Fall Larch Hike in the Badger Creek Wilderness

Sunday, October 21, 2018

In the fall larch trees turn a brilliant golden color and it’s quite a sight. Unfortunately larches aren’t common in the Oregon Cascades. There are some, however, on the east side of the Mt. Hood National Forest in and around the Badger Creek Wilderness. So on this gorgeous fall day Greg and I drove over there do a hike along the Fret Creek Trail and Divide Trail with Flag Point as our destination. It was a spectacular drive with beautiful fall color along the road including the larches we had come to see:

Larches

We parked on road 2730 near the Fifteenmile Campground and started up the Fret Creek Trail:

Fret Creek Trail

Many of the huckleberries had already dropped their leaves, but not all:

Fall color
After a steep 2.1 mile climb we hit the Divide Trail and turned left heading east. We got a view of Lookout Mountain to the west (if we had turned right on the Divide Trail we would eventually end up there):

Lookout Mountain

Soon we got our first view of Flag Point and its 41′ lookout tower:

Flag Point

We continued on the Divide Trail:

Meadow

The larches against the blue sky looked beautiful:

Larches

Larches

The trail began descending:

Larches

After 3.7 miles the trail reached Road 200, the access road for the lookout, and turned right. Yes, you can drive this road, which we have done before, but it’s very rough. Much nicer to hike. We reached the gate that keeps people from driving all the way to the lookout and hiked past:

Flag Point gate

More beautiful larches:

Larches

Sunlit larches

At 12:45, after 4.4 miles, we reached the lookout:

Flag Point Lookout

Flag Point Lookout

The lookout was unstaffed which meant that the hatch to access the catwalk was locked. But we were able to sit on the stairs below the catwalk and enjoy the spectacular view of Mt. Hood with the golden larches peppered throughout the forest below us:

Mt. Hood View

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

We could also see Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams, although haze prevented a clear view of them:

View from Flag Point

And we could see east to the dry side of the mountains:

View from Flag Point

View from Flag Point

We had the place almost entirely to ourselves. A man and woman hiked up from some point down the road where they had parked. Some cyclists also stopped by and said that friends had come here yesterday and reported that the lookout was staffed and the guy fed them pancakes! It must have been his last day.

The temperature was perfect with just the right amount of warmth. The view was amazing. After spending nearly two hours sitting there soaking it all up we finally tore ourselves away at 2:30 and started heading back. After climbing up the Divide Trail regaining the elevation we had lost, we stopped and turned around for a last view of the lookout:

Flag Point

Our total for the day: 8.8 miles, 1700′ elevation gain. This is definitely now one of my all-time favorite autumn hikes. Even though there is some road-hiking involved and even though there is elevation to gain in both directions, the larches in their fall splendor is a sight to behold. Getting views from the lookout on a clear day is icing on the cake. Gorgeous!

FlagPointTrack

Boulder Lake and Bonney Butte

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Because I had to work on Saturday I had today off and it fortunately turned out to be a beautiful day for a hike. So I headed up to the Boulder Lake Trailhead to do the Boulder Lake loop with a side trip to Bonney Butte.

I set off up the trail and quickly passed Spinning Lake:

Spinning Lake

Then I reached Boulder Lake, which is a very popular place to camp, but which was nice and quiet today:

Boulder Lake

I turned south and soon passed Little Boulder Lake:

Little Boulder Lake

After Little Boulder Lake a bit of road-walking on Road 123 is required. I saw some very nice fall color:

Fall color

Fall color

Fall color

Fall color

Fall color

I even saw a few larches, which aren’t that common around here:

Fall color

Fall color

I picked up the Forest Creek Trail and headed north:

Forest Creek Trail

There’s a spot where you can looking down on Boulder Lake. That’s Grasshopper Point beyond:

Boulder Lake

There were a few larches down there turning color:

Larches

Further along is another viewpoint called Echo Point. That’s Badger Butte, right of center:

Badger Butte

Then I reached Bonney Meadows where I had a view of the top of Mt. Hood:

Mt. Hood

I walked through Bonney Meadows Campground:

Bonney Meadows Campground

Then I turned north on Road 4891 until I reached the old gated spur road up to Bonney Butte and turned left. (People can, and do, drive 4891 but it’s unmaintained and ROUGH.) Just before reaching the summit I got a view of Mt. Jefferson to the south:

Mt. Jefferson

From the top there are great views of Mt. Hood:

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

Fall color down along the White River:

White River

Every fall HawkWatch International has people stationed up here during the raptor migration to count and band birds. They have a board where you can see what they’ve done so far this year:

Raptor count

After lingering on the summit for awhile I hiked back down. View of Bonney Meadows:

Bonney Meadows

I retraced my steps back to the campground and picked up the Boulder Lake Trail, which descends in a loop back down to Boulder Lake. More fall color:

Boulder Lake Trail

Back at Boulder Lake:

Boulder Lake

This tree along road 4880 near the trailhead looked brilliant!

