Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Trail
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Carly, Otis and Thor
Start Time: 12:00 PM End Time: 2:30 PM
Hike Distance: 5.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1100 feet
We started late since we had to wait until Jet came over – we got to the trailhead about noon and quickly headed out. I was a bit surprised to see snow right before the trailhead on the road. We didn’t see any more until a bit down the trail on the old road:
We soon got to the good portion of the trail where it heads into the big trees and follows the creek. It was a beautiful sunny day in the big old trees:
We continued down the trail with the dogs doing their thing, probably walking twice as far as we did. As we got further up the creek, the snow became more consistent and soon covered the whole trail:
It was still easy walking at this point – we knew it was going to be a short day, partially because we got a late start, but also because we needed to get back before dinner. A little after 1:00, after about 2.5 miles or so, we decided to stop at a spot near the creek. We walked down off the trail and over to a campsite near the creek. This is what it looked like from our lunch spot:
While we were eating, the dogs were enjoying the snow:
After a pretty quick lunch, we decided to head back since Otis was starting to get cold in the snow. The trip back seemed really fast, and we got back to the truck about 2:30 and headed home.
It was a really nice day in the woods, shared with Carly and the dogs.
Location of Hike: Douglas, Plaza, Old Baldy, Eagle Creek Cutoff, Eagle Creek trails
Trail Number: 781, 783, 502, 504, 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny to Rainy to Overcast
Hiking Buddies: Kirk and Zack
Hike Distance: 28 miles Elevation Gain: 8200 feet
- Day 1 – Head down the Eagle Creek trail to the Douglas Trail and head down the Douglas Trail to its intersection with the Plaza trail. Go on the Plaza trail till we get to Coffman Camp (we were hoping it still existed).
- Day 2 – Continue down the Plaza trail to the old Plaza guard station and 4610. Walk a short distance down 4610 to the end of the Old Baldy trail and head down Old Baldy to the Eagle Creek Cutoff trail and head down to Eagle creek – camp at the creek.
- Day 3 – Head down the Eagle Creek trail back to our starting point.
We mostly followed the plan but day 2 was quite a bit harder than we had anticipated. More on that later.
Day 1 – Eagle Creek Trailhead to Coffman Camp – 8.75 miles
While we were driving to the Eagle Creek trailhead we encountered a dump truck which we thought rather odd, but once we got to the trailhead, we started down the road to the “new” landing (we’ve parked there before) – on the way down there was a grader – the dump truck had been dumping gravel on this road and the grader was smoothing it. We decided we should park at the top of the hill since we didn’t know what was going on. As we were getting ready, the grader came up the hill and Zack talked to the driver. It is a good thing we decided to part at the top because he said before the day was done they were going to be putting in a big pile of gravel at the top of the hill to block the road. Had we tried to park at the bottom we would have been stuck.
Due to that work, we decided to take a slightly different route to begin. We had found the that other road continued all the way up to the abandoned road that the Douglas trail drops onto, so we decided to head up that way. We went by the location of the old lookout and soon reached the Douglas Trail. From there is was pretty easy walking, uphill a lot of the way, and soon, we got to the Wildcat Quarry where we got a nice view of Old Baldy:
We saw one other hiker while we were here. It was a beautiful day and it wasn’t too warm. We rested a bit there while enjoying the view and then continued up. At this point the trail is pretty wide:
We continued up the trail and it wasn’t too long before we encountered our first real bit of snow – nothing difficult to get thru – YET:
At some point, we got a nice view of Mountains to the North (St Helens, Adams, Ranier):
Since we were doing well on time, and it is a very short side trip, we dropped our packs and headed up to the top of Wildcat Mountain. There isn’t a lot to see up there since all the trees have grown up. We didn’t spend too long up there and then came back down and re-donned our packs and continued down the trail. The Douglas trail past Wildcat Mountain gets a bit narrower and a bit brushier:
At some point we got a great picture of where we were going – Tomorrow we would be going around the head of that basin:
The trail kind of follows the ridge (more or less) and at one point there was a rocky outcropping where we got some nice views – here is Mt Hood:
And there were some pretty flowers in the rocky areas:
A little farther down the trail Zack noticed this sign – a “3” – but 3 miles from what? We all scratched our heads and even after coming home and looking at several things, I still can’t figure out what it is 3 miles from:
We continued down the trail – as we got farthe down, the trail was getting even more brushy in places:
We finally arrived at our destination for the night – Coffman Camp:
It is a pretty large, flat area but it is obvious it doesn’t get used much any longer – the ground cover was pretty healthy and the fire pit hadn’t been used in a while.
