Blair Lake Trail No. 3553 is NE of Oakridge in the Willamette Nat'l Forest. Just east of Oakridge turn north off of HWY 58 onto the Fish Hatchery Rd. Follow that north to Salmon Creek Rd No.24. Follow Salmon Creek Rd, approx. 10 mi. then turn north (left) on No. 1934, Wall Creek Rd. Follow this gravel, dusty, washboarded logging road for several miles, then turn right on spur road 733 for the final approach to Blair Lk. Just before reaching the lake there is a spur road to the left, follow this for a short distance to reach the trailhead on the right. Blair Lake has a USFS campsite and is popular with families and fisherfolk, although few catch anything. It is a pleasant and scenic smaller lake, filled with Roughskin newts (Taricha granulosa), and offers some wonderful swimming in the late summer. It is fairly low elevation (4800 ft) so warms up more than some Cascade lakes.
The trail itself starts in the boggy meadows north of the lake.
Here you can find an incredible array of wildflowers as the season
progresses. On this trip the meadow was dominated by larkspur
and blue eyed grass, with other patches filled with shooting stars.
The trail soon winds up into the forest that lines the walls of
the bowl that contains Blair Lake. The trees are dominated by
mature mountain hemlocks, with various true firs mixed in. Occasionally
western white pines (idaho white pine) with their fractured, geometric
bark are found, some quite large. In the drier areas lodgepole
pines become the dominate species. The trail climbs steadily and
reaches some rock out croppings overlooking the lake. The trail
then leaves the lake basin and progresses through incredible ridgeline
meadows of beargrass. There are occasional rock outcroppings and
views of Diamond Pk. to the south. Eventually the trailhead at
Spring Prairie is reached. Here there is an impressive view of
the Three Sisters to the NE as well as Diamond Pk. The total distance
up is about three miles. These photos were taken 6/30/96.
Lower trailhead, 35.2K, looking towards the meadows.
Rock outcroppings, 39.9K, overlooking the lake, with indian paintbrush in bloom.
View from on the lake, 15k towards the rock outcroppings shown above.
Bobby Lake Trail No. 3663 is in the Willamette Nat'l Forest
and is accessed off the Waldo Lk. Rd off of State Hwy 58. It is
a wonderful trail for beginning mt. bikers or for a quick side
trip to swim in Bobby Lk. The trail winds through thick stands
of mt. hemlock with only gentle changes in grade. Try not to go
too fast because this trail is used by others. A massive shallow
sloping rock formation emerges from the west end of the lake.
Photos taken 8/95.
View of Maiden Peak from the north shore, taken 7/96, 19k
Brice Creek is a tributary of the Row River in the Umpqua Nat'l Forest east of Cottage Grove. It flows clear through deep pools, small falls and rushing white water. It's a beautiful stream and usually you can hike the Brice Creek Trail No. 1403 year around. The lower trailhead is just inside the NF boundary and the trail follows along the north side of the stream for 5.5 miles to the upper trailhead. There are foot bridges across Brice Creek at Cedar Creek and Lund Campgrounds, offering other access points. While the trail follows in sight of the stream much of the way, it also strays higher into the forest, offering variety and grade changes. Occasionally you'll find yourself on a shear cliff edge overlooking the sparkling creek a couple hundred feet below. We love to mt. bike on this trail in the the proper season (April,May-Oct.) and often use it as an early season tune-up ride. We ride the trail up and coast Brice Creek Rd. down for a pleasant 10 mi. round trip. There is just enough technical difficulty to give a challenge but mostly just a fun ride. This is a popular hiking trail so be alert and ride safe. We hike this trail when we want to focus on spring wildflowers, fall mushrooms or the impressive forest growing along the stream. This is also a popular swimming stream with many small but deep pools to be found.
