Santiam Wagon Road: Mountain House to House Rock Falls
Normally I'm somewhat apprehensive about hiking on old roads, especially ones that run parallel to a modern road. But I also love to hike any longer trails in the area. The full length of the trail portion of the Santiam Wagon Road is approximately 21 miles, running from Fish Lake to Mountain House. Some of the trail is still on drivable road, but thankfully much of it is only open to non-motorized transportation.
|Bridge across the South Santiam River|
|South Santiam River|
|Dense Red alder (Alnus rubra) line the trail|
|Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum) and Red alder (Alnus rubra) leaves cover the Santiam Wagon Road here|
|One of the many small fords on the Santiam Wagon Road|
|Old growth forest along the Santiam Wagon Road|
|Sign to House Rock Falls along the Santiam Wagon Road|
|House Rock Falls along the Santiam Wagon Road|
Not having ever been to House Rock Campground I was definitely impressed by their riverside campsites. It's on my list of car camping spots for this upcoming spring. Though there wasn't a bridge across the South Santiam River one could ford it near the campground with relative ease.
|House Rock Campground from the Santiam Wagon Road|
|House Rock Campground in the background, South Santiam river in the foreground|
House Rock was used by travelers to keep out of the rain. It was a pretty massive rock and there was some dry ground under it, but there was also two small streams running under. Far from being one of four roadhouses along the Santiam Wagon Road, it served it's purpose as emergency shelter.
|Entry to House Rock|
|Two streams run under House Rock|
Sadly the trip back to the trailhead seemed much faster than the walk in. As I was crossing the bridge across the South Santiam river a light rain began to fall, it was a great end to an incredible hike. This would be a great hike to do in reverse after setting up camp at House Rock Campground.
Directions from Sweet Home: Follow Highway 20 east for 25.5 miles, turn right into the small parking area. The turn is just after a gate along Highway 20.
Trailhead Elevation: Approximately 1,424 feet
Hike Distance: 5 miles according to my Garmin Oregon 550 GPS
Hike Type: Out and back with short loop to House Rock/House Rock Falls
Elevation Gain: Approximately 300 feet
Difficulty: 1 out of 5