Fall Creek Watershed: Jones Trail
|Fall Creek near Bedrock Campground|
|The southern start of Jones Trail|
|Large Douglas-fir along Jones Trail|
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 burned was left to recover naturally. These kinds of forest provide a different and more biologically varied hike. I'm always surprised what kind of tree species pop up after an area has been burned.
|Golden chinkapin along the Jones Trail|
|Fallen Douglas-fir next to some fire scared Douglas-fir|
|Douglas-fir that are growing rapidly in a severely burned area along the Jones Trail|
Prior to the Clark fire this trail would have mostly been a 'green tunnel' though a primarily Douglas-fir forest. But the fire has opened up many great views to in every direction. It surprised me that after less than a mile you can't see or hear Big Fall Creek Road(FR 18). It's also awesome that you can't see any other roads, this area would be a great 'pocket' wilderness. The trail is primarily uphill, but as you make your way along the ridge high above Bedrock Creek you will descend a few times. There are no water sources along the trail at least to the 4.25 mile mark, so bring a few bottles!
|Still living but slightly burned Douglas-fir|
|View west to the other side of Bedrock Creek|
|Mostly even-age stand of Douglas-fir, but they missed any real fire damage|
|Looking east along the Jones Trail|
|Looking west along the Jones Trail|
For better or worse after about 4 miles I ended up taking a short nap that turned into two hours. So my turn around point was somewhat random, but it did have great views in every direction! The total length of the trail is nearly 12 miles, half of which will be uphill so plan accordingly.
Directions from Fall Creek: Follow Jasper-Lowell road for 2.4 miles, turn left onto Reuban Leigh road, follow for 1.2 miles, turn left onto Big Fall Creek road, follow for 13.3 miles, Bedrock CG is on the left, or continue for 100 yards to a parking area with a restroom on the right.
Hike Distance: 8.5 miles according to my Garmin 550 (trail is 5.8 miles one way)
Hike Type: Out and back
Elevation Gain: 2000 Feet
Trailhead Elevation: 1200 Feet
Highest Point: The north end of the trail
Usage: Light to moderate depending on season
Difficulty: 3 out of 5, because of elevation gain