Tag Archives: 516

11/04/2017 – Hillockburn Trail

Date of Hike: 11/4/2017
Location of Hike: Hillockburn Trail
Trail Number: 516
Weather during Hike: Overcast and cool
Hiking Buddies: Carly and Thor
Start Time: 10:40 AM  End Time: 12:50 PM
Hike Distance: 2.75 miles  
Pictures: Link
Todays hike was intended to be a higher hike – I was hoping I could sneak in one last higher elevation hike before winter set in for good. It was not to be. We started seeing snow on the side of the road below 3000′ and we got up to about 3600′ before turning around. We could have kept going, but the snow was quickly getting deeper and I knew there was no way we would be able to make it, so we turned around at a wide spot where it was easy to turn around. This is what the road ahead looked like – it was quite the winter wonderland:

We stopped and let Thor play in the snow for a bit:

We then turned around and so as not to not make the day a total bust, we decided to hike the Hillockburn trail down to the South Fork of the Clackamas River. It is a pretty short hike, but it is really pretty down by the river. Unfortunately, when we got to the trailhead, we found a bunch of damage from shooters at the trailhead:

We counted at least 6 trees killed by shooters now. That was kind of a sad start to the hike, but we headed down the short trail and pretty soon got to the campsite near the river:

Thor played in the river a bit and we decided we would opt for a late lunch at Fearless in Estacada rather than eating the lunch we brought, so we soon headed back uphill. On the way, we did a little trail maintenance, cutting off a few smaller trees off the trail.

On the way back up the trail, we encountered another group of hikers – which was good – we were a little concerned about shooters shooting down the trail, but we obviously didn’t have to worry since they had come down.

It was a very short, but somewhat disappointing day (since we couldn’t get to our original objective) – but it was really nice to share a hike with Carly – I don’t get to do that too often.

4/1/2016 – Hillockburn Trail – 516

Date of Hike: 4/1/2016
Location of Hike: Hillockburn Trail
Trail Number: 516
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:40 AM  End Time: 11:40 PM
Hike Distance: 3.1 miles  
Pictures: Link
Hike description
This was no April Fool’s Joke!!! This was a quick trip down the Hillockburn trail with Bodie. The weather was beautiful and I needed to take a day off from work, so I decided to take this trip. The plan was to hike down to the river and then sit there for a while and enjoy the solitude. Bodie didn’t want to sit there – he kept wandering around – I don’t know what the issue was, whether he smelled or kept hearing something, or if it was just his brain tumor (he does a lot of pacing at home now).

Anyway, we got to the trailhead about 9:30 and headed down shortly after. There were no shooters at the shooting gallery up the road, however we did see evidence of shooting down the trail. In retrospect I probably should have parked my truck in front of the trailhead to try and tell any potential shooters that someone was down the trail.


Three trees appear to have been killed by shooters – the one just recently came down – ugh.
We headed down the trail a short ways only to find that they didn’t stop at the beginning of the trail:

We headed down the trail, making quick time of it. Shortly we were into the larger trees and before we knew it, we were right above the river, looking down at the Beautiful old growth grove:

And one there, we had to get a close look at the South Fork (what a beautiful river):

Here is a short Video of the river in motion – so peaceful:


And this is the campsite near the river that we were going to sit for a while and enjoy the surroundings (until Bodie had different ideas):

After about 10 minutes, Bodie just couldn’t sit still, so we turned around and headed back up. On the way back up, I noticed (thru the trees) a new clearcut area to the North – NNE. When I got home, it looks like this might be above Big Cliff or in that general area. I’m guessing it is fire damage they are logging off. I’ve heard helicopters up the Clackamas a couple times and I’m wondering if that is the area they were logging with helicopters. I tried to get a photo thru the trees, but nothing came out.

We continued up the hill and pretty soon started hearing gunshots. I was worried – I was hoping that no one was shooting down the trail again. I figured I could figure it out as we got closer. Fortunately, they were shooting up the road a bit, so we were fine. We got back to the truck and since it was still so early, I decided to go up looking for the snow level. I headed up 45 and then took off up 4540. Here is where we turned around on 4540 (about 3/4 mile from Helen Lake at about 3600′):

After turning around, I thought I’d see how far I could get up the 45 road. Although I didn’t take a photo, we ended up getting to within about a mile and a half of the Memaloose Lake trailhead. I think we were at almost 3800′.

We turned around and headed back – on the way, I saw the the gate on the 45-220 spur was open. When I was up there in 2013 checking out the Silvacultural area, that gate was locked. I thought I’d go explore a bit. We drove down the road to the old Silvacultural area and then the spur road down to where I went looking for the end of the old Memaloose trail in 2013. Got to the end of the road – not much to see really:

After that we turned around and headed home. While it was a short day out, it was really nice. It was great to get out, enjoy some beautiful weather and some big old trees.