Fall color

This turned out to be a really awesome fall hike. I had hiked here before, but that was in summer. Total for the day: 9.1 miles, 1300′ elevation gain.

Burnt Lake and East Zigzag

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The forecast today was favorable, so Greg and I decided to hike to Burnt Lake and East Zigzag. It took us just two hours to reach Burnt Lake from the trailhead. I was pleasantly surprised to find the lake calm, beautifully reflecting Mt. Hood:

Burnt Lake

Burnt Lake

After stopping for a lake break we continued on the trail, heading towards East Zigzag. The final push to the top:

East Zigzag

This stretch before the summit is actually the best place for views:

View from East Zigzag

The rocky summit used to have clear 360-degree views back in the lookout days, but the trees have grown up now:

View from East Zigzag

View from East Zigzag

East Zigzag

We got a peek at Mt. Adams:

View from East Zigzag

Looking northwest:

View from East Zigzag

Mt. Jefferson:

Mt. Jefferson

View to the south:

East Zigzag

All that’s left of the lookout that once stood here is a few pieces of melted glass from when they burned it in the 1960s:

024 Destruction of East Zigzag fire lookout, Mt Hood NF

We stopped for photo on the way back down:

View from East Zigzag

Greg got stung by a yellow jacket just as we reached the lake on the way back, so while he tended to his wound I went on litter patrol around the campsites. The sites themselves were surprisingly clean, but there was a heck of a lot of toilet paper in the trees behind the sites. I picked it up (wearing a glove) and bagged it for the hike out. While I was over on that side of the lake I got a photo of East Zigzag above the lake:

Burnt lake

A 10-mile day with beautiful weather!

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Sunday, August 26, 2018

While staying at Gold Butte Lookout, Greg and I had wanted to hike up Battle Ax Mountain. But it was far too cloudy, so we opted for a forest hike instead. We drove to Elk Lake and set off down the Elk Lake Creek Trail into the Bull of the Woods Wilderness. I’ve never seen such a plain wilderness boundary sign before:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

It had rained the night before:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

We were pleasantly surprised to discover we had hit peak huckleberry ripeness. There were THOUSANDS of them:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Elk Lake Creek Trail

We were hiking through a nice old forest with big tall trees. Love it!

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Elk Lake Creek Trail

There were a number of downed trees we had to detour around, under, over:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Elk Lake Creek Trail

At the point where we crossed a section boundary we saw this old sign on a tree:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Still in the trees:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Old withered candy stick:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

The trail started losing elevation as it descended towards creek level:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Crossed an old bridge:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

I don’t think this boardwalk has been maintained in a LONG time:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

And then we arrived at the junction with the Mother Lode Trail. This is a big open area that is clearly very popular with backpackers:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Elk Lake Creek Trail

The Battle Creek Shelter once stood here somewhere, but collapsed from heavy snow several decades ago. In 100 Oregon Hiking Trails (1969) it says “The three-sided shelter is well-preserved and has a concrete fire pit and a steel grate.” I could find absolutely no sign of the old shelter. No bits of lumber and no remnants of the concrete fire pit. It is thoroughly gone.

We sat and enjoyed a snack and listened to the sound of nearby Elk Lake Creek:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

Elk Lake Creek Trail

The trail keeps going to another trailhead on Road 6380 but we weren’t going that far. We headed back and on the way I spotted an old phone line insulator up in a tree. Lookouts and guard stations were connected by phone line in the pre-radio days. These insulators were put in trees and the phone line strung between them:

Elk Lake Creek Trail

It was 8.5 miles when we were all done. It was cold and cloudy at Elk Lake when we got back. Time to return to our warm lookout!

Elk Lake

Paradise Park

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Greg and I decided to hike to Paradise Park today.

