project comprehensive conservation and management plan. To encourage the development of boating access, the partnership includes managers for each access point. These access points are managed by public entities which ensure proper maintenance of facilities. In addition, many of the public agencies along the water trail routes have complementary facilities such as campgrounds, picnic tables, restrooms, and interpretive kiosks for use by visitors.

Paddle clean-ups, educational tours, and water quality and invasive species monitoring have been undertaken by users of the TCWT. Utilizing targeted outreach in regional newspaper articles, internet, and personal presentations, the TCWT has proven to be a catalyst for increased interest in paddling throughout Tillamook County, and local waterways in general. The project has moved beyond its original vision to become a valuable tool not only for recreationalists, but for individuals interested in sustaining this region’s vital natural resources.


Water Trail Maps

The water trail project grew out of the interest of natural resource agencies, businesses, landowners, and recreation advocates. In 2004 a committee, led by the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, convened to facilitate the formation of a countywide system of water trails. An early goal was to develop maps detailing the location of amenities and public access points, promoting environmental education, and providing guidance for safety, wind, and water conditions. It was decided that since there were five unique estuary systems in the County, a water trail guidebook would be developed for each area.

Thanks to the Tillamook County Water Trail committee volunteers and sponsors, such as the Oregon Community Foundation and Recreational Trails Program funding through Oregon State Parks, this vision was realized. These professional, high-quality, waterproof guidebooks are available for the Tillamook County estuaries: the Nehalem watershed, the Tillamook Bay watershed, the Nestucca and Sand Lake watersheds, and now the Netarts watershed.

The waterproof trail maps can be ordered online at, or downloaded in pdf. The maps are also available along with more information on the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership at


detail of map along river covers of four map booklets


trail noteWe frequently add NRT information, photos and maps to these pages. Send suggestions and information requests to American Trails. Research additional NRTs in the NRT database. Trail managers can update online trail information in the NRT database. You may also e-mail information on minor changes or to update Featured NRT pages.



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The on-line database has details on the currently designated National Recreation Trails. The NRT Program online is hosted by American Trails:


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Promote your trail through the National Recreation Trails Program


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