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Showing posts from February, 2014

Old-Growth and a Green River: Little North Santiam River Trail

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Recently my quest to find great lower elevation trails took some friends and I to the Opal Creek area.  We decided to check out the Little North Santiam River Trail. Upon arriving at the trailhead there were already two cars and a third pulled in, my friends were questioning my judgement about the trail. Thankfully we ended up only seeing four other people including an awesome older couple who were scouting the trail for a Sierra Club outing. The trail itself has some deceptively steep sections and is relatively rocky.


The trail starts out in a very unimpressive monoculture of Douglas-fir, but quickly transitions into a fairly open older forest. Plantations like this next to old-growth is always a stark reminder of how much of our native forest that we have lost. There is a small waterfall that you will pass early on and as you climb there is a large waterfall, but the view is mostly obstructed by forest. 
While ascending you will notice that the vegetation changes slightly and ther…

Fall Creek Watershed: Jones Trail

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There are few areas that I love more than the Fall Creek Watershed. I've spent many days hiking and swimming around this area going back about 15 years. Though until recently most of my hiking was done on different sections of the Fall Creek National Recreation Trail (NRT) and nearby user-made trails. About two weeks ago I had the opportunity to hike Jones Trail. There is no real trailhead on the south side of Jones Trail, so you must park at the Bedrock Campground and hike a short portion of the Fall Creek NRT.


 If you hike this trail before Bedrock Campground opens there is a small parking area with a restroom about 100 yards east of the campground entrance. The Fall Creek NRT section is nearly all switchbacks getting you to the trail junction with the Jones Trail. It's a beautiful climb in a rapidly recovering forest that was burned lightly burned in the 2003 Clark fire. Because public pressure after the long tree-sit in the area, most of the area that the Clark fire burne…

Redwood Coast Hike: Damnation Creek

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Damnation Creek trail is a special place along the Redwood Coast of northern California. The trail starts at the relatively high elevation of 942 feet and leads you, sometimes steeply towards an incredible rocky beach. 

As you descend you will cross an old section of Highway 101(now a section of the Coastal Trail) and shortly after the forest will shift from primarily old-growth Coast redwoods to a mix of Douglas-fir and Sitka spruce. This change of forest is pretty unique along trails in Redwood State and National Parks. Often you will either be in old-growth Coast redwood or in a near shore mixed Sitka spruce forest, with no way to link the two like Damnation Creek Trail does.

After crossing two bridges you will start to realize that you are quickly coming to the ocean as the trail flattens out. This section is home to some very interesting and large Sitka spruce that are worth checking out. But for me the best part of the trail is the absolutely incredible beach that seems to be s…