Paradise Park

I was camped up at Mt. Hood and Greg drove up this morning to join me at Timberline Lodge. Even at the early hour of 7:30am it was already pretty warm. Here is Mt. Hood from the parking lot:

Paradise Park Hike

Hiking up to the TImberline Trail:

Paradise Park Hike

We had a nice view of Mt. Jefferson beyond Timberline Lodge on this clear day:

Paradise Park Hike

We didn’t see many people on the trail and it was nice and quiet:

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

We reached the rim of Zigzag Canyon and peered in before making the long descent to the bottom:

Paradise Park Hike

We saw some nice wildflowers along the way as we switchbacked down to the river:

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

We’ve reached the bottom! Now we have to climb back out again:

Paradise Park Hike

Mt. Jefferson again:

Paradise Park Hike

Look at all that beargrass!

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park Hike

Paradise Park

In the distance, clouds were starting to build up around Mt. Jefferson:

Paradise Park Hike

These meadows will be full of lupine in a week or two. We were too early:

Paradise Park Hike

The western pasque flower was just getting started:

Paradise Park

Paradise Park

Paradise Park

We sat down by Lost Creek and boy did it feel nice there. The day was getting quite hot:

Paradise Park

An American Dipper kept us company:

Paradise Park Hike

This is such a lovely spot (except for the biting flies):

Paradise Park

Paradise Park

After hanging out by the creek for a few hours, we finally started hiking back. We could see the clouds spreading out and getting closer:

Paradise Park

Good and cloudy now:

Paradise Park Hike

A lot of trees fell last winter. We saw evidence of recent work to get them cleared and most have been taken care of, but these hadn’t yet been dealt with. This was between Zigzag Canyon and the Paradise Park loop:

Paradise Park Hike

Descending into Zigzag Canyon:

Paradise Park Hike

Crossing the Zigzag:

Paradise Park Hike

At the top of the canyon:

Paradise Park Hike

Once you climb out of Zigzag Canyon you still have more than two miles and several hundred feet of elevation to gain before reaching the lodge. It was a long uphill trudge in the heat:

Paradise Park Hike

The Little Zigzag River had been dry in the morning, but was now flowing. It was very silty:

Paradise Park Hike

We’re back!

Paradise Park Hike

We knew the lodge would be crawling with tourists so we went to Mt. Hood Brewing in Government Camp instead:

Mt. Hood Brewing

It was a long hot day, 10.5+ miles and 2400′ elevation gain. But beautiful! I’m cherishing these beautiful blue skies because any day now wildfires will fill the sky with smoke and haze for the rest of summer.

Bald Mountain

Saturday, July 14, 2018

We had a heat wave this weekend with sweltering temperatures. Wanting to escape the heat I headed up to Mt. Hood where it was cooler and I set up camp for the weekend. Even up there it got hot during the day so I did a fairly easy hike on Saturday. After breakfast Saturday morning I drove up to Lolo Pass and hiked the PCT southbound toward Bald Mountain (hike description). The trail is in the trees, but I was fine with that because the shade felt great.

PCT

PCT

At 1.7 miles there’s an opening in the trees and boom! Great view of Mt. Hood! That little white smudge at lower right is the very busy and crowded Top Spur Trailhead where people start their hike to McNeil Point. Bald Mountain – my destination, is the foreground bump at right:

PCT

I passed the junction with the Top Spur Trail and then came to the four-way junction and the wilderness boundary:

PCT

Shortly after that is an obvious but unmarked side trail to the left. This is the spur trail to the top of Bald Mountain:

Bald Mountain

The trail is well-trod and easy to follow:

Bald Mountain Trail

There was a fire lookout up here in the 1930s (read more about that here). All the evidence that remains are a few chunks of concrete:

Bald Mountain

There’s a nice flat spot to camp up here. No water, of course, but man, what great place to watch the alpenglow on Mt. Hood at the end of the day! I was surprised that I didn’t find a trash-filled fire ring here:

Bald Mountain

There was a nice batch of columbine in bloom:

Columbine

I got up there around noon and with plenty of time to kill I sat down in the shade with my book and read for a few hours. It was quite pleasant. About 15 hikers came and went during that time. I departed at 2:30 at which time the light was much better for photography. What a view!

Mt. Hood

I got a peek at Mt. Adams through the trees as I hiked back:

Mt. Adams

On the hike back I got another nice view from that gap in the trees. That long ridge out there is Zigzag Mountain:

Zigzag Mountain

And nice afternoon light on Mt. Hood:

Mt. Hood

It was a little too early for dinner when I got back, and it was HOT, so I hung out by Lost Creek for awhile with my book. It was nice and cool there.

