Top Five Spring Hikes in Western Oregon

This has been the winter that won't seem to end. With fresh snow falling in the Cascades this week it likely take well into July for the snow to melt off trails above 5,000 feet. So if you're wanting to get out and enjoy the warm weather coming this weekend and next week check out these hikes.

5) Henline Falls

Located in the exceptional Opal Creek Wilderness, this short trail passive by relics from bygone mines and ends at a beautiful waterfall near a mine shaft. Rumor has it there are several other waterfalls to be explored upstream. Directions, additional photos, and GPS tracks can be found here. After being closed for the majority of 2015 because of fire damage the trail has been reopened by the outstanding Santiam River Zone Trail Crew.

4) Silver Falls State Park: Trail of Ten Falls

Silver Falls State Park is the crown jewel of Oregon's park system. The most famous of trails is the Trail of Ten Falls, which frequently results in quite busy trails. Thankfully if you …

Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness: Muir Creek Loop

The Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness is a short 10 miles directly west of Crater Lake, but is a world away from the crowds that descend upon Oregon's only National Park. The Muir Creek trail follows its namesake for approximately 3.9 miles before it's terminus with the Buck Canyon Trail. As you set out on the Muir Creek trail you will be treated to beautiful views of the meandering stream and perhaps grazing elk. 

After nearly 2.8 miles you will hear Muir Creek Falls to your right. Watch for faint trails through the alder that lead to a few seldom used campsites and a view of Muir Creek Falls. The thick riparian vegetation made photographing the waterfall difficult, but if it was mid-summer instead of mid-October one could easily ford Muir Creek for a better view. 

The waterfall is located on a tributary of Muir Creek known as East Fork Sherwood Creek. It was possibly only because of the drought but upstream of the waterfall Muir Creek was merely a trickle. I was using Bill Sul…

Badger Creek Wilderness Loop: Little Badger Creek and School Canyon Trails

Badger Creek Wilderness is located within a very interesting and strikingly beautiful ecosystem. Near the eastern boundary drought stunted Oregon white oak populate the grasslands, while the western portion is home to western juniper, ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and grand fir. Stunning views east to the 'Oregon Plains' along with beautiful and varied forest make this a great destination for early season backpacking.

After walking along a ridge for about one mile you start to descend towards Little Badger Creek where there is an old mining cabin and a mine shaft. We thought about camping near the old cabin, but because of the stream and dense forest it was fairly chilly. There is also an incredibly steep .7 mile climb that didn't want to start the next day with. If you want to check out the mine walk about .1 mile along the well established trail west from the cabin.

After making our way up the nearly 1000 foot climb in about 7/10 of a mile, we set out for the spring th…

Pickett Canyon: South Fork Crooked River Wilderness Study Area

Found near the geographic center of Oregon, the South Fork Crooked River Wilderness Study Area (WSA) offers high desert beauty and solitude. Currently there are no official trails through the South Fork Crooked River WSA, but cross country travel is relatively easy. I had decided to start my hike at Furnace Waterhole, which was an adventure to reach. A high clearance vehicle is necessary because of the large rocks that you must drive over- you will not be able to make it here in a passenger car. There was also several large and fairly deep puddles that would have stopped a low clearance vehicle. If you don't have a high clearance vehicle available to you, you could park ~3 miles before Furnace Waterhole and walk in. Unfortunately because of the long drive I started hiking down Pickett Canyon about an hour before dark. This canyon was pretty easy to make my way down, but there was some pretty sketchy patches of ice. When I reached the confluence of Pickett Creek and the South For…