Molalla River

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Molalla River
Molalla River
Name origin: After the Molala people
Country United States
State Oregon
County Clackamas
Source Table Rock Wilderness Area
 - location Cascade Range, Clackamas County, Oregon
 - elevation 3,304 ft (1,007 m) [1]
 - coordinates 44°54′12″N 122°16′01″W / 44.90333°N 122.26694°W / 44.90333; -122.26694 [2]
Mouth Willamette River
 - location Molalla River State Park, Clackamas County, Oregon
 - elevation 69 ft (21 m)
 - coordinates 45°17′23″N 122°43′18″W / 45.28972°N 122.72167°W / 45.28972; -122.72167Coordinates: 45°17′23″N 122°43′18″W / 45.28972°N 122.72167°W / 45.28972; -122.72167 [2]
Length 50 mi (80 km) [3][4]
Basin 877 sq mi (2,271 km2) [5]
Location of the Molalla River mouth in Oregon

The Molalla River is a 50-mile (80 km) tributary of the Willamette River in the northwestern part of Oregon in the United States.


The river's headwaters are in Clackamas County, in the Table Rock Wilderness, near Table Rock, in the Cascade Range. After descending from the mountains, it becomes a small meandering river, passing through the fertile agricultural region of the Willamette Valley, and flows past the city of Molalla.

It is joined by the Pudding River shortly before flowing into the Willamette near the city of Canby. Molalla River State Park, where the confluence of the Molalla, Pudding, and Willamette form a floodplain, provides one of the most significant habitats for small mammals and waterfowl in the Willamette Valley, including one of the largest great blue heron rookeries in the region.


During the early 19th century, the area around the river was populated by the Molala people. During that time, an extensive system of trails along the river allowed trade between the peoples of the Willamette Valley and eastern Oregon. As late as the 1920s, the trails were used by Native Americans from the Warm Springs Indian Reservation to reach huckleberry-picking grounds near Table Rock.[6] One of the original routes, called the "Huckleberry Trail", is currently used for recreational hiking and horseback riding.

Starting in the 1840s, the lower Molalla became an area of intense homesteading by European-Americans because of the high fertility of the surrounding land. The upper reaches of the river became an area of widespread logging, as well as gold mining near the head of Ogle Creek.


This is a list of bridges and other crossings of the Molalla River from its confluence with the Willamette River upstream to its source in the Cascade Range.

Crossing Carries Location River mile Year built Coordinates
Knight's Bridge Knight's Bridge road Canby 2.7 1877 (original structure) 45°16′02″N 122°42′37″W / 45.267338°N 122.710285°W / 45.267338; -122.710285 (Knights Bridge)
Rail bridge Southern Pacific rail (Canby-Aurora) Canby 3.7 45°15′24″N 122°42′33″W / 45.256692°N 122.709083°W / 45.256692; -122.709083 (Rail Bridge)
99E Bridge Oregon Route 99E Canby 3.8 45°15′20″N 122°42′28″W / 45.255484°N 122.707645°W / 45.255484; -122.707645 (99E Bridge)
Goods Bridge Hwy 170 (S Kropf Road) (Canby-Marquam Hwy) Canby 6.0 45°14′40″N 122°41′15″W / 45.244414°N 122.687448°W / 45.244414; -122.687448 (Hwy 170 Goods Bridge)
Rail Bridge Canby-Molalla rail spur Canby 10.0 45°13′42″N 122°38′04″W / 45.22826°N 122.63434°W / 45.22826; -122.63434 (Rail Bridge)
Hwy 213 Bridge Hwy 213 (Cascade Hwy) Mulino, Liberal 14.5 45°12′00″N 122°34′52″W / 45.199968°N 122.581195°W / 45.199968; -122.581195 (Hwy 213 Bridge)
Hwy 211 Bridge Hwy 211 (Woodburn-Estacada Hwy) Molalla 18.5 45°09′42″N 122°32′06″W / 45.161717°N 122.535083°W / 45.161717; -122.535083 (Hwy 211 Bridge)
Feyrer Park Bridge Feyrer Park road Molalla 20.7 45°08′19″N 122°32′01″W / 45.13864°N 122.53356°W / 45.13864; -122.53356 (Feyrer Park Bridge)
Private Bridge Molalla Forest Service road Molalla 22.4 45°07′12″N 122°32′06″W / 45.120129°N 122.535024°W / 45.120129; -122.535024 (Bridge)

Knight's Bridge[edit]

Knight's Bridge was a wooden covered bridge built in 1877 over the Molalla River on the western city limit of Canby.[7] The bridge was destroyed in 1947.[7] It was replaced with a non-covered bridge sited north of the original one.[citation needed] The road that crosses the bridge is Knight's Bridge Road, which connects Canby to Interstate 5.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Derived from Google Earth search using Geographic Names Information Service (GNIS) source coordinates.
  2. ^ a b "Molalla River". Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). United States Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  3. ^ United States Geological Survey. "United States Geological Survey Topographic Map". TopoQuest. Retrieved August 9, 2010.  The map quadrants—Canby, Yoder, Molalla, Wilhoit, Fernwood, Gawley Creek, and Rooster Rock, Oregon—include river mile (RM) markers from the mouth to RM 46.3 (river kilometer 74.5). The remaining distance is an estimate based on map scale and ruler.
  4. ^ Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer (Map) (1991 ed.). DeLorme Mapping. § 55, 60–61. ISBN 0-89933-235-8. 
  5. ^ "The River". Willamette Riverkeeper. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ "About the Molalla". Molalla River Watch. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Nelson, Lee H. (1960). A Century of Oregon Covered Bridges, 1851-1952: A History of Oregon Covered Bridges, Their Beginnings, Development and Decline, Together with Some Mention of the Builders and Techniques. Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society. pp. 123–124. OCLC 221134668. 

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