Another hiking option is the Upper and Lower Trestle Creek Falls Trails. Trestle Creek is a tributary of Brice Creek and contains two impressive falls. Lower Trestle Creek Falls is smaller, maybe 30' total, but still beautiful and easily reached. It is just a quarter mile in from the upper Brice Creek Trailhead and then another quarter mile up a spur trail. Upper Trestle Creek Falls is truly breathtaking, both for it's beauty and the climb to get to it. It's approxiamately 100' from the lip of the falls to the pool at it's base. It has carved an impressive bowl surrounded by moss and fern covered overhanging cliffs. As a special treat the trail goes behind the falls, always a nice touch. This loop trail can be reached at either the trailhead it shares with upper Brice Creek, where it originates, or slightly less than a mile down the Brice Creek Trail, where it rejoins. Either way it's a steep 1 mi. up and 1 mi. back but well worth the effort.
To get to Brice Creek take exit 174 off I-5 at Cottage Grove and head east on the Row River Rd. Continue around the north side of Dorena Res. and on through the communities of Dorena and Culp Creek. At the intersection with FS 17, Layng Creek Rd., veer right and continue up Brice Creek Rd. After you reach the Nat'l Forest boundary it's about one mile to the lower trailhead. It's about 27 miles from the freeway to the trailhead.
Cummins Ridge Trail is in the Siuslaw Nat'l Forest and can
be accessed off HWY 101 south of Neptune State Park. Follow Cummins
Ridge Rd. inland until it deadends at the trailhead. Cummins Ridge
trail starts out as an abandoned roadway eventually becoming single
track trail. It is within the boundary of the relatively new Cummins
Crk. Wilderness. It is a pleasant though not spectacular trail
that leads through thick stands of douglas fir, sitka spruce and
western hemlock. We took these photos 3/24/96.
Sea of swordferns,38.8k
Rough skinned newt,28.8k
This fairly short but interesting trail is in the Hebo Ranger District of the Siuslaw Nat'l Forest, inland from Lincoln City. It's main attraction is a suspension bridge over Drift Creek that overlooks a 75' waterfall from a tributary stream. This trail suspension bridge is the largest of it's kind in Washington or Oregon and was completed in September 1997. It spans 240' and is 100' above Drift Creek. It is 1.25 mi. from the trailhead to the bridge, after crossing the bridge another .25 mi. to the creek's edge. From here you get a nice view of the falls and bridge above. The trail runs through regenerating Douglas Fir forest and eventually follows along the unnamed stream that will become the waterfall viewed from the bridge. These photos were taken 11/28/97.
How to get there:
From HWY 101, south of Lincoln city, turn east on Drift Creek Road, right on South Drift Creek for 1/4 mile. Then left on FS Rd. #17 (don't take Anderson Creek Rd.) for about 10 miles to the trailhead.
From HWY 18, 4.5 miles east of HWY101, turn south on Bear Creek County Rd. for 3.5 mi., then continue straight for 7 miles on FS Rd. #17 to the trailhead.
For more information you can visit the Hebo Ranger District web page.
Eagles Rest Trail No. 3461 is south of Lookout Point Res. in the Willamette Nat'l Forest. From Hwy 58 turn south on Goodman Crk Rd , FS 5833, (just east of mile post 20) and watch for the trailhead signs 3.5 mi. up the road. The Eagles Rest Trailhead is on the right, the upper trailhead for the much abused Goodman Crk. Trail on the left. The Eagles Rest Trail climbs gently for 2.5 mi. to the Ash Swale Shelter, mostly through vigorous second growth douglas fir and mixed species forest. There are occasional clearcut areas in various stages of regeneration. After the shelter the trail crosses Eagles Rest Road and continues for the final hike up. It is a steep .7 mi. to the top of 3022 ft. Eagles Rest. The peak offers a good view to the south of 4616 ft. Mt. June, though this view is marred by the extensive logging in the drainage below. The most prominent feature on top is the rock formations on the southeast face. There also is an interesting mix of dwarfed chinquapins, manzanitas and madrones that make up the trees at the summit. We climbed down to the edge of the formations and could watch green backed swallows flying below.
