Ready to test your off-road skills on Cedar Tree? Strap in and let’s get going. Welcome to my review of the Jeep Badge of Honor Trail called Cedar Tree.
Cedar Tree trail is located in Tillamook State Forest, about 35 miles east of Tillamook, Oregon.
If you aren’t familiar with the Jeep Badge of Honor program, I’ve fully described it in my article here ➡️ Jeep Badge of Honor
Getting to Cedar Tree Trail
Be prepared because Cedar Tree isn’t easy to find. Honestly, it’s hard to find, but that’s part of what makes it a Jeep Badge of Honor trail. It’s all part of the fun.
You want the badge? You get to use your navigational skills to find it.
Not going to lie, we made at least two wrong turns (while carefully following the forest map) before finally arriving at the trailhead. And we’ve been doing this off-roading thing for a bit.
The trail is nestled in the southeast corner of the state forest. If you’re coming from Tillamook, you’ll enter at Beaver Dam Road, and wind your way south to the start of Cedar Tree trail. I’m not going to spoil it by telling you exactly how to get there, but I will give you some advice.
My best hint is to stop at Tillamook Forest Center to speak to one of the staff members. Tell them you’re heading to Cedar Tree trail and ask them for a map. They’ll give you one that will get you there…eventually.
You’ll also need an OHV permit from the State of Oregon, which you can pick up at the center. As of this writing, the permit is $10 and valid for two years. Make sure you check the Tillamook Forest Center’s hours of operation on the website.
Last piece of advice before you head out to this trail is to download the map for the area with whatever mapping software you like to use. You’ll lose connectivity long before you get to the forest center, not to mention the trail system. You’ll want these maps and you’ll thank me later.
Cedar Tree Trail
The entrance to Cedar Tree trail is unassuming. A small white sign greets you and lets you know you’re in the right place. It identifies Cedar Tree and informs you it is rated as “Moderate.”
The start of the trail looks fairly open and simple, and it is. But that’s where the simplicity ends.
From this point on, you’ll be headed deep into Tillamook State Forest on one of the most beautiful trails in the Pacific Northwest.
Careful driving skill is required to avoid damaging the forest (and the sides of your vehicle), as you navigate narrow passages through trees. Evidence of people taking wrong lines is all over the place throughout this trail. Trees are a constant concern on the majority of the trail. Use extra caution if it has rained recently, as the forest floor can get slick.
Note: If it has been raining, there is one low portion along the trail that collects water, and makes for a challenging and exciting water crossing.
Roots, stumps, and rocks are all throughout the trail. I recommend you take your time as you navigate through the forest.
Time, good lines, and patience are your friends on this trail. The scenery is astounding and the smell of fresh pine is everywhere.
Cedar Tree trail is three miles long. To complete the trail, you’ll be required to cross over various forest service roads and back onto the trail. If I remember correctly, there were four or five such crossings required, in order to complete the entirety of the trail.
Can My Stock Jeep Run This Trail?
There is a saying among Jeepers that the weakest part on any Jeep is the nut behind the wheel.
There is no question in my mind that a stock Jeep Wrangler with an experienced driver can conquer Cedar Tree.
Having said that, a lifted Jeep with an inexperienced driver could have some difficulty with this trail.
Though there are many options for self-recovery if you have a winch, it’s still my recommendation that you not wheel this trail alone for safety reasons.
And please do not wheel this trail alone if you are inexperienced and do not have a winch.
The trail is so long that at times you are far enough away from any Forest Service Road that you may have to wait for help if you require assistance. As I mentioned earlier, cell phones don’t work out here.
The Cedar Tree, Namesake of the Trail
About half way through completing Cedar Tree trail, you’ll come across a massive fallen cedar tree for which the trail is named.
You have two options: you can try to drive under it and get the epic shot, or you can drive around if you can’t go or don’t want to attempt going underneath.
At 7’8″ in height with our roof top tent, we were far too tall to even consider attempting to go underneath.
I would guess that a stock Jeep with a hardtop should be able to make it, but you make your own call. I’ve heard stories of folks who have ripped off their soft top while attempting this obstacle.
Whatever you do, this is a great place to pause and take a few photos.
Cedar Tree Trail Summary
Cedar Tree trail is hard to find, incredibly beautiful, and absolutely worth doing. Navigating through the trees is a challenge, but a competent driver with a stock Jeep should be able to do it.
Downloading the maps ahead of time, getting a hard copy map from Tillamook Forest Center, making sure you have your Oregon State OHV permit, having a winch on your Jeep, and bringing an off-road buddy are highly recommended.
My family genuninely enjoyed Cedar Tree trail (including my two-year-old) and completed the entirety of the trail without a scratch, in about two hours in a 4-door Jeep.
There is another Jeep Badge of Honor trail located within a 1/4-mile of Cedar Tree, called Firebreak 5. This trail is rated “Difficult” by Tillamook State Forest and we didn’t have time to run it this trip. But we did speak to several others who have and they stated it was much more challenging than Cedar Tree.
So if you have time to run both, I’d recommend you run Cedar Tree first and see how you feel before tackling Firebreak 5.
We were bummed we ran out of time to run Firebreak 5 (we had to get our toddler fed and into bed). But if you’ve run it, we’d love to hear what you thought.
Hope this has been helpful to you. Drop us a comment with any questions or your own experience on this trail!
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