8/5/2007 – Olallie Lake Area – 4 different trails

Date of Hike: 8/5/2007
Location of Hike: Olallie Lake Area - 4 different trails
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:30 AM
End Time: 5:30 PM
Hike Distance: 6
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a hodgepodge of trails in the Olallie Lake scenic district, since each of the trails were relatively short, I decided to combine them to make a longer hike. I then found the message on the trailadvocate site about an old camp, and with my interest in history, it sounded like a good diversion on the way home. Started in the morning, it took longer than I thought it would to get to the trailhead. The roads around Olallie are VERY narrow and some parts aren’t in very good shape. There was a considerable amount of traffic for condition of the roads, so I had to pull over quite a few times to let people pass. Travelling was also VERY slow due to the road conditions. Took almost 2 hours to get to the trailhead. Once on the trail, we went to the top of Ruddy Hill and had lunch there.
When they said “short and exceptionally steep”, they weren’t kidding! We basically walked up the side of the hill….Not quite, but almost. It was VERY steep, although the trail was actually in very good shape. With such a steep trail, I would have expected more erosion. The view from the top of Ruddy Hill is impressive. Quite a panorama.

This was my favorite area on this hike. The one interesting thing was the “box” on the top of the hill.

I have no idea what it is/was (edit many years later – that was the box that housed the forest service phone way back when they had their phone lines strung throughout the forest), but it was interesting to see it still there. After eating lunch, enjoying the view and taking some pictures, we descended back to the PCT and back to the Gibson trail to see Gibson Lake.

This was a reasonably good sized lake, but it didn’t look too deep. The trees around it are pretty scrubby, which isn’t my cup of tea. I enjoy the big doug firs more than the scrub pines. After scouting out the lake, we returned back to the truck the way we came (back up Gibson trail to the PCT, then back to the Horseshoe Saddle trail). We went to the store at Olallie Lake and bought a couple things and then headed back home (after taking one detour).

Lastly, I had to explore the “trail” that was discussed on trailadvocate.org (see below). I ended up finding the trail, and found the old campsite nestled in a grove of some very old trees, right next to the Collowash River. What a beautiful place, and a great place to finish the day! (edit many years later – this is the “Oh Boy” camp that appears on old maps and was on what is now the Elk Lake Creek trail (this part of the trail was taken out by road building, but this short section remains).

Here is a summary of each of the trails I took on this hike:

  • Horseshoe Saddle Trail 712 One mile long.
  • Gibson Lake Trail 708 Trail is easy to follow and offers views of the Ollalie Lake District, Ollalie Butte, and Mount Hood.
  • Ruddy Hill Trail 714 A short side trail off the PCT just north of the junction with the PCT. Climbs to the summit of Ruddy Hill. Offers wonderful views. A short and exceptionally steep trail. Was called Red Hill for it’s red cinder crown.

Exploration (message from the trailadvocate.org site): On Forest Road 6380 (which is the approach to the Elk Lake Creek trailhead) there is a short trail which leads from the road down a steep slope to a terrace near the Collowash River. This trail is located about 1/2 mile downstream of the bridge crossing the river. The trail is not evident from the road except for the flagging that someone has hung on the trees. This 1/4 mile or so of trail appears to be a constructed trail, with a level tread dug out of the hillside and a constant grade down the hill and may be a remnant of a more significant trail, perhaps one that predated the construction of FR 6380. At the end of the trail there are the remains of a camp of some sort, including a storage box or cabinet made out of wood slats, and a table or work surface. Two walls of the storage box, fastened above ground to two trees, are still in pretty good shape, but the table is mostly rotted away. Could this be a camp that early-day forest rangers might have used as they went about their rounds or whatever they did in the old days? On a couple of maps that I have there is a reference to “Oh Boy Camp” in this general area, so I’m wondering if this might be that camp. Does anyone have any information on this? Could this be a segment of a trail that once followed the general route up the Collowash joining what is now known as the Elk Lake Creek trail? Trails along that route can be seen on the 1935 and 1946 Mt Hood Forest maps posted on this website as well as on other maps that I have.

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