This is a great general year around trail. It often offers
winter hiking with great views when the snowfall is above 3000
ft. Those wanting a shorter hike can just do the final portion
off the Eagles Rest Rd. It is good for viewing both wildflowers
in the spring and mushrooms in the fall. Photo taken 5/12/96.
Madrones and indian paintbrush,32.2k view of rock formations at the top.
This coast range hike is well worth the lengthy drive over winding logging roads. It leads to three seperate falls in only two miles one-way. It is a steep trail in places as it switchbacks down the canyon cut by Kentucky Crk. Upper Kentucky Crk Falls is reached at 1 1/4 mi. down the trail. This small coastal tributary of the Smith River makes an impressive falls then cascades down a canyon to the lower falls. Here it joins the North Fork of the Smith River at the base of the North Fork Falls. Both of these falls spill over the same cliff and the two streams join in a boulder strewn bowl at the base. With the light end-of-summer streamflow we could scramble right to the bottom of the North Fork Falls.
This trail is relatively new and is in the Siuslaw Nat'l Forest. It drops 750 ft. over it's 2 mile length, which, of course, means it climbs that much coming out, so it offers a bit of a work-out. The trail continues from the falls south but we haven't hiked it yet but have heard it is a good hike.The trail runs mostly through vigorous second growth coastal douglas fir forest, with plenty of western hemlock, red alder and bigleaf maple thrown into the mix. This is ideal habitat for chanterelle mushrooms and we had no trouble finding (but not picking) a few right along the trail. We are lucky in western Oregon that such a delicious mushroom is common in the fall in much of the forests in both the Coast Range and the Cascades. These are growing in the thick forest duff and moss with salal, sorrel and sword ferns, common companions.
It takes a bit of driving to reach this trailhead but it is an interesting ride. There are trail signs at most turns but they tend to be hard to spot. From Hwy 126 west of Walton turn south on Whittaker Crk Rd. Follow this road for 1.5 mi. then cross the Siuslaw River on the right and continue up the road for another 1.5 mi. Then turn left on the Dunn Ridge Rd and follow this up the flanks of Roman Nose Mt. Eventually you reach various viewpoints along the ridgline before dropping down into the Smith River drainage. The road enters Siuslaw Nat'l Forest land and you turn right at the juncture with FS 919 and continue 2.6 miles to the trail head. This is a year-around hiker only trail, but expect mud if you hike it in the winter. The falls are pretty during the low flow seasons but are truly impressive during the winter rains. Photos taken 10/6/96.
Little Cultus Lake is another of the beautiful smaller lakes in the Cascade Lakes area between Waldo Lk. and Crane Prairie Res. in the Deshutes Nat'l Forest. At about 4600' elevation this mile long lake lies just south of 6759' Cultus Butte, which provides a scenic background. This is a nice lake to explore by canoe. Like many Cascade lakes that lie in an east/west direction the winds can really blow strong in the afternoon. Get out early for the best views and calm, clear water. From the west end of the lake 6893' Irish Mtn. is visible in the distance. Some lakes, like Waldo and Summit, are fairy sterile because the water that flows or falls into them is devoid of nutrients. Little Cultus Lake has small streams and seeps as it's water source and they bring in a lot of nutrients. The lake supports a diverse array of aquatic vegetation and we show three in this 93K photo. From left to right Buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata),a variety of Arnica (Arnica sp.) and Floating Pondweed (Potamogeton sp.). These photos taken in August '97.
