The Banks-Vernonia State Trail follows 21 miles of railroad tracks that have been paved over and now allow access to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. Several trailheads between Banks and Vernonia dot the path, so a variety of there-and-back or shuttle trips can be created. It is a great choice for families, as the trail is wide and very gently sloped.
Starting at the Banks Trailhead, one can create a there-and-back trip that turns around at L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park. The first 3 miles along the Nehalem and Sunset Highways are quite flat and provide a good warm-up for the gentle but long slope that starts at Manning Trailhead. Upon reaching Manning, the trail veers away from the highway and becomes more serene. You’ll cross the Buxton Trestle as the trail passes through evergreens and leads to L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park.
The trail passes through private land, but the trail itself is one of Oregon’s State Parks. In fact, it is the first “rails-to-trails” state park in Oregon. The railroad was built 1913 to transport lumber, freight, and passengers. In 1973 the line was abandoned, and it was subsequently transferred to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Finally, improvements were completed in 2010, when the Banks Trailhead opened.