Rock Creek Wilderness: No Trail, No Problem


I had been meaning to hike in the Rock Creek Wilderness for a few years, but nearly every time it came to mind it was Winter or Spring and knowing that there was no trail and only a creek to walk up, it would have to wait. Finally it crossed my mine in August to visit this trail-less, often forgotten Rock Creek Wilderness.

The trailhead is at the back of the Rock Creek Campground
There is very little written on the Rock Creek Wilderness, other than the fact that it's a very important. It protects a now  rare ecosystem in Oregon, the native coastal rainforest. The majority of the Coast Range Mountains in Oregon have been logged and logged again over the past 150 years. The fact that any native forests remain is a miracle. Even before you start this hike you will know why the timber barons wanted to cut the native forests along the Oregon Coast. The predominate tree close to the coast is the Sitka Spruce, reaching 9 feet in diameter along Rock Creek. The Rock Creek Wilderness isn't signed, so you have to park at the very small Rock Creek Campground. There is a short trail that leads to an old homestead site, after that follow Elk trails or Rock Creek.

Start of the trail through campsite 15
 There is very limited parking at the campground, so I asked the camp host and he told me it was okay to use the 10-minute parking area. This shouldn't be a problem though, given that very few people venture out here. The Rock Creek Campground is very nice and offers running water and pit-toilets, but 24 dollars a night is pretty expensive to me. If you had some friends or family who wanted to car camp, it would be a perfect place to use as a base camp for long day hikes up Rock Creek. Once I parked and payed the day use fee of 5 dollars, I set out for the trail.

The best tread you will see


Oregon Ensatina
I almost stepped on the little Salamander, but thankfully I looked down at the last second. It just sat there and let me take a few pictures of it.

Digitalis AKA Foxgloves

Large gnarled Picea sitchensis AKA Sitka Spruce

One of the many logjams that you must go over, under or around.

Sadly I couldn't spend more time going upstream, so I only made it about two miles upstream. There was a few good camping spots, though during a rainstorm I wouldn't want to be in this valley at all. Swimming was possible in a few spots on my hike, which was great because it was fairly warm and humid.

Just downstream from a decent swimming hole

Meadow area that was filled with scat from Elk and Deer
Going off trail in the Coast Range mountains is a very difficult and dangerous activity and you should only go if you're competent and confident in your outdoor skills. There are a lot of false bottoms both on the logjams and along the creek. If you're looking for solitude and a challenge definitely check out the Rock Creek Wilderness. I can't wait to hike the length of this wilderness.  



Directions from Florence: Follow Highway 101 for 15 miles, turn right at Rock Creek Campground. Trail begins at campsite 15

Hike Distance: As long as you want, though it's about .7 mile to a decent camping area. 

Hike Type: Out and Back

Elevation Gain: Minimal 

Usage: Light

Difficulty: 4 out of 5

Hike Time: 3 hours to multiple days

Fees: 5 dollars to park at campground



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