Sawmill & Tribal Trail
The Sawmill & Tribal Trail is 5.6 miles one way and can be walked, bicycled or driven. Just look for the trail logo on numbered cedar post or on streets or sidewalks. The trail is divided into three section: A)North Bend, B) John Topits Park, C) Empire
Background: This trail honors paths developed by Coos tribal ancestors that connected their bayside villages and hunting grounds. Later, settlers also used these trails.
Empire City, established 1853 among several tribal villages, became the population center with hotels, saloons, courthouse, school, brewery, general stores, 30 houses (1855) and a post office (1861). Henry H. Luse (Empire City, 1856) then Asa M. Simpson (North Bend, 1857) built sawmills on the bay. Simpson created the first shipyard (1858) also near tribal village sites.
In 1859 Coos County approved a North Bend – Empire City road. The route undoubtedly utilized some tribal paths. Teetotaler Charles Merchant refused to sell alco-hol at Simpson’s North Bend store so thirsty loggers, mill and shipyard workers went to Empire for saloons and enter- tainment. Hence the historic “Sawmill Trail” – more accurately titled the Sawmill & Tribal Trail.
Download a trail map here: Sawmill Tribal Trail Map