Showing posts from December, 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…