Crescent Mountain Trail to Shedd Shelter

Campsite at the Summit of Crescent Mountain
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.

Great spot for our first rest high atop Crescent Mountain looking towards Mount Jefferson

As you descend the north slope of Crescent Mountain large noble fir dominate the forest 
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 of your decent to FR 572 you will come to a logging road that passes through a patch of private land, veer slightly right as you cross this road to find the continuation of the trail. After passing through the large clearcut, common thanks to the Oregon Forest Practices Act you will reenter National Forest land and descend until crossing North Fork Park Creek. This area was absolutely loaded with mosquitoes when I hiked this in July.

After crossing FR 572 you will descend rapidly on a trail that boarders on painfully steep at times. The South Pyramid Creek drainage, which you will follow until meeting the Middle Santiam is often incredibly dense older growth Douglas-fir. This dense forest adds to the sense of isolation that this section of trail offers. Unfortunately as you near FR 2047 you will walk through a clearcut that is very close to the banks of South Pyramid Creek. Upon reaching FR 2047 travel north on this road until you see a hiker sign on the left side of the road. This section of trail until reaching the Santiam River was one of my favorite sections of this hike, the beautiful native forest and rumbling of the distant river make it near perfect.
Part of the clearcut near South Pyramid Creek

The trail is FR 2047 for 800'

Sadly because of the close proximity to a road the Shedd Shelter had several families camping nearby, so Edward and I set up on the north bank of the Middle Santiam. There was quite a few good campsites on both sides of the river, but fording could prove difficult when water levels are high.

Edward along the South Pyramid Creek Trail

Middle Santiam River at Shedd Shelter

Middle Santiam at Shedd Shelter
 Though this hike is incredibly beautiful I would probably string it together with the other trails of the Old Cascades Crest Trail System rather than hike it out and back. The near constant up or down was pretty rough for a two day trip, but if you're up for a good workout and some incredible hiking this route is a decent option!

GPS track can be downloaded below if you click on the Everytrail map!

Directions from Sweet Home: Follow Highway 20 east for about 43 miles, turn left on Forest Road 2067, follow for 1 mile turn left onto FR 508. There is a large trailhead sign pointing down FR 508. Follow until the end.

Hike Distance: 28 miles

Hike Type: Out and Back

Elevation Gain:Nearly 5,000 feet

Highest Point: Crescent Mountain 5,750 feet

Usage: Light

Difficulty: 5 out of 5
Fees: None

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