Lost Creek

Evening at the campsite wasn’t very pleasant as my inconsiderate neighbors turned on their music for everyone to hear. I retreated to my tent with my earbuds in and listened to classical music to drown their music out. I really would have rather listened to the birds, though.

Tomorrow: Paradise Park!

Bennett Pass Snowshoeing

On December 9 I went showshoeing up at Mt. Hood. I parked at the Bennett Pass Sno-Park where I got a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood on this beautiful sunny day.

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood

I started down Bennett Pass Road (also known as Road 3550).

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

Saw some really cool hoarfrost:

Hoar frost

Hoar frost

Hoar frost

Hoar frost

Hoar frost

Snowshoeing

There really wasn’t much snow on the ground and I saw plenty of bare patches:

Snowshoeing

I decided to do some exploring, so at the one-mile mark when I reached a junction I turned right and went another 0.9mi to the end of Road 222.

Snowshoeing

Not a whole lot to see on this road, except two spots with glimpses of Mt. Hood through the trees:

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

Then I explored down Road 220. No views along this spur and it dead-ends after 0.8mi.

Snowshoeing

Back on Bennett Pass Road I continued on.

Snowshoeing

1.25 miles from the sno-park there is a spur to the left which I did not explore, although I think there is a view to be had there. Staying on Bennett Pass Road 1.8 miles from the sno-park will get you this magnificent view:

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

After enjoying the view for awhile I headed back to the car. Before driving home I got this parting view of Mt. Hood from the parking lot.

Snowshoeing

A fantastic day of beautiful weather and great views!

Bennett Pass Track

Salmon Butte

With sunny weather in the forecast Greg and I talked about doing the Rimrock Trail to Mt. Mitchell. Greg spent the morning waffling on whether or not he wanted to go. By the time I figured out that he wanted to stay home and just wasn’t saying so, it was already 10am. I couldn’t do Rimrock by myself (IMHO the Clackamas Ranger District is not a safe place for a woman to hike alone) so I decided to do another hike on my bucket list: Salmon Butte.

37430490061_942c6a1677_c.jpg

In 2010 the Forest Service decommissioned Road 2816 starting from a point just after it crosses the Salmon River. Unfortunately this added 2.5 miles onto the hike and an additional 800 feet of elevation gain. Here is the new trailhead:

23558292998_34d5d9aa9d_c.jpg

The trail crosses a bridge over the South Fork Salmon River:

23558286468_6679dd0cb2_c.jpg

23558289528_5782e10481_c.jpg

Then it was a climb up the decommissioned road. I was surprised at how trail-like this stretch felt. They removed the culverts, and the vegetation has really grown in, so it didn’t feel like a road at all.

23558281108_fb97f9954e_c.jpg

Finally I reached the spot where the old trailhead used to be, although you would never know it now. The alders are growing in thick:

37153135620_5358882a77_c.jpg

There isn’t much to see on this hike. It’s just a long hike through the forest. The trail was in great shape, though. Well-graded with very little blowdown. I had my earbuds in listening to the Dirtbag Diaries podcast and was able to keep a steady uphill pace.

37153129500_86f74d73de_c.jpg

23558261718_812b2091d8_c.jpg

37153123670_fb2836afd7_c.jpg

23558256688_e800cd8ce1_c.jpg

About halfway to the top is an opening in the trees where you can see across to Salmon Mountain (not to be confused with Salmon Butte).

37362909826_75727d5c8a_c.jpg

And you can just barely see Salmon Butte poking up above the trees:

37173727300_c7698422ca_c.jpg

There were several trees that had old telephone line hanging from them, a remnant from the lookout days.

37362902926_7626eb75d4_c.jpg

Besides a couple of golden-mantled ground squirrels (see video below for footage of them) the only wildlife I saw all day was a gray jay:

23558274488_67a11956dc_c.jpg

Spotted some flagging noting that I reached 4,000′. My GPS agreed.

36760343493_7de2662ddf_c.jpg

Still climbing:

36760341793_c523456ac8_c.jpg

With less than a mile to go before the summit, I got a peek through the trees at Mt. Hood. What’s this? Clouds? Not what I was expecting, considering that on the drive up Highway 26 there were no clouds whatsoever in the vicinity of the mountain.