There is a sign pointing to the spring below Coffman Camp – it is a rather long trip down the hill to the spring:
We setup camp for the night, had dinner, started a fire and then went to bed. It was somewhat breezy at times but not bad. We were still hoping the weather would hold out for us.
Day 2 – Coffman Camp to Eagle Creek – 11.7 miles
We got up Saturday morning, had breakfast, got water and then packed up and headed out. We knew today was going to be a longer day, but we weren’t quite ready for how long of a day it was going to be. While we were getting packed up, it started to rain – so we had to pack up wet tents. At this point it wasn’t much rain, but it was enough to get things wet – and they would stay wet for the remainder of the weekend.
We packed up and headed out. Beyond Coffman camp, the Plaza Trail gets REALLY brushy in places – its good we all had full rain gear on because otherwise we would have been soaked:
It was starting to rain more consistently although it was still rather light – the winds had also picked up but for the most part we had been protected from them. We soon got to the junction with the Salmon Mountain trail – this goes out to the old lookout location on Salmon Mountain:
We continued along. At the point where the trail turns south, Kirk wanted to go find “Stony Camp” (it is shown on older maps) – I didn’t realize this and since I was somewhat slow due to all the uphill we were doing, I continued up. I stopped a few times and waited, thinking everyone was going to catch up but no one came. I finally dropped my pack and headed back down to see what happened. I finally found Zack who was waiting for Kirk to come back up the hill. We then continued up towards Sheepshead rock.
By this time, the rain was getting worse – it was cold, and we were intermittently getting some good winds thrown at us. It was just flat out cold. It was near this point where we saw our first significant snow – and it was tiring to get thru:
We made it thru all the snow, past Sheepshead rock, thru the wind and rain and hail (at times). We got to the point where the trail kind of levels out and it just disappeared under all the snow. At that point we just kind of headed downhill in the general direction of the trail. We got to the point where it took a hard turn, and I was thinking that had been an old road and thought it would be very recognizable – but we didn’t see it. We were able to find the old fireplace at Plaza – this was the old Guard station:
From there we started trying to follow the trail but we decided to just cut our losses and make the most direct way over to 4610. After a bit. we finally made it out to milepost 18 on the 4610 road:
And wood deck 54 on 4610 was right there – apparently they numbered each wood deck along the road – I looked at my photo from last fall at the east end of 4610 and it had a 1 on it, so the numbering appears to to east to west:
We walked up 4610 – we were all hungry and wet. We were hoping the rain would subside a bit but we didn’t have much luck with that. As we were walking we got out of some of the snow and you could see all the masticating of brush they had done on 4610 last fall – this was to be used as a secondary firebreak for the Riverside fire if needed:
We finally decided to stop at the old abandoned/decommissioned Twin Springs camp – we quickly ate some lunch under the trees trying not to get too wet. After a quick lunch, we walked down the road to the Old Baldy trailhead. We stumbled around in the snow a bit but finally found the trail and followed it. Soon we were out of the snow and following bare trail again. It was still pretty wet and windy along the trail however.
The next obstacle/challenge of the day was navigating the switchbacks up to the saddle below Squaw/Tumala Mountain. Kirk and I had been there about a month ago and turned back at about the first switchback because there was so much snow. I was hoping there would be significantly less but fearing it would still be covered. Fortunately, I was wrong – most of the snow had melted and we had a clear trail to the top except for a few small patches of snow.
