Goonie Trails – Astoria, Oregon - Atlas Obscura

Goonie Trails

The lush coastal city of Astoria is riddled with forgotten secret sidewalks. 


The street grid in Astoria, Oregon has been altered a number of times over the years due to frequent major storms and disasters, along with constant subtle shifting of the steep ground that the city has been constructed upon.

What were streets and homes in the past are now buckled ribbons of forest scattered amongst the hillside city. Though when streets and sidewalks have become difficult to rebuild or maintain, a series of unmarked and rarely documented trails, almost secret sidewalks, have often taken their place. Some locals have come to know these backpaths as the Goonie Trails, after the movie The Goonies, that popularized the neighborhood.  

Throughout the city are many footpaths and trails, some as short as a few steps, some as long as several blocks, that create walking arteries between streets at different levels or with missing sections. Some of these paths have been paved or covered in gravel at one time or another, some have handrails or wooden steps, some are just dirt or mud. And even amongst these trails, what may exist one season may be completely overgrown and unusable the next. Some of these paths have been paved by locals, using the wreckage of the streets that at one time ran across the same place, before a landslide buried that road down a hillside or some such. Others suffer the same fate that led to their creation in the first place, with buckling cement or steps being overtaken by the relentless Northwest bramble.

Finding any info on the Goonie Trails can be difficult as it seems they are often seen as little more than a given to the people who live there. Sometimes they are maintained by city maintenance workers who trim some of them back once a year or so. Many are maintained by locals who use their own tools and time to keep them up - adding to the mystique. 

There are no known comprehensive maps of the Goonie Trails, as each year tends to see the neglect of some along with the creation of others. But finding them can be either a fun shortcut to a nearby destination, or an off-the-grid way to cross the town.

Know Before You Go

There are many pathways throughout Astoria, though no map catalogues them all. Above is an approximate location. The best way to find them is to ask a local.

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June 17, 2015

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