Your Guide to the South Clackamas Farm Loop
The northeastern corner of the Willamette Valley enjoys a reputation for relative calm and quiet—especially when compared to the high volume of wineries on the valley’s west side or the region’s biggest communities along the Interstate 5 corridor.
But what the farmland around Canby and along the Molalla River lacks in bustle or worldwide acclaim, it makes up for with a slow-paced, relaxing look at the deep roots of the region’s agricultural history. Farmers have been tilling these soils in the shadow of Mount Hood for generations, and today they share their craft with curious visitors through wine, fresh produce, specialty foods, and more along the 20-stop South Clackamas Farm Loop.
The loop was created as part of the wider Oregon Farm Loop program, which works to deepen connections with the state’s agricultural output through farm tours, roadside stands and markets, colorful flower farms, and—naturally—celebrated wineries. You can even get started in less time than it takes to read this article: Just download a brochure and map from the official South Clackamas Farm Loop website, find a few stops that sound fun, make sure they’ll be open when you want to visit, and hit the road.
If you want a bit more information, we’re happy to help. Here’s everything you need to know to start exploring the South Clackamas Farm Loop.
What is the South Clackamas Farm Loop?
The self-guided South Clackamas Farm Loop includes 20 stops at local wineries, flower farms, shops, ranches, and more. With so many stops, it’s easy to put together an all-day or weekend-long itinerary that suits your interests and introduces you to the beauty of the Willamette Valley.
And if you want to break up your visits with a little fresh air, we’ve put together a guide to outdoor recreation along the beautiful Molalla River corridor.
Where is the South Clackamas Farm Loop?
The South Clackamas Farm Loop sits within Clackamas County and is roughly bordered on its west side by the Clackamas River (hence the name). Canby and Molalla are the most notable communities along the loop, which largely passes through a mosaic of forests and farmland while winding along quiet backroads and byways in the foothills of Mount Hood.
In all, it only takes about 30 minutes to drive from the loop’s northernmost stops to its southernmost outposts, sans stops, or to drive from east to west.
What Can You Do Along the South Clackamas Farm Loop?
It almost feels like the more appropriate question is, “What can’t you do along the South Clackamas Farm Loop?” There is truly something for everyone along the expansive loop.
Green thumbs love browsing the many nurseries and flower farms in the northeastern Willamette Valley—sites and attractions you don’t often see elsewhere in the region. Swan Island Dahlias, for instance, is the largest dahlia grower in the United States—and is awash in color when its fields bloom every August; visitors can stop by all year long to browse the farm’s gift shop, or in July-Sept. for fresh-cut dahlias. You can also peruse colorful tulip fields every spring with the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, taking place at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm and Vineyard just outside Woodburn; roughly 40 acres of flowers bloom between March and April each year, with the festival also boasting food vendors, family activities, gifts, and more. (Estate-grown wines are available at Wooden Shoe’s tasting room year-round, as well.)
You can also visit farms of all kinds while traveling the South Clackamas Farm Loop. Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch is home to a herd of more than 70 alpacas and hosts a store selling clothing, yarns, and rugs made from alpaca fur; organized tours are available if you’d like to go behind the scenes. And at TMK Creamery, you can see firsthand how cheese is made, tour the farm’s dairy, and meet the cows and calves responsible for the treats on sale at the TMK store (including grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese curds).
Hungry? Grab a burger, tots, pizza, and dessert at Clarkes General Store & Eatery—or some quick bites for a picnic later on. In summer, the health-minded MoonRidge Farms offers pre-picked and U-pick blueberries, lavender, and yacón—not to mention walking trails through quiet forestland and items made from farm-grown goods (such as teas and syrup).
Of course, no trip through the Willamette Valley is complete without a stop (or two) for wine—and you’ll find plenty along the South Clackamas Farm Loop. Forest Edge Vineyard sits at the base of the Cascade foothills and incorporates sustainable practices into nearly everything it does; vineyards enjoy nutrients from the nearby forest, the tasting room was crafted from lumber that was sourced and milled on-site, and its buildings are heated with passive solar techniques. Villa Catalana Cellars, meanwhile, offers a regal tasting room whose design was inspired by a 12th-century stone church in Spain—and which is filled with rare, tropical plants; its small-batch wines use grapes exclusively from Pacific Northwest vineyards. And King’s Raven Winery has earned acclaim for its hand-harvested, foot-stomped wines—with specialties including pinot noir, pinot gris, and léon millot—on a family-owned-and-operated farm that dates back to 1942.
If you want to learn more, we’ve put together an in-depth guide to the South Clackamas Farm Loop.