There is a Forest Service campground at the east end of the lake, and several primitive sites along the road. This is a good base camp for other explorations. A nice hike is the Deer Lake Trail #6, which starts at the NE end of LCL. It's an easy 2.5 mi. into Deer lake, a nice spot for a picknick and a swim, if the mosquitos allow. Deer Lake can also be reached by vehicle on a primitive road so you can expect to find others camping here. If you continue on the trail a short distance you reach a junction with Many Lakes Trail #15 on the left and Cultus Lk. Trail #16 on the right. We make a nice mt. biking loop by continuing on the Cultus Lk. Trail (the Many Lks. Tr. is in the wilderness, so bikes shouldn't go that way), around the north side of Cultus Lk. and eventually out onto gravel roads that take you back to LCL. This is about a 12 mi. loop that offers nice access to the shoreline of Cultus Lk. Cultus Lk. is fairy large (2 3/4 x 1/2 mi.), and lies just to the north of Cultus Butte. This is a popular lake with heavy use by motor boats and jet skis, and a FS boat-in campground on the west end. There are large FS campgrounds and a lodge/resort at the east end. You can't expect peace and quiet but the lake is still quite beautiful with very clear and colorful water. Another mt. bike option is Cultus Butte, up an abandoned look-out road that is now a trail. This is a grueling +2000' climb but you are rewarded by incredible views from the top. This was an old fire look-out location and the top of the butte is bare rock so you get a good 360 degree view. Plus a fun glide down.
You reach LCL off the Cascade Lks Highway 46. Just north of Crane Prairie turn NW on FS 4635, the Cultus Lk. Rd. Follow 4635 for about 1/2 mi. then turn left (SW) on FS4630 and drive about 3 mi. to LCL campground. These gravel roads are usually heavily washboarded but are well signed. If you really want abuse LCL can be reached from N. Waldo, on the Irish and Taylor Rd. a long and very rugged trip.
The Long Tom River is a coast range foothills tributary of
the Willamette River and most people think of it as a muddy slow
moving stream that was dammed up to form Fern Ridge Res. This
private trail off of Poodle Creek Road shows you another side
to this river. The upper portion of this river flows clear and
clean under a cooling canopy of low elevation riparian forest.
Giant big leaf maples, oregon white ash and red alder line the
shoreline. Occasional pacific yews, some quite ancient, can be
found, and everywhere there are sword ferns, vine maples and other
lush understory plants. On a hot summer's day there is nothing
like a hike to the river for a cooling wade in the water.
View of the upper Long Tom River
Maiden Peak Trail No. 3681 is found in the Willamette Nat'l
Forest off the Gold Lk. Rd No. 500 , north off of HWY 58 just
west off Willamette Pass. The trailhead takes off just before
the Gold Lk campground. This is a challenging hike that gains
3000 ft in 6 miles. Maiden Pk. tops out at 7818 ft. and the views
from on top are stunning. Numerous lakes and mountains are visible
in all directions. This photo was taken in September of '95 on
a day when a storm front was moving in so it doesn't do justice
to the view.
View to the south, 21.9 K
Mt. June, a 4616' peak SE of Eugene/Springfield, is a popular hiking destination. It offers a 360 degree panorama view from it's rocky summit, with views from Mt. Hood to Diamond Peak. Many people hike the Mt. June Trail No. 1400 from it's trailhead on FS 1721 of FS 17 (Layng Creek Rd.) in the Umpqua Nat'l Forest. This is a fairly short hike but gets you to the summit quickly. We prefer to start at the Lost Creek Trail No. 3462 and make a real hike of it. The Lost Creek Trail takes you through forests in various stages life, from regrowing clear-cuts to stands of giant old growth Douglas Fir with an emerging understory of climax forest Western Hemlocks. This area offers some interesting undergrowth. Numerous saprophitic plants, like coralroot and pinesap, are common here in spring and summer. During the wet season an amazing variety of fungi can be observed, with different varieties found in different forest types/ages. A steady 2.5 mi. climb gets you to the intersection with the Sawtooth Trail No.1403 on the left and the Mt.June Trail on the right. Go right and hike about 2 mi. to the summit. Along the way you will intersect the trail from the Mt. June Trailhead. Continue left up the summit trail. From here it is a steep .75 mi. climb to the top. The eroded rock out-crops near and at the summit offer a nice variety of wildflowers in the spring, incuding this Rough Wallflower Erysimum aspera with red Indian Paintbrush beside and purple Penstemon in the background. After you have enjoyed the view at the summit you can explore a side trail off the main trail that takes you to a view of the acending rocky ridge that rises from the SE. These photos taken 6/14/97. This is a good three season trail and sometimes can be done in the middle of winter if the snowfall level is high enough. Spring and fall are our favorite times to enjoy this outing. Total elevation gain if you start at Lost Creek Trail is about 2200 ft.
