Photo by Bill Miller The OC&E-Woods Line State Trail starts near this rail car in Klamath Falls. Rail fans can explore the caboose before heading off for a walk or ride.

Snapshot: The OC&E-Woods Line State Trail, Klamath Falls

Before frost nips at the pumpkin and snow puts autumn to bed, there's still time to get on board Oregon's longest linear park.

Beginning in Klamath Falls, the OC&E-Woods Line State Trail, extends east to Bly and north to the Sycan Marsh, a distance of nearly 100 miles.

The trail was once the railbed for two logging railroads, the Oregon, California and Eastern Railway and Weyerhaeuser Corp.'s Woods Line.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department acquired the railroad right-of-way in the early 1990s and began working with the Klamath Rails-to-Trails Group, local citizens dedicated to developing the trail.

Start your exploration at the trailhead in Klamath Falls, particularly if you have children. There, sitting on the rails, you'll find a big yellow caboose where your kids can spend a few minutes in their "let's pretend" world.

There's a replica cargo dock with wooden freight boxes and other cool railroad stuff, sure to keep the young engineers busy and any railroad fanatic happy.

It's all surrounded by a railroad yard of grass with plenty of room for chugging around and exhausting those active little minds.

The actual trail begins beside a railroad crossing sign at the edge of the grass. The first eight miles are paved, making it a popular gathering point for hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and roller skaters. Dogs are allowed, but motorized vehicles aren't.

Tiffany Cook of Klamath Falls was running down the trail pushing a carriage that sheltered her 3-month-old baby from the morning sun.

"I started coming out with the baby every other day just to run and try to get back into shape," she said.

Because the trail is level and straight, Cook said that she and the baby were already up to about six miles a day.

"Best of all," she said. "I've lost 10 pounds."

For Marge and John Meyers, the trail is a way to be together and stay healthy.

"We're getting pretty old," said John Meyers with a laugh. "They say to walk is to live, so we do a lot of walking together."

Marge Meyers agreed.

"Not only that," she said. "It's just good to be doing something outside of the house."

Paved trails and city noise are not everyone's favorite outdoor experience. For them, a trip east to the countryside surrounding Olene may just punch their ticket. The trailhead is on the north side of the highway across from the Olene Store.

The store is closed, so bring your own food and drink.

Here the trail turns to graded rock and earth, looking down on the ranches and forested buttes that frame the Lost River below. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to Mount Shasta in California.

It will take more than one day to explore every mile of this unusual linear park, but with temperatures suggesting that Jack Frost is already chugging our way, it might just be time to get your engine all fired up and pumped full of steam.

Bill Miller is a writer living in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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