- Location: Vernonia, Oregon
- Google map: “Vernonia Lake”
- Drive time from Portland: 50m
- Permit: $5 to park at the lake (or just park somewhere else nearby)
- Intensity: minimal walking
- Open: all year
- Pair with: trip to the coast, coast range hikes like Saddle Mountain or the Wilson River Trail, University Falls
This place is such a gem and so easy to get to. It’s fabulous on it’s own or as a stopover on the way to the coast or a coastal range hike. The mill, formerly known as the Oregon-American Lumber Company, was built in 1924 and closed in 1957. It’s hard to believe it’s become this way in just the last 50+ years.
Directions to it online are often sketchy for some reason, probably just because people love to hoard secret spots. It’s located right on Vernonia Lake. Park in the day use lot (or elsewhere if you don’t want to pay the $5) and walk to the right along the lake to that unmissable looming cinder block building. It’s technically not open to the public, but I’ve been multiple times and not had a problem.