Directions: East on HWY 58 for 7.5 from the Lowell junction. Turn south (right) on FS 5833, the Goodman Creek road, for 4.9 mi., then right at the junction with FS5833-509. Drive .& mi. to the junction with FS5833-511. Turn left and drive 1.5 mi. to the trailhead, which is on the left. It is not currently well marked and there are actually two trailheads, the one on the left being a side route of the Goodman Creek Trail.
The Tam McArthur Rim is an impressive geological feature overlooking Three Creeks Lake south of Sisters. It is in the Deschutes Nat'l Forest and the rim trail leads into the Three Sisters Wilderness. Starting at 6300 ft. elevation at the outlet of the lake the trail climbs, following the crest of the rim to a height of 7800 ft. From dramatic rock cliffs you can look below to the north at Three Creeks Lake, or slightly west to Little Three Creeks Lake, or west to Broken Top and the Three Sisters, or south to Bachelor Butte. On a very clear day you can see as far as Mt.Hood. It is, in short, one of the finest viewpoints in the state. A lot of other hikers know this, so don't expect to be alone. The trail continues on to the base of Broken Top, a jagged remnant of a mountain top eroded by glaciers.
The trail starts out in lodgepole pine forest, but as you gain elevation mountain hemlock becomes the dominant species. Eventually, as you reach the ridgeline, whitebark pine becomes prevalent. These are amazing timberline trees that exist in the most rugged of environments, generally above 7000 ft in the Cascades. They assume contorted and twisted forms, often in closely knit stands. Trees that have died may remain standing for years, and some trees that appear to be dead may show life in one remaining limb. At the very top of the rim these trees form dwarf forests, mature trees reaching only 6-10 ft when fully grown. This area is covered by snow much of the year, and even in mid-August the trail leads over banks of snow. This is, however, dry and dusty country, so carry adequate drinking water. The pumice/ash soils in the area are host to a suprising array of wildflowers, varius forms of lupine being the most common.
Three Creeks Lake is reached by driving south from the center
of Sisters off of Hwy 20 on the Three Creeks Lake Rd., FS 16.
It is a steady 13 mi. climb to the lake basin and the trailhead
is well marked. The lake itself is very popular and has two FS
campgrounds on it's shore as well as a small store and boat rental.
Sandy beaches circle the lake and even with the cold water many
enjoy swimming and playing on the beach. It is a wonderful family
camping spot although finding a vacant campsite can be a problem.
These photos taken 8/24/96.
View of the rim and lake, 22K
Stand of whitebark pines, 29K
View of the rim from the lake taken 8/25/96.
The Twins are the next major peak north of Maiden Peak and
are only slightly lower in height at 7362 ft. The Twins Trail
No. 3595 is reached off Waldo Lake Rd. just north of the Bobby
Lk. trailhead, see directions above. It is about 3.5 mi. to the
top and the views are well worth the effort. Waldo Lk. lies to
the west; Mt. Jefferson,Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, the
Three Sisters and Broken Top to the north; Diamond Pk. to the
southwest. The volcanic rock formations and in particular the
vivid coloration of the lava rocks at the summit are extremely
interesting and beautiful. These photos were taken 8/11/96.
View of Waldo Lk
The west most peak with the Three Sisters in the distance.
View of the east most peak
Charlton Lk. in the foreground, Charlton Butte just behind.
Since we took these photos there have been major forest fires, especially in the area around Charlton Butte, so these vistas have no doubt changed.