We made it to the saddle pretty quickly and then headed down. The trip over to the junction with the Eagle Creek cutoff trail was pretty easy. We were now relatively protected from the wind and the rain seemed to have mostly subsided. Not having snow to navigate over helped as well. Once at the junction, Kirk checked out the car that was sitting at the access point on 4614. Zack headed off ahead of us since his knee was bothering him a bit and he was taking it slower.
Once we started down the 504, we hit a spot of snow and then a HUGE blowdown mess where we briefly lost the trail. We quickly found it and headed down – well, I mean we headed up – I had forgotten that even though this trail loses like 2000′ of elevation, it starts out GAINING elevation – you have to go back up to the ridge to follow it down – which is kind of a silly route. Once on the ridge, the trail goes up and down a bit, following the ridge. It is a pretty long slog down to Eagle Creek. When we got to the serious downhill part, I was amazed at how well the switchbacks were maintained. I likened that descent to the last bit of Corral Springs, but down there you can barely see the tread. The tread here is VERY visible and although it is steep, it is well maintained.
We finally made it down to the creek and then the search for a campsite began. Here is Eagle Creek:
Originally we were going to camp on the west side of the creek in the small campsite there, but we quickly realized that would be pretty tight for 3 tents. Zack went across the creek looking for a site but didn’t find anything too great. Kirk headed downstream and found a very old campsite that had not been used in years. The firepit was in good shape but the area had tons of small vegetation growing. We trampled it down and made camp successfully. It was a really nice site.
After dinner, Kirk and Zack were able to get a fire going even though the wood was pretty wet. The small cedar sticks and pitch wood were enough to get things dry enough to burn. Kirk and I by the campfire on Saturday night:
After not too long the fire had turned to coals and we were all tired so we all went to bed. It got dark sooner in the trees than it had the night before when it was more open.
Day 3 – Eagle Creek back to Trailhead – 7.2 miles
We got up a bit earlier this morning and made breakfast and then packed up. The goal was to be back at the truck before noon – Zack had to drive to Klamath Falls that night, so didn’t want to be driving all night long. Once we got packed up, rather than wading the creek, we found a log to cross on – Here is a picture Zack took of me crossing the log:
Once on the trail, we wasted no time – the trip was pretty uneventful and we didn’t stop too many times. Since it is mostly a gradual downhill, it was pretty easy to maintain a good pace. As we progressed, my ankle started bothering me more and more, so I had to slow down a bit.
One of the few pictures I took while we were heading out on Sunday morning – the lush rainforest of Eagle Creek:
Near where the trail heads uphill, we encountered two women hikers. They were very friendly and said they were surprised to see 6 vehicles at the trailhead. When we got to the trailhead, we were surprised to only see one other vehicle there, so I’m not sure what they were talking about. One thing I am glad is that we didn’t park at the landing on Friday because at the top of the road, there was a large pile of gravel with some VERY large stones in it. Had we parked down at the landing we probably would have been trapped.
We made it back to the truck ahead of schedule and packed up and headed out. It was quite the epic trip – very challenging, but seeing a lot of country that I’d never seen before.
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek and Douglas Trails
Trail Number: 501, 781
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Zack, Ollie and Thor
Start Time: 10:00 AM End Time: 2:20 PM
Hike Distance: 5.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
We headed out at our “normal” time, and got to the trailhead. There were already 5 or 6 cars there which is unusual, but with so many trails closed due to the fires, it is kind of expected. We headed down the road and pretty quickly got onto the “real” trail where it enters the old growth. This trail is so lush and has some gorgeous old growth on it. The constant sound of Eagle creek is pleasant as well.
