The Clackamas River Trail can be done as a one-way hike with a shuttle, a very long there-and-back trip, or broken up into an upper and lower section. This hike describes a there-and-back along the upstream section leaving from Indian Henry Campground and hiking to Pup Creek Falls; the lower section leaves from Fish Creek.
The trail generally follows the south bank of the Clackamas River through dramatic old-growth forests, meadow crossings, and a great picnic/swimming spot at the river. A side-trail leads to a very worthwhile waterfall, giving this hike a good variety of attractions. The hike is a usually snow-free, and it is a good choice in the winter if the higher elevation Riverside Trail is not passable.
The trail is clearly marked and begins climbing into old-growth woods above the river and shortly drops into a meadow as it passes closer to the river. Just after passing the first backcountry campsite, a short side trail leads to the Narrows, so named for the tight bottleneck through which the river flows. This grassy clearing above the Clackamas River is a great place for a picnic and a swim, conditions permitting. It is also a good return point if a shorter hike is desired. From the Narrows, the trail rises up over a small ridge and proceeds to Pup Creek, where a downed-log a few hundred feet upstream provides the only safe crossing. After the crossing the trail climbs briefly; a side trail leaves from the left and follows Pup Creek for 0.3 miles up to a good view of Pup Creek Falls, a 237-foot, two-tiered waterfall.