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Membership Requirements

Club History Summary

Trails Club Founding

History Commentary

History Bytes

TC Trivia


Trails Club of Oregon is a Portland, Oregon based outdoor club with a rich tradition and history. Trails Club members have enjoyed outdoor activities on Mt Hood, in the Columbia Gorge and many other Northwest areas since 1915! Some third generation hikers and campers are enjoying the efforts of our founders that built a hiking lodge, "Nesika" with a view of the Columbia River. Volunteer members joined together years later to build a ski lodge, "Tyee", on Mt. Hood. We now have many gatherings to enjoy winter sports and incredible gourmet meals with a view of the peak of Mt Hood. We ski and snowshoe out the door to trails from Government Camp to Timberline on Mt. Hood. There is a great sledding hill next to our lodge, this also can be used for a snowboarding. Lodge users are charged a nominal lodge fee.

Trails Club of Oregon is for the hearty. Nesika can be reached by hiking four miles up from Multnomah Falls. Generous skilled volunteer members greet hikers with homemade cookies and meals cooked on a wood stove. Our rustic lodge is very cozy when the fireplace and kitchen stove get fired up. Dorms can sleep many members and guests for overnights at Halloween parties, star gazing, 4th of July Bar-B-Queue and work weekends. It is a great place to take off on hikes and backpack trips in the Columbia River Gorge. Our lodges are not for rent, guests are welcome to come to activities, to spend the night non-members must be with a member.

Outdoor activities include snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, biking, backpacking, and kayaking. Trips include Alpine outings, Senior Outings, trips to Bend to ski, resorts, European hiking trips and whatever our members volunteer to lead.

Social activities include Travel and Adventure Nights (slides and speakers), picnics in Portland Parks in the summer, Hike and Dine events(usually at Tyee), Wednesday lunch after the Wed. morning hike in Forest Park, Halloween Parties, New Years Eve and work trips at the lodges.

Scheduled events are published here on the Events Calendar and in our monthly newsletter, The Trail Blazer. Come hike with us and let us get to know you. Click on membership for more on membership requirements, benefits and an application form.


Non-members are invited to take part in Trails Club activities, however for overnight lodge visits must be accompanied by a member. The Trail Blazer (monthly newsletter) is sent upon request or after attendance on a scheduled trip. Please read the information below on Dues, Requirements and Club Principles. Further information and membership application forms are available by sending emailing to mail@trailsclub.org.


Membership Requirements:

Any person of good moral character, and in agreement with the objectives and purposes of the club shall be eligible for membership as a regular member if 18 years of age or older, or as a junior member if 12 through 17 years of age.

To become a member of the Trails Club, prospective members must within one year:

  • Complete an active published scheduled trip such as a 4 mile hike or snowshoe.
  • Visit at least one of our lodges on a scheduled and published opening.
  • Get 2 sponsoring members to sign the membership application.

Once all requirements have been met the membership application must be submitted along with the application fee and first years dues to the Trails Club board by mailing it to the club PO box. Please fill out and sign the application completely. Junior members may apply at the age of 12.

Membership application forms are available here.

Dues (as of 1/1/2018)

Membership Dues are $50.00 per year.
Dues for Junior members (12-17) are $5.00 per year.

The new member's initiation fee is $15.00 per person ($7.50 for juniors).

Club Principles

For safety and practical reasons, and to avoid possible ill feelings, alcoholic beverages, pets, and political or sectarian demonstrations are not permitted at Trails Club activities or lodges. It is expected, of course, that persons participating in hikes will be physically able and properly equipped to enjoy them.

The committees that plan and direct club activities are under the supervision of the elected Board of Trustees. All club officers and committee members are non-paid volunteers.

Hike and Trip Fees:

All day trips have a fee of $2.00 for non-members. Members are free (4/3/2018)

Carpooling is practiced with a suggested donation of $.10 - $0.15 per mile to the driver, with a limit of $.20 - $0.30 per mile for all riders in a car.

Group camping trips have a fee, and deposits are required.


Club History Summary - The First Years:

Contact the club Historian for more information about the history of the club.

On Oct. 3, 1915, twenty-six men of the Progressive Businessmen's Club gathered at Larch Mountain's top to dedicate the newly completed trail. Capping the ceremony was the announcement of the formation of the Trails Club of Oregon, with Sam Lancaster as its first president. A patriarch of the Trails Club, Samuel Lancaster is famous for building the Columbia River Scenic Highway.

Well-known local residents eagerly joined and actively supported the club. They included department store scions Julius Meier and Aaron Frank, Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock, clothier Charles F. Berg, and Amos Benson. Benson's father Simon, more than any other person, made the Gorge Highway and the Larch Mountain Trail possible. At the time, the first leg of the scenic highway, running from Corbett to Multnomah Falls was nearing completion.

Early in 1915, the Larch Mountain trail was conceived. Henry Hayek, who was to become the Trails Club's second president, moved that the Progressive Business Men's Club sponsor construction of the trail. A total of $1,000 was immediately pledged. All rights of way were secured at no cost. Simon and Amos Benson donated additional cash and invested considerable time in the project.

A few years later a group of members conceived a lodge home for the Trails Club on their own property. While gathered around the camp fires and at weekly luncheons, they talked about a home for the club. Because the Trails Club had its inception on the summit of Larch Mountain, its territory was selected as the logical place for a mountain home. More than a year was spent searching the area before the spot in the Columbia River Highlands upon which Nesika now stands, was found. Our club is grateful to Herman Erren, George Bickel and Fred Steeble, who formed the first Lodge Committee, for their far-reaching vision in choosing this spot.

First Trails Club cabin at summit of Larch Mountain from book Lancasters Road by Oral Bullard 1982.



Trails Club Trivia:

  • The viewpoint at Nesika is called Bickel's point for an early Trails Club President. It is where Waespe's wall was later built.
  • The first building built on Trails Club  land was a tool shed.
  • The first Trails Club  cabin was atop Larch Mountain.
  • Mr. Bickel built his own small cabin where the Franklin Ridge trail heads up from Nesika.
  • Tyee was built in one season from snowmelt to snow fall with a work trip every weekend. One woman cooked for every weekend.
  • The first building built there was a tool shed/cook house.
  • The pencils sold to fund the Larch Mountain trail were blue.
  • The name Trail Blazer did not appear for many years, but long before the basketball team.
  • Tyee lodge was early called Nanitch.  The Club voted down the motion to build it at the first meeting.
Continue reading to learn about the Trails Club of Oregon, its history and joining our group. I hope to see you on one of our scheduled events.