Showing posts from 2013

Waldo Lake Wilderness: Shale Ridge Trail

Forest Road 19 runs between Highway 126 and Highway 58, providing access to some of the most incredible old growth Douglas-fir forest left in Oregon. Leaving from the northern end of Forest Road 19 are the French Pete trail and Rebel Rock Loop. Both of those hikes lead you around the incredible McKenzie River watershed, but the Shale Ridge trail meanders along the North Fork of the Middle Fork Willamette.
Given the name of the Shale Ridge trail, one would except to be hiking along a ridge, or at least some shale, but for the first 2.5 miles it's nearly flat and leads through some incredible forest. There are towering Douglas-fir, western redcedar and western hemlock, while understory vine maple provide some good fall color. As you make your way down the trail you can hear the North Fork Middle Fork Willamette, but won't see the river until crossing it near 2.5 miles in. Just before reaching the river there are some exceptional western redcedars and a small camp.

The river co…

Crescent Mountain Trail to Shedd Shelter

During the summer of 2012 I spent a considerable amount of time hiking in the Sweet Home Ranger District. It seems that many people skip over the incredible Old Cascades in favor of the larger and more dramatic Cascades. My hike to the summit of Crescent Mountain was covered in a post last year, so I won't focus very much of that section of the hike. My friend Edward and I wanted to check out a portion of the Old Cascades Crest Trail system which runs around a very large primarily roadless area that lies west of Highway 22 and north of Highway 20. Our planned route was to take the Crescent Mountain Trail to the South Pyramid Trail which would lead us down to the Middle Santiam River and the Shedd Shelter.

Though not necessary for the hike the short trail to the summit of Crescent Mountain is a must. After taking in the views of all central Oregon Cascades the trail north becomes much more overgrown as it steeply descends the northern flank of Crescent Mountain. Towards the end o…

Ochoco Mountain Trail: Cottonwood Creek to Boeing Field Trailhead

Knowing that we would be climbing around 1,800 feet over about three miles we set a fairly slow pace out from Cottonwood Creek. At first the trail was easy to find as it went from steep to flat over a series of benches that were covered in large ponderosa pine. Route finding on this section of trail wasn't particularly bad, but there was a section where young Douglas-fir has encroached. Also be mindful of switchbacks, often game trails continue straight when the hiking trail does not. As you near the Cottonwood Creek trailhead the trail becomes incredibility steep, thankfully this section only lasts about 1 mile. Once we hit the Cottonwood Creek trailhead we took a well needed break. There was a couple of interesting historical signs at this well marked trailhead.

After crossing FR 38 we began our decent into the Black Canyon Wilderness. The Payten trail once ran to an old homestead as mentioned above, but that route had run through private land for many years without a proper r…

Ochoco Mountain Trail: Rock Creek to Cottonwood Creek

Recently a few friends and I made the drive out to backpack on the Rock Creek Trail. When we arrived at the trailhead there was a map posted that showed a trail I had never heard of, the Ochoco Mountain Trail. The mileage wasn't listed and I wasn't sure what the terrain would be like, but it sparked my interest. Fast forward a few weeks, two of were back at the Rock Creek Trailhead to hike the 42 mile loop.

After a short first day we made it to the campsite that we had used on our out and back hike of the Rock Creek Trail. We planned to hike anywhere from 15-20 miles per day, but didn't really have any particular site in mind for the next campsite. So we set out early towards Spanish Peak. After missing the junction with the Rim Trail we ended up walking along the Waterman Ditch for an extra mile before stopping for a map check. This set us back slightly, but wasn't a huge deal. Keep in mind that if you have hit the campsite in the saddle you need to backtrack to fin…