We got down a couple of miles and the decided to head uphill. We spread out as we were going uphill, looking for signs of trail. We did find a few spots that kind of looked like tread, but it didn’t last very long. We looked for blazes, cut logs and insulators. The only thing we found was the one cut log:
Not too far away from this we found this old campground:
We continued up the hill and eventually joined with the Douglas trail a little east of where it hits the old 255 spur road. We hit tiny spots of snow on the way up the hill and when we got to the top, there was patchy snow. There was a couple of inches on the road – the dogs enjoyed that quite a bit.
We headed west down the road until the spot where the trail takes off again. We weighed our options and decided to go up the trail a bit and then basically follow the ridge. A little ways up the hill, we found what looked like tread – as we proceeded along it was definitely tread and it seemed to kind of come and go, but basically followed the ridge. There is a lot of salal up there which made it tougher in spots. We didn’t go too far, when Kirk found the remains – right on this tread:
We looked around a bit and then decided to have lunch. After lunch, we decided to continue following the tread we had found. It kind of continued to come and go, but we mostly followed tread along the ridge. We got to one open spot where there were these HUGE, ancient vine maples – they looked like huge spiders or something:
As we continued trying to follow the tread, we did end up finding one cut log:
It was shortly after this that we lost the trail completely, but we were very close to the old road, so we walked over there and then continued west. We walked past the end of the road down what we figued was an old quad track. When we were here a few weeks ago, we followed it down to the point where it took a steep turn down the hill. Today we continued down the hill – we were assuming this would eventually bring us out onto an old road that we could walk back to the van. That turned out to be a completely correct assumption. The track continued down the hill, soon getting into a cut area (15-20 year old cut probably) and then down onto an old road. The road has been bermed for a few years so no one has driven up that far, but we did see recent evidence of cutting back some brush.
It wasn’t long before we were back at the van. By this time there were probably 10 vehicles at the trailhead. We loaded up and headed out. It was a great day of exploring on an absolutely beautiful spring day.
Location of Hike: Douglas Trail
Trail Number: 781
Weather during Hike: Partly Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Ollie and Thor
Start Time: 9:45 AM End Time: 3:30 PM
Hike Distance: 9.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2300 feet
We started out at the normal time and headed up to the “other” Eagle Creek trailhead (Harvey Road Trailhead). We decided to park at the new landing since I had driven down there last week. It takes a little bit off the hike. We weren’t sure exactly how far we were going to go – it depended upon our energy and how the day progressed.
We set off down the old road from the new landing and very quickly got to the Douglas trail junction. From this point, we started our uphill climb. We started at just under 2000 feet and got up to almost 3000′, kind of going up and down in the process.
After several switchbacks and going thru old growth and cut areas, we popped out on the old 3626-255 spur road which has been closed. At this point, we decided to head west to the site of the old lookout to see what we could find. It was rather challenging, since the road to the west was all ripped up. This is what it looked like:
The section that the trail heads down (east) was left intact thankfully. We made our way west on the ripped up road, navigating the rather deep snow and the big piles on the road. At one point we thought about heading up to the ridge, wondering if it might be easier walking thru the trees than down the road, but there was a pretty significant cut bank and by the time the cut bank disappeared the road evened out and got easier to traverse (they stopped the decommissioning).
Partway up to the site of the old lookout, the sun made an appearance and I captured this cool sunray effect thru the trees:
It wasn’t too long after that and we got to the literal end of the road – somewhere in this neighborhood was where the lookout used to be (it was abandoned in 1957-64 years is a LONG time in the woods).
We looked around in the brush and groundcover for a while trying to find some remnants of the lookout, but we couldn’t find anything. It is pretty well grown over and the groundcover is pretty thick.
After looking around for a while, we decided to head down the “continuation” of the road – we were guessing that it was an old quad track, probably coming up from one of the roads down below:
We walked down the quad track to the Forest Boundary – about this point it started taking a steep turn downhill and we didn’t really feel like losing a bunch of elevation, so we decided to turn around. It we getting near lunchtime, so we went and found the best view we could (which wasn’t great) and had lunch.