37383511856_6c1d98e4aa_c.jpg

The trail hooks up with the old road that goes from Road 4610 (aka Abbot Road) to the summit. Looking down the road:

37383509656_6dfee0d833_c.jpg

Looking up:

37173547400_be4d996abb_c.jpg

Now just a short jaunt up the road, as it curls around and up to the summit. Almost there!

36760335243_8c331d120e_c.jpg

I finally reached the summit at 2:30, after 5.7 miles and 3,000′ elevation gain. I had the place all to myself! I remember reading about the group of dirt bikes and ATVs on the summit that someone got photos of back in 2009, and I really hoped I wouldn’t find any OHVs or evidence of them. I didn’t. I wonder if the Forest Service has blocked access at the bottom of the spur road at the intersection with Road 4610?

23578794548_40b99f24db_c.jpg

I love the old panorama photos from lookout sites. It’s fun to compare and see how things have changed. North:

700xNxb.jpg.pagespeed.ic.fyaEWyqS5t.webp

Southeast:

c.jpg

Southwest:

a.jpg

84 years later the view is now partially obscured by trees in several directions. South:

37383491056_3514d8af91_c.jpg

Southwest:

36721505524_db515e470c_c.jpg

Olallie Butte and Mt. Jefferson close-up:

37399894472_2973a026dd_c.jpg

Southeast:

37383487836_bc0e6dd372_c.jpg

Looking north:

37383698026_b480d5ca2f_c.jpg

Close-up of Mt. Adams:

23578786758_2cbc59a2dd_c.jpg

Mt. Rainier:

36760323193_b267682759_c.jpg

Mt. St. Helens:

36760317883_4d502e720e_c.jpg

There was some nice fall color on the summit:

36721495834_2ef8e679de_c.jpg

36760540803_c47b366fff_c.jpg

36721486834_c1683316f0_c.jpg

I stayed at the summit for an hour, but Mt. Hood refused to come out of the clouds all the way. I tried to see if I could spot the fire lookout on Devils Peak but the trees have grown up too much, and in any case I don’t have binoculars (really need to get some):

36760551143_b5b75b88f6_c.jpg

I looked all over the summit for the survey disk and couldn’t find it. On my way down I finally found it, on the side of a rock below the summit. I’m guessing this rock used to be up on the summit and tumbled down at some point. Someone incorporated it into a fire pit area:

37173731350_ed2c4093a2_c.jpg

I got back to the car at 6. Here’s a parting shot of the lovely South Fork Salmon River:

37173754590_6dd4f46c42_c.jpg

On the way home I looked in my rearview mirror to find Mt. Hod once again totally free of clouds. Figures! I’m glad I crossed this one off my bucket list. I would definitely NOT recommend this hike unless it’s a crystal clear day. Also, if you can go during the rhododendron bloom in summer, that would certainly spice up the long hike a bit.

Salmon Butte Map

Video:

Tumala Mountain and Plaza Lake

Saturday, September 23, 2017

 

Greg and I wanted to do Tumala Mountain and Plaza Lake in the same day. We could have parked at the Old Baldy Trailhead on Road 4610, but that would have required driving 10 miles of rough road. So we parked on Road 4614 where the Old Baldy Trail and Eagle Creek Cutoff Trail intersect. (By the way, 4614 is paved and passable in any vehicle, but is getting quite overgrown. It’s like a tunnel in some spots.)

Our friend Matt joined us today. We donned our packs and set off on the Old Baldy Trail towards Tumala Mountain. We passed a wilderness sign right away (the trail serves as the wilderness boundary), but there was no wilderness permit box (indeed, we did not see a permit box at any of the three trailheads we visited today). The clouds had not burned off yet and the forest was a bit foggy:

Tumala Mountain Hike

Tumala Mountain Hike

Tumala Mountain Hike

Tumala Mountain Hike

I remember coming across this last time I hiked here, and I still don’t know what kind of structure this once was:

Tumala Mountain Hike

We passed the junction with the spur trail to Tumala Mountain, but it was still cloudy so we decided to visit the summit on our way back. We continued on the Old Baldy Trail, now losing elevation as we descended to 4610.

Tumala Mountain Hike

Tumala Mountain Hike

We crossed a scree slope with a view to the south where we could see Tumala Meadows below. That looks like a cool spot to explore.