11/25/2013 – Old Hillockburn Trail Exploration – Old Silvicultural Area

Date of Hike: 11/25/2013
Location of Hike: East of old Hillockburn Trail
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 1:15 PM
Hike Distance: 5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This hike was kind of planned last minute. We’ve had an extended run of nice, sunny (but cold) weather, and I needed to take some time off before the end of the year, so I took a weekday off to do a hike in the nice weather.

While the snow has not buried all of the higher elevation trails, anything above about 4000′ or so seems to be out of range for hiking. So, I had to try and find a trail that appealed to me that was lower than 4000′. My first thought was to go back to Cold Springs and do some more cutting on areas that badly need it. My saw was still in the shop, so that idea did not fly. I looked at a few others, but they were either too high, or too far for a short day trip. I was still recovering from the Cold Springs trip two days prior, so I wanted a relatively easy, short hike.

The original goal was to drive out the 45-242 spur and then just hike down to where we hiked to from the other side of the old Hillockburn trail (not sure if that is the correct name for it or not). Since the gate was locked at the junction of road 45:

So we ended up walking all the way down to the jump off point. It was an easy and interesting walk.
Shortly after we started down the road, we were presented with this odd sign:

The day turned out to be a lot more about the Silvacultural research station that used to be located here. I’m not sure when it was abandoned, but the research areas are still all fenced off, with tags on trees.

You can see from this photo it has been a while since anyone drove into this particular fenced area:

At the junction of the 240 and 242 spurs is where the research station used to be located. You can still see a lot of remnants of what was there – an old outhouse (turned on its side with a missing roof), old roofing materials, lots of firewood, and the outline of a burned structure, which I’m assuming was the actual research facility. You can see what looks like office chair pedestals, and a couple of filing cabinet drawers along with some other rusty burned stuff. It was interesting to poke around all this stuff.

The old outhouse:

The old burned out building footprint:

Some of the rusty relics:


Some of the tags on the trees:


The fenced off area:

When I came down the 240 spur, I saw the turnoff to the research station and mistakenly thought it was the 242 spur road. We walked north until we hit a fence, then we followed the fence mostly west (a little south) to another fence. These fences are 8′ high, and are still in surprisingly good shape. I found a couple spots where people have jumped the fence, but the top of it still has 2 rows of barbed wire. I wasn’t about to try and navigate that, plus I had the dog, who wouldn’t be able to climb the fence anyway.
Here is the “road” we followed the fence:

I headed back thinking we were done for the day. When we got back to the 240 road, I looked down the road a bit farther and lo and behold, there was the 242 spur road heading north. We took off down that road to our jump off point.

Here is the 242 spur road:

One thing that was troubling – we saw several piles of neatly stacked logs – probably 25-30 cords of firewood at least. All sitting there just rotting away. Why did they leave so much wood?

When we got almost to the end of the road, we headed west, downhill searching for the point where we had come up from the other direction several months ago. The going was brutal. First, we had to navigate a VERY dense thicket of small fir trees. Actually, I think there were a couple of those.

Once we got through those, we were presented with this – a BUNCH of downed logs:

After the difficult day we had Saturday, I didn’t think I was up to navigating all of those downed logs. We still had to hike back up to the truck! So, we decided to turn around and head back. We ended up getting about halfway to where we ended up last time (probably about a tenth of mile away).

The trip back was relatively un-eventful and went quickly. The elevation gain was pretty easy since it was all well graded roads. We ended up back at the truck about 1:15 and then headed home. A short, but very nice day in the woods. The weather was SPECTACULAR! I was dressed for cold weather, and although it was a big brisk in some of the shady areas, it really was pretty warm up there – especially in the sun. It was nice to get out and enjoy a unique area on a nice fall day. Maybe I will return when that gate is open and I don’t have to walk all that way – then I would have enough energy to negotiate all the underbrush and downed logs.

4/20/2013 – Upper Falls- South Fork Clackamas River – Old Memaloose Trail

Date of Hike: 4/20/2013
Location of Hike: Upper Falls- South Fork Clackamas River - Old Memaloose Trail
Weather during Hike: Mostly overcast - a little misty but with some sun breaks
Hiking Buddies: Kirk
Start Time: 9:15 AM  End Time: 6:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7.9 miles  
Pictures: Sorry, no photos for this hike
Description of Hike:
Kirk and I decided to explore the abandoned trail on the east side of the South Fork yesterday We made our first stop at the Upper South Fork Falls, heading downhill through one of the old forest service “vertical thinning cuts”. It was a rather difficult descent, but not too bad until you got right close to the river, where it got very steep. Fortunately, we figured out how to get down to the river without incident:

Here is panorama photo of the waterfall amphitheater:

This is a really cool waterfall – a very unique amphitheater with three separate water “falls” – two from the river (it splits into two streams at the top), and one on the side from a creek. The water was running so fierce today it was really roaring and churning as it hit the pool at the bottom.
After enjoying the waterfall(s) for a while, we scouted our route out of the amphitheater. Rather than bushwhack 800′ back up to the trail and then go back down the Hillockburn to the river, we opted to bushwhack upstream. I think that was a good choice, as it was only a little over a quarter of a mile to bushwhack. Although it wasn’t easy, I think it was easier than going back up the hill. Once we got to the campsite at the bottom of the Hillockburn trail, we stopped for a break and had lunch. After lunch (where we saw a few sun breaks), we looked for a log to cross the river on. We had been informed that there was a good log to cross near the campsite. A little bit downstream from the campsite, there was a good candidate. Crossing the log was relatively uneventful, and from there we bushwhacked back to where the trail crossed the river to find the old tread (what is left of it). The lower part of this trail is not very well defined – between marshy areas and lots of blowdown, you have to pay close attention. We kept looking for cut logs – that is how we followed this lower section of trail. We did not see any blazes down lower and ended up losing the trail not too far from the start. We wandered around looking for bench, but didn’t find any (we had wandered too far south), but we did find some interesting side hill meadows:

There was some sort of waterfall on the creek down below, but we didn’t feel comfortable going down to look – the walls were close to vertical as you got farther downhill, so this is the best shot I could get of it:

Above that little creek was this massive cliff face, which was very interesting:


After heading uphill looking for tread (and feeling like a goat since it was so steep) we decided to head farther north to see if we could find more trail. We ended up stumbling back across the trail! From this point, the trail was actually really easy to follow for the most part, with blazed and well defined tread.

The occasional blowdown mess made for tough going, but once you were past the blowdown, the trail was easy to follow. We followed it for a while, until it got to a point with a LOT of blowdown that was really big. Just up the hill from this, it almost looked like a thinning area where there was even more blowdown and made the trail very difficult to follow. The good news is that someone has been in there and it is reasonably well flagged. I added a few more flags to help navigate through some of these areas. After navigating through one final area of blowdown, and having the trail become rather faint (and also getting pretty tired), we decided to turn around. We ended up going up to within about 1/4 mile of an old road (at least it shows on the map). This was our turnaround spot:

On the way back down, I took a few more photos than on the way up. Here are remnants of an old footbridge:

Here are some of the MANY BIG trees (I think they are larger on this side of the canyon):

Some of the easier to follow trail through smaller trees:

We successfully followed the trail back downhill, recognizing where we lost it (we missed a switchback), and made it safely back across the South Fork River (I think this picture was taken while I was crossing the log over the river):

Once across we did our final bushwhack back to the campsite and trail, and then headed back uphill to the car. I have to tell you, that hike back uphill seemed a lot longer than I remember it! I’m sure it was because I was so tired. This was more bushwhacking than I’ve done in quite some time, and all of it was rather difficult. Very brushy, lots of trees to crawl over or under. It was good to get back to the car and rest my weary legs. I slept very well that night.

The abandoned trail on the east side of the South Fork Clackamas River deserves some attention. It is in really good shape other than the blowdown areas and goes through some absolutely beautiful forest. That will have to wait for another day, however.

A couple of videos of the waterfall:

5/1/2011 – Hillockburn Trail – 516

Date of Hike: 5/1/2011
Location of Hike: Hillockburn Trail
Trail Number: 516
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:30 AM  End Time: 1:30 PM
Hike Distance: 3.3 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a short hike down the South Fork of the Clackamas River on the Hillockburn trail. I didn’t have a lot of time for a hike on this day, but really needed to get out and stretch my legs and enjoy nature. The weather was BEAUTIFUL! This is a short trail that is pretty close to home, so it worked out OK. The start of this trail is very depressing due to all the garbage and abuse, however there is one corner that you turn on the trail and it completely changes from an abused area, to a beautiful area with wonderful scenery. The noise and abuse you saw earlier literally disappears. It is almost magical.

I spent a little while down at the river, enjoying the sounds of the river and eating lunch.

I spied the trail that continues up the other side, and am going to try and do that trail later this summer.

A short, but great day out.

4/1/2007 – Hillockburn Trail

Date of Hike: 4/1/2007
Location of Hike: Hillockburn Trail
Trail Number: 516
Weather during Hike: Partly Cloudy and cool
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 12:00 PM
Hike Distance: 3  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a short hike down to the South Fork of the Clackamas River. The beginning of the trail was rather “urban”, with a fair amount of garbage, etc. The first two thirds of the hike was relatively new 2nd and 3rd growth (30-40 year old) doug fir mostly. You also hear a fair amount of noise from the ATV’s and motorcycles and shooting. You come to one bend in the trail, and all the noise disappears and you start hearing the river. The big payoff is at the end of the trail, near the river where the trees get older and bigger.

The end of the trail would be a nice place for a picnic in the summer.

Bodie and I had a nice time. It was a short hike, but one I will probably come back to, especially in the winter.