After eating lunch, we headed back to the quad track/trail and then the road and headed east, back down the ripped up road. After a short section, the trail heads off the road again and we continued east. It was shortly after this that the trail started getting snow on it – we kept gaining elevation. This is what the trail looked like in the area – east of the 3626-255 spur:
The goal for the day was to get to at least the place where we came down and met the trail last year, so we can say we hiked the whole trail. We soon got to the place we joined the trail last year and then decided to turn around.
While we were coming up the trail, we noticed a spot where it looked like the trail used to continue straight ahead. The trail now took a sharp turn. On the way back, we decided to follow this “old alignment” and did indeed find it was the old alignment and went across a wet area/old spring. It almost looked like there might have been a bridge over the we area but it was hard to be certain. We followed it a bit further and saw where it rejoined the trail. We both remembered seeing this on the last trip and guessing the trail had been rerouted but we weren’t sure why. The old alignment was much straighter but maybe that wet crossing was too problematic or something. This segment was only one of several re-alignments we found (or think we found) during the day.
We soon made it back to the 255 spur road and continued west. We saw quite a few deer and possibly elk tracks in the snow on the road as well as what looked to be a small kitty (Lynx? Coyote?) We quickly made it back to where the trail heads off from the road. We let the dogs play in the last of the snow and then headed down.
As we were headed down this segment of trail, we had a bunch of different precipitation events. It sleeted for a bit, it rained, and there was rain mixed with snow. None of it was heavy or long lasting but it made for an interesting trip down.
It wasn’t too long before we were back at the junction with the Eagle creek trail. We headed up the road to the landing. The last thing we were going to look for was the quad track coming down. The maps show the Douglas trail hitting the Eagle Creek trail quite a bit farther west than it actually does – we were thinking maybe that was where the quad track was. After looking for it for a bit, our guess is that the quad track probably comes down somewhere on the road above the trailhead. Something to look for some day.
A stop at Fearless on the way home for an early dinner was a great way to end the day. Fearless was REALLY busy – I guess there is a lot of pent up demand for eating out since covid restrictions have loosened up a bit.
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Trail (Clackamas)
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Thor and Jet
Start Time: 10:10 AM End Time: 1:20 PM
Hike Distance: 7.4 miles Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
Since Tuesdays are the normal “Granddaughter/Granddog babysitting”, I decided I would take the “Granddog” on the hike too. It worked out pretty well. It was a beautiful day – one I couldn’t pass up.
We got to the trailhead about 10:00. I had heard that the new trailhead was down at the landing a bit down the hill, but there were two vehicles at the old trailhead. I decided to park there and walk down the road. The new landing/trailhead is about a third of a mile down from the old trailhead – it has a great view looking over to Old Baldy:
Once past the landing you continue down the old road for a ways – probably another three quarters of a mile or so and then you get into the good part of the trail – some real old growth – this is kind of a typical section of the trail:
We made good time, even though I had both dogs on leashes – since there were two cars at the trailhead, I assumed there were people ahead of me on the trail, and since Thor isn’t great around dogs he doesn’t know, it is safer to just keep him on a leash.
A little farther down the trail, we encountered something rather odd – it is hard to see in this photo but there are two cedar trees that got cut down – one right next to the trail (it might have been over the trail) – the other about 30′ uphill from the trail. And they weren’t cut like you’d be cutting a log off the trail, they were cut like you were cutting down a tree. I’m not sure what the deal was with these:
A little farther down the trail we got a good view of Eagle Creek from the trail – we had been able to hear if for quite some time but this was our first good look at it:
I had intended this to be a relatively short day, and we had covered almost 3 miles and it was getting near lunchtime, so I started looking for a good spot to eat. I came across a campsite down near the creek which would have been perfect, but as we started heading down, we encountered a hunter with a dog down in the campsite, so we went back up and continued down the trail for a bit. A bit further up the trail we had to cross the biggest side creek crossing of the day – it was running pretty fast:
Shortly after that crossing, we were at almost 4 miles and I found a good log to sit on. We sat a bit off the trail (in case someone else came by) and ate lunch – the dogs got their normal lunchtime treats. This was Thor at lunchtime:
We ate lunch and then turned around and headed back up. We didn’t see any other people on the way back in, and by the time we got to the truck, both other vehicles that were there earlier had left. I got the dogs loaded up and decided to try and drive down to the new landing – it is certainly doable – the entry is a bit narrow, but not too bad – there are still some pretty big water diverters in the road as well, but as long as you go slow it is fine. We drove down to the landing and turned around and headed out.
I think I did a good job of exercising the dogs. They were pretty tired after the hike:
I stopped in Estacada to see if Fearless was open (to get some fries) but they were still closed. So we ended up just coming home.
It was an excellent, unexpected day in the woods on a beautiful spring day (even though spring is a couple weeks away still).
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Trail
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Ollie and Thor
Start Time: 10:10 AM End Time: 5:20 PM
Hike Distance: 15.5 miles Elevation Gain: 3700 feet
Unfortunately, there was a security guard posted at the border of the forest and he was not letting anyone pass. So, we had to move to plan B. Plan B was to hike the Eagle Creek trail (501) which was not in any kind of closed area. It took a little time, but we made it to the trailhead and it looked a bit different than we remembered. There appeared to have been recent work done there. We were greeted by this sign at the start of the trail, informing of us the closures, etc (which seemed odd, since this trail and the whole Salmon-Huckleberry wilderness was open.):
We started down the road which has been widened considerably. Soon we got to a new landing area, which had been worked quite extensively. They took a huge chunk of the hillside off to make the landing:
After that, the old road reverts to what it used to be – a very narrow old logging road that is pretty overgrown:
We hiked down the road and soon took a hard left onto real trail. From there we got down to the creek, which the trail follows the rest of the way. It goes up and down a bit, but is relatively level. We were making really good time as we were not doing any real trail maintenance – just hiking. Since the tread was pretty level, we were able to make really good time.
A little over 4 miles down the trail, we explored a side trail that Zack and I had found almost 5 years ago. It is an old “cattle camp”. We found the side trail (it was more overgrown than I remember, although we were there in January when all the ground cover was dormant). We headed up and looked around and found several old relics. One of the coolest is an old watering trough which Thor just thought was the coolest thing ever:
Here is one of the old hitching posts:
We searched around a bit and then headed down the trail looking for a lunch spot. We found a somewhat sunny spot next to the creek. Ollie took advantage of it to cool off – he spent most of the time in the creek:
We ate lunch and then headed back up to the trail and continued east. Soon, we found this really interesting tree on nurse log that had toppled over and raised up the nurse log out of the dirt:
We continued down the trail – although it still gets traffic this far up, you could tell it gets less traffic. The areas that were more open were rather overgrown although you could clearly see the tread. There were a few spots where the brush was still really wet – we were guessing it must have had a heavy dew the night before.
We continued down and finally got to the crossing point – from the other side of the creek the trail transitions to the 504 – Eagle Creek cutoff trail – it heads up to the Old Baldy trail. The crossing point is very calm and pretty:
We rested a few minutes at the campsite on the south side of the creek and then headed back. It was about 2:30 and we had quite a ways to get back to the truck. And a lot of it was still uphill – especially at the very end. We tried to make good time and we didn’t stop a lot – we took a few water breaks, but they were pretty short. The trip back was pretty uneventful – we got back to the truck about 5:15. We loaded up and headed out.
We decided to have dinner at Fearless but before we did that we decided to head up 224 to the crest to see if we could see what the Clackamas Canyon looked like. We couldn’t see a ton, but this is what it looked like from the crest of 224:
A fair amount of burned area with some green areas and also some mosaic burning as well. Time will tell what it really looks like. It is kind of doubtful we will be able to drive 224 this year I think.
Dinner at Fearless was great as usual, and to top off the day, Zack and his family stopped in after doing some exploring on the east side of the mountain.
It was a great day out.
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Trail
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: overcast and rainy at times
Hiking Buddies: Zack
Start Time: 10:00 AM End Time: 3:50 PM
Hike Distance: 10.8 miles
I didn’t get many pictures of the trail, since I’ve been there before. I did get this one from my favorite veiewpoint of Eagle Creek – about 4 miles down the trail or so:
This trail is beautiful once you get down to the creek – some pristine old growth forest. The trail follows the creek, and this day it was running pretty high, fast and loud. We made great time down the trail – before I knew it we had done 3.5 miles! We were getting close to the spot where Zack had marked the junction, so we slowed down a bit to be able to look at all the potential junctions. We soon found this junction (which was more apparent in person):
And here is a close up of one of the trees at this junction, which used to have a sign:
From here on is where this hike got really interesting. We wandered up what looked like old tread, finding a cut log and a blaze. Shortly, we found these very old, but obviously milled boards (covered in very thick moss):
These were obviously man made, not natural, so we wandered around trying to see if we could find more, or maybe what they were part of. We thought maybe they were part of a bridge across the nearby unnamed creek, but could not find a clear crossing point. We continued poking around and then I came across this old sign laying on the ground!
This area was kind of strange looking, like had been a lot of disturbances in the area. Like a camp, maybe. Lots of open, flat ground. We continued searching the area, and then found the first of a set of posts:
We were postulating that these might have been “hitching posts” to tie horses to – they obviously had some sort of cross brace on them at one point in time. We ended up finding 5 sets of them in the area.
We wandered over to a very open area, and I spotted this unusual item – an old watering trough:
The next find was really weird – Zack was commenting that “you’d think we would see some sort of fire pit around here” – I looked down and saw a heavily moss covered fire pit! We removed the moss and found a concrete fire pit underneath:
Looking around the area of the firepit, I found several more milled pieces of wood, a few of which were notched:
These looked to be remnants of a picnic table – the notches were at an angle that would match what you’d see on a picnic table and there were some longer boards like you would have for the top.
We continued searching the area for a while, looking for more artifacts, but other than some more cut logs, didn’t really find anything else – but what we found was quite enough! We headed back down to the trail to find a spot for lunch. We stopped at a spot next to the creek and ate our (late) lunch. We then headed back down the trail to the truck. We made really good time on the way back, just as we had on the way in. The weather alternated between almost sunny, drizzly and rainy as it had all day long. I was a bit worried we would not make it back out by dark, but we got back to the truck before 4.
We headed back to Estacada for a celebratory strong scotch ale at Fearless and then headed home. For an unexpected hike, this was an AWESOME day! Thanks, Zack for pulling me out of the house!
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Cutoff and east end of Eagle Creek
Trail Number: 504, 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:45 AM End Time: 2:15 PM
I have hiked the Eagle Creek trail several times, and even backpacked there with the scouts a couple of times, but never got up the trail all the way to where it crosses the creek. This is the point where the Eagle Creek connector trail starts, and then heads uphill to the Old Baldy trail. I had ventured a short distance down that trail when I had hiked the Old Baldy trail earlier, but since it is a 2.2 mile trip down to the river, I didn’t go very far. Originally, I had thought I could do this trail when I completed the east end of Old Baldy, but when I started looking at details, the length of the trail made it obvious that it would need to be a separate trip. Since I hadn’t hiked all the way to the end of the Eagle Creek trail, I decided to include that in the hike as well. Turns out it was a bit farther than I thought to the end of the trail!
The day started out rather cool, but we quickly got on the trail and proceeded down, then up and went down and up for a bit – I had anticipated essentially going downhill, but the start of the trail is a bit up and down. The trails in this area seem to be “older” and as a result, do more “direct” routes (read: straight up and straight down). Shortly, we came to a nice viewpoint, overlooking the Eagle Creek drainage.
After stopping for a bit to emjoy the views, we continued on – at this point, we started downhill. The beginning of the downhill was not too bad, but the farther down the hill we got, the steeper it got. With my knees still recovering from our Eagle Cap trip, the trip downhill was a little challenging (for my knees). We made it downhill (finally), and got to the creek crossing. My hope had been that the creek would be low at this time of year to make it easy to cross. The creek was pretty low, which made for an easy crossing, just an easy rock hop.
After the creek crossing, we were now on the Eagle Creek trail. This was a portion of the trail I had not been on before. At this point, the trail was right next to the creek. Very quickly, we came to a “narrows” area, where there was some rock ledge and where the creek got very narrow and deep. It was very similar to a section on the Clackamas river that you can see from highway 224, although it was much smaller (obviously).
We proceeded down the trail, heading downstream. At one of the side creek crossings, I had an experience I’ve never had before – I lost my footing completely and ended up falling in the water. It had to have been a very comical sight. The good news was that I didn’t hurt anything, except a few scrapes and scratches. It will teach me to be more careful, even at small water crossings. After my big fall, we continue down the trail until we got to the place where we had to turn back in April (with the scouts). On the way back, I noticed a really pretty section of maple that was really “popping” with the fall colors – green, yellow, orange and red. The photo didn’t do it justice:
A little farther down the the trail, we found a nice place along the creek to stop, sit and have lunch. While we were sitting there, I saw the most unusual bird. It would sit on rocks and constantly bob up and down. It would then “swim” through the water to the next rock. It was a grayish black color. It would repeat these behaviors over and over down the creek. I tried to get a video of it, but was unable to get something that was clear. When I got home I looked up the bird, and it is called an “American Dipper”. I guess the dipper name comes from its behavior. It was a very interesting way to spend my lunchtime.
After lunch, we continued back down the trail to re-cross the creek and head back up the hill. One thing I was amazed at – how moist and green this area still was, even with our extended dry period. Side creeks were still flowing and everything was still very green.
After crossing the creek it was time to head back up the hill. Wow, was that hard – the “switchbacks” were not very wide, they were more like “S”s, so it wasn’t much better than walking straight uphill. And it was STEEP. It took me a while, but I finally made it back up the hill. Tired, but happy that we were able to experience this new piece of trail on a beautiful fall day. The Eagle Creek canyon is an absolutely beautiful place with lots of old growth trees. It is also a very quiet forest – different than many. It was a good day.
Location of Hike: Eagle Creek Trail (off the Clackamas)
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: Cloudy and cool
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 11:00 AM End Time: 2:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7 miles
This is the second time I’ve done this hike, and once you get past the initial clearcuts, it is a beautiful hike. I went a little farther this time, going past the big creek crossing, but I ended up turning around a little ways up the trail since it started to mist and I didn’t really want to hike in the rain. It worked out OK, and I had a great time. This area has LOTS of REALLY big trees and the creek is a constant companion, either by seeing it, or by hearing it. This day, the creek was roaring due to all the rain we have had.
A beautiful day in the woods!
Location of Hike: The "other" Eagle Creek Trail
Trail Number: 501
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM End Time: 1:00 PM
Hike Distance: 8 miles
The trail moves closer and farther from the creek, but you can always hear it. We crossed several small runoff “creeks” along the way that fed down into the creek. There were a couple of nice camping areas as well. We finally got to an un-named creek crossing, and decided to turn around since the water there was deeper and faster than the other crossings. My feet were also feeling the effects of not being out too much this year yet.
This was a glorious day in the woods, on a beautiful, seldom traveled trail. It definitely deserves further exploration…..The trail keeps going another 4 miles or so up the creek. It would make for a good in and out backpack trip, as it connects with several other trails. It reminds me a lot of the Fish Creek area.