Big Pine Campground

Over the years I have developed a love for trees, the larger the better. I've spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on gas over the last 2 years driving to the Redwood Coast. Though Coast Redwoods are the tallest tree there are some very impressive ponderosa pines in Oregon.




After coming across Mario Vaden's webpage  about the largest of all Pines, which I had previously thought was a Sugar Pine, turned out to be a Ponderosa near Big Pine Campground in the Siskiyou National Forest, I felt like I needed to check the area out.

The drive to the Big Pine campground was awesome. Most people will take I-5 and get off at the Merlin exit. If you haven't been on the Rogue River before, definitely stop at the Hellsgate overlook. Also Merlin is the last town before you cut off on Forest Road( FR) 25. They have a market there for your last minute needs.





As we set out on Galice road a feeling of happiness came over me, I hadn't been back on the Rogue River since last winter when I hiked the Rogue River trail. It made me realize how much I love and miss this area. Shortly after turning on FR 25 the road narrows and the climb begins. After 12.4 miles of this awesome drive you will arrive at Big Pine Campground, there is a large sign, so even at night you could easily find it.



Upon entry of the campground my excitement had faded a little because of the large amount of garbage strewn around. My girlfriend and I decided to hike around the trails near the campground, including the 'Big Tree Loop' and then take care of all the trash. I'm an advocate of both shooting guns and drinking beer, but there is absolutely no reason an area should look like this. Pick up your trash and any trash you find, it's easy.


The ecosystem around Big Pine CG is not one I have experienced very much, it's somewhat odd to find massive Ponderosa Pines and massive Douglas Firs together. Because of the recent heavy rains and snow, the CG was pretty soggy. So we looked around for the least wet campsite; we settled on site 11. Then we grabbed our daypacks and started to wander. 

Campsite 11

Because of the time crunch I didn't plan any substantial hikes, just some walking near the CG. We first decided to walk the Big Pine Loop. There was interpretive signs, but there were in bad shape, from what seemed to be years of abuse. What was known as the largest pine in the world has a plaque and a walk way built around it. Definitely an impressive tree.



We then decided to hike the 'Challenge Loop'... it didn't live up to it's name, but we did take a wrong turn and came to a beautiful creek with a small waterfall. You can get there by taking the Challenge Loop and just keep right at all junctions. It's about a mile down to the stream from the main trail. 


Beautiful very cold stream


This place is definitely top 5 on my campgrounds in Oregon list.  The massive trees and rushing stream near the campground made it a very peaceful place. We had it to ourselves, but we also came mid-week and off season. Judging from the trash I bet it gets pretty busy during summer weekends. There are also many other longer hikes it the area, I'll be back to hike those later this Spring. 

View from Campsite 11










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