Tumala Mountain Hike

Looking back at Tumala Mountain from the scree slope:

Tumala Mountain Hike

The trail was in pretty decent shape except that it’s getting a big overgrown:

Old Baldy Trail

Matt tackled one small blowdown with his portable saw:

Old Baldy Trail

After a little more than three miles of hiking we reached the Old Baldy Trailhead:

Old Baldy Trail

Looking down the road in the direction we would have come if we had driven here:

Road 4610

The former entrance to the now-decommissioned Twin Springs Campground:

Decommissioned campground

Road hiking:

Road 4610

Saw this along the road near the Plaza Lake Trailhead. Something logging-related?

It was 0.8 miles from the Old Baldy Trailhead to the Plaza Lake Trailhead:

Plaza Lake Trail

It’s all downhill from here!

Plaza Lake Trail

There were a few open slopes where the vine maple had started turning:

Plaza Lake Trail

Plaza Lake Trail

Plaza Lake Trail

Still going down. There are some big trees here!

Plaza Lake Trail

We kept seeing the lake through the trees but the trail is so well-graded that it takes awhile to hike the numerous switchbacks down the hill. Finally we arrived, and we had the place all to ourselves:

Plaza Lake

The hiking books refer to a campsite at the lake. I think we found the spot, but it’s not a campsite anymore. It looked like someone’s campfire got loose and started a small brush fire. The ground was all chewed up and a big swath of brush had been cut at ground level. The smell of charred wood was still pretty strong so I think this happened not too long ago. I can’t find any “before” photos of this spot online, but here’s what it looks like now:

A fire burned here

A fire burned here

A fire burned here

We sat and enjoyed a snack, then explored the brushy trail that followed the shore on the north side:

Plaza Lake

A really really old trail blaze along the brushy lakeshore path:

Trail blaze

The trail abruptly stops at a wall of trees and brush:

End of trail

A long time ago the trail continued down the hill to the South Fork Salmon River and followed that river all the way over to the Salmon Butte Trail. Incredibly, someone bushwhacked the route in 2007. The trail shows up on the 1966 Mt. Hood National Forest map (below) and then the USGS 1980 Rhododendron quadrangle, but after that it’s gone.

southforksalmonmap

On the hike out we saw a newt!

Newt

Road hiking back:

Then we hiked back up the Old Baldy Trail to Tumala Mountain. The view over the meadows was slightly less cloudy and now we could see the mountains in the distance:

On our way back up Tumala, just past the scree slope, we spotted an old trail heading downhill. Anyone know where this goes?

We reached the top of Tumala Mountain where the old concrete steps from the fire lookout still stand:

To my great disappointment, Mt. Hood remained stubbornly in the clouds:

Looking east:

Looking southeast:

Looking north with the base of Mt. Adams visible. Also, I believe that is Tanner Butte, left of center:

It’s downtown Portland!

Looking south:

Mt. Jefferson barely visible:

It was a long day with a lot of up and down. About 10.2 miles with 2300′ elevation gain. But a fun hike!

TumalaMap

Video:

Salmon River

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Rain was forecast for the next day – desperately-needed rain with all these wildfires everywhere – but in the meantime it was still pretty smoky. No point in doing a hike with views today, so we opted for the first few miles of the Salmon River Trail.

Salmon River Trail

Fall colors hadn’t started yet and the forest was still pretty green, albeit bone dry.

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

They really don’t want you to camp here:

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

The trail is at river level for the first couple miles:

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

There are some big trees back in here!

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

The trail ambles along through the forest with occasional glimpses of the river. There are numerous campsites.

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

The trail climbs up above the river and after about 3.2 miles there is a viewpoint looking down into the canyon. It’s pretty brown this time of year:

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

The canyon is deep and rugged here. Can you believe that there was a proposal in the 1960s to dam the river and build a highway through here? Now the river is a Wild & Scenic River and this area is part of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness.

Salmon River Trail

Salmon River Trail

We sat and enjoyed a snack, although it was VERY windy here.

Salmon River Trail

Looking down on the viewpoint before heading back down:

Salmon River Trail

There are some waterfalls down in that canyon. It’s rugged terrain down there and the falls are inaccessible. However in the summer of 1963, a subcommittee of the Oregon Geographic Names Board made a trek here and somehow managed to get down to those falls. (Read more about it here.) Final Falls:

Frustration Falls:

A few years ago some kayakers ran the canyon and Oregon Field Guide set them up with cameras to film the expedition. Here’s the segment:

Here’s my video of this hike: