Tag Archives: 564

6/13/2020 – Rho Creek Trail – 569

Date of Hike: 6/13/2020
Location of Hike: Rho Creek Trail
Trail Number: 569
Weather during Hike: Overcast with periods of rain and sunbreaks
Hiking Buddies: Kirk, Ollie and Thor
Start Time: 10:45 AM  End Time: 5:00 PM
Hike Distance: 9.4 miles  Elevation Gain: 2200 feet
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was to revisit a trail I haven’t been on for over 6 years. Kirk and I hiked this trail on New Years day of 2014 (a winter with way below normal snowfall). When we were coming back down last week, we passed 4671 and I thought about Rho Ridge and I thought it would be good to hike it again. I’m glad I did because my perceptions of the trail are very different this time from the last time I hiked it. I guess I have grown quite a bit in my hiking perspective in 6 years.The forecast for the day was rain early followed by showers and then potentially thunderstorms later in the afternoon. We decided that our “normal” time of 9am would be good, hoping that the rain would be done by the time we got to the trailhead. We got there a little before 11, got all of our rain gear on, and headed up the trail. Fortunately, the rain stopped by the time we started hiking. One thing I thought I remembered was this trail used to start closer to Rho Creek, but maybe my recollection is wrong. I seem to recall it starting with a “user trail” section, going thru some small pine/fir trees. I went back and looked and that is what it was when I hiked it in 2006. It appears someone located the original route all the way down to the road at some point.

We headed up the trail and soon saw evidence of recent maintenance:

A little farther long where the trail gets very close to Rho Creek we got this great view of it:

And a little farther we got to one of the rough spots – the crossing of Tumble Creek:

We crossed the creek on the big log and continued – there is a switchback just past the crossing and the trail starts climbing more aggressively. At some point along the way, we encountered the relatively new, very large uprooted tree:

We had to climb above the tree to get around it, but it wasn’t too bad. As we continued up (this trail gains 2000′ of elevation, so it is almost constantly going up). Along the way, I noticed that the rhodies were starting to bloom:

As we proceeded up, we got to this old post, which marked the intersection with an abandoned trail (the Tumble Creek trail) that headed north:

Here is a piece of the abandoned Tumble Creek trail – we only headed up a tenth of a mile or so:

After exploring the Tumble Creek trail, we continued up the trail, crossed the beginnings of Rho Creek and then got into the clearcut. We passed Fadeaway spring and continued up thru the clearcut. Near the upper part of the clearcut, Kirk saw this really interesting orange fungus on a relatively young tree:

When we got to the top of the clearcut we had a decent view of Peavine Mountain:

We got to the 4672 road and headed across, up the next segment of the trail. The trail continues to climb thru large old growth until it gets up to the flat area surrounding Rho Meadow. As we were heading up this segment, we found these bones right in the middle of the trail:

Somewhere near these bones the trail flattened out and there were lots of downed trees. They were almost all small trees (2-6″), with a few larger ones, but there was a lot of them, many times piled on top of each other. It made passage rather difficult. We passed the post that wet southeast towards the meadow and continued down the trail. We finally came to the collapsed Ranger/Guard station at Rho Meadow:

We stopped there for lunch – there were a few bugs, but not too bad. It threatened to rain on us, but we mostly stayed dry. After we ate, we decided to continue west, following some flagging – there were trails going all over the place from this spot – it was the center of a lot back in the day.

We were able to follow the trail for a while, but at some point lost it. We just continued in the same general direction and soon came to a decommissioned road. It does not appear on any maps but appears to be a spur road off of 4670. We saw a flag and a blaze across the road and we followed it – this was the continuation of the trail. We also found the trail on our side of the road – it appears we were a little bit too low. Anyway, we followed the trail across the road and quickly intersected the Rho Ridge trail. We walked this out to the junction of 4670 and 6350 – Graham Pass. From there, we pondered going up to Mt Lowe, but I’m glad we didn’t -that would have added another 5 miles to our day and it was already about 3:00. Kirk remembered a trailgoing east from a hunters camp just up 4670. So we headed up there. We found the camp and then started searching for the trail. We never did find it, but we did end up finding the Rho Creek trail just west of the guard station. We then started hiking back and soon found the junction with the trail we had been looking for. We apparently didn’t go north quite far enough to hit this trail. Kirk did a short recon trip up the trail and then we started back.

As we were heading back, Thor saw those bones again. He decided he wanted to take one home, so he grabbed it and was carrying it for a while. After a tenth of a mile or so, I guess he decided it was too heavy or something and dropped it.

The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful – we were trying to make time since it was getting late. We only stopped once on the way back. We made it back to the truck about 5, just about as it started raining. It rained harder the closer we got to town. We were very fortunate with the weather.

We capped off the day with a trip to Fearless for a burger and a beer – it was the perfect way to end a great day of exploration.

10/9/2017 – Rho Ridge to Hawk Mountain

Date of Hike: 10/9/2017
Location of Hike: Rho Ridge Trail to Hawk Mountain
Trail Number: 564 and 564-A
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Thor
Start Time: 11:00 AM  End Time: 1:40 PM
Hike Distance: 4.2 miles  
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was kind of last minute. I had wanted to do a hike today, but after Saturday’s hike when Thor was limping around after we got home, I wasn’t sure he was up to doing another hike. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was either. I kind of decided last minute to go do this short hike – one of my favorites.

We headed out about 9:30am, and got to the trailhead about 11. When we got there, there were two cars there! I was amazed that there would be two other groups on a Monday! Anyway, we headed up and shortly met one of the groups already coming down. They said there was another group that was behind them. We caught up to them in a few minutes. They had two dogs, and I had Thor off leash and he wanted to play with his new “friends”. He wouldn’t come when I called (he apparently thought the dogs were more interesting than I was), so I had to go get him. They passed, and we headed back up. Unfortunately, there was a switchback and he saw them coming back, and so he ran down the hill to see them. I had to go get him again, and this time I put him on his leash since he was not obeying.

Anyway, we headed up, thru the clearcut area – fall colors were out in full display. The vine maple was literally on fire it was so bright. Here is a picture of Mt Jefferson with the vine maple in the foreground:

I guess this trip was mostly about the fall colors. Although I hate vine maple on the trail, it is certainly beautiful in the fall. I’m always amazed at how fluorescent the colors are. Pictures just don’t do it justice.

We continued up thru the clearcut and soon entered the woods. The trail and the woods were VERY quiet. It was very peaceful walking up to the cabin. We made good time and soon made it to the cabin. I setup my chair and we ate lunch and enjoyed the view of Mt Jefferson. After lunch, I opened up the cabin and explored inside. I just love this view from inside:

Thor didn’t seem to like being inside the cabin. Not sure what it was, but he was anxious to get back outside. So we walked around the area and I took a photo of Mt Jefferson and Olallie Butte from out towards the end of the meadow up on top:

Olallie has snow on it – I’m not sure how much longer we will have access to these high elevation trails this fall. Winter seems to be coming quickly this year.

This is probably my favorite picture of the day – The little cabin with Mt Jefferson in the background and all the fall colors in the foreground:

We enjoyed the view for a little while longer but Thor was anxious to start hiking again, so I closed up the cabin and we headed back down. As we were going down, I was wondering if I’d see any phone line insulators – there was a short piece of phone line on the trail near the top. So on the way down I made a concerted effort to scan the trees and see if I found any. I only saw one (and this isn’t a very good photo of it):

We made excellent time on the way down – it isn’t very far. When we got back to the clearcut, I snapped this photo of Olallie Butte with the fall colors in the foreground:

We got back to the truck a little after 1:30. I know that one of my friends had located the continuation of this trail and so I did a little looking across the road to see if I could find where the trail picked up, but nothing looked promising. So we got into the truck and headed back down the hill. When we got to the junction with 6350, I decided to go straight – down 4671 so I could check out the Rho Creek trailhead on the way home. The weirdest thing happened – I stopped at the trailhead, and a tow truck came the other way! I drove up to meet him since he had pulled over at a wide spot. He asked if I saw a car back up the road and I replied no. I Asked where it was supposed to be and he said road 46. I told him this wasn’t road 46 and asked him where it was supposed to be on road 46 and he said “2 or 3 miles from something”. I hadn’t seen any cars on 46 on my way in – I’m not sure how they got a call out. He said it was kind of a wild goose chase and he would keep looking. I hope he found whoever was needing help. I didn’t see anyone on my way out along 46 that looked like they needed a tow truck. Kind of a strange way to end the day!

This was a very short, but relaxing day out in the woods. Just about perfect weather for hiking – I love fall hiking.

5/25/2015 – Hawk Mountain

Date of Hike: 5/25/2015
Location of Hike: Rho Ridge and Hawk Mountain Trails
Trail Number: 564 and 564-A
Weather during Hike: Mostly Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 12:15 PM  End Time: 2:45 PM
Hike Distance: 4.2 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
Todays hike almost didn’t happen. I had wanted to it to be a family hike with the dog (while he is still able to hike). No one else seemed interested, and I almost didn’t go, but mid morning, I decided to do it. Bodie and I got in the truck and headed out about 10:30. That is much later than I usually go, but this was going to be a short hike, so I knew it would be OK.
It has been a long time since I’ve been to this cabin (I think it was 2011), but I remember the wonderful view of Mt Jefferson you get from driving along the 6350 road:

Olallie Butte has a nice view as well – it has lost almost all of its snow – that is telling how little snow we got this year – the top of it is over 7000′:

We drove to the trailhead, parked, and got ready. Someone appeared to be camped nearby – I could hear voices to the south somewhere, although I didn’t see any vehicles. We headed down the trail, and I quickly remembered how neat it was going thru the beginning of the trail – thru the old clearcut. It gives you another impressive view of of Olallie and Jefferson:

We headed into the woods and walked the trail, enjoying the solitude and peace. The temperature was just about perfect. I wasn’t sweating too much, but wasn’t cold, either – without a jacket on. We continued on until we got to a spring I saw a photo of recently, but never remembered seeing it before:

And on the trail next to it was a tree with a very unique blaze pattern – not sure what it means (I’m guessing it has something to do with the spring):

A little farther down the trail, we passed Round Meadow (the source of Round Lake):

Shortly, we got to the junction of the 564-A trail to Hawk Mountain and up we went. Along the way, I found another interesting blaze pattern – I don’t know what 2 on the left, one on the right means?:

We continued up to the top until we got to the cabin on top of Hawk Mountain – cute little cabin:

I opened up the windows to let it air about a bit, and started looking at the logbooks that were there that people had signed over the years. I took some photos of some interesting ones:




I absolutely LOVE this view from inside the cabin – looking out to Mt Jefferson:

I sat in the cabin for a bit, reading the entries and just enjoying being in there. After a while, I closed it all back up and went out and sat in the sun and ate a snack and enjoyed the views from on top of Hawk Mountain. Bodie poked around, sniffing everything in sight. After about 15 minutes, I decided we should head out, so we could get home on time. We headed back down the trail and made great time back to the truck.

A very quiet and pleasant day in the woods.

P.S. – The better way to get to this trailhead is to take 46 all the way down to where 6350 intersects and then take that north to the 6355 road. It is a LOT better driving than doing all the gravel roads. Probably slightly longer, but it has to be a LOT faster.

9/24/2011 – Rho Ridge Complete – 564

Date of Hike: 9/24/2011
Location of Hike: Rho Ridge Trail
Trail Number: 564 and 564-A
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Start Time: 10:00 AM  End Time: 4:30 PM
Hike Distance: 12 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
In my ongoing quest to hike all of the trails in the Clackamas district, one on my list was the Rho ridge trail. Without doing an overnighter, hiking 22.5 miles in one day (up and back) is too much for me. Although this trail has good intermediate access at several points, I still wanted to do the whole trail in one day if possible. The next best thing is to do a shuttle hike, leaving a car at each end.

We got an early start to the day, since it would be a reasonably long day, and the days are getting shorter. We met at the ranger station at 8am and headed out. We got to the northern trailhead about 9:15 or so, dropped one vehicle and headed to the southern trailhead. We started our hike a little before 10 I think. We decided we would make the short hike up the cabin on Hawk mountain. Last time I was up there in the fall there was a wasp nest in the porch and I got stung. This time, no wasp nest. There were some more things in the cabin, and someone had posted 4 photos showing what things looked like when it was in use. It was pretty cool to see – the tower had a second temporary tower next to it- probably when they were building it. There was also another building to the side.

After visiting the cabin for a bit, we wandered back down the side trail and back onto the main Rho Ridge trail. The trip was pretty uneventful – it was a warm day but there was a slight breeze blowing. I was a little surprised that there weren’t more views, especially on the southern end of the trail. Most of the trail you are on a ridge, but hidden in the trees. The views are mostly on the northern end of the trail. We did get a really good look at the Motherlode fire from the old lookout site on Mt Lowe. Although the fire had died down over the last week or so, the warmer temperatures and wind had whipped it up again, and there was lots of smoke from the Battle Creek drainage.

The trail crosses quite a few old roads, many of them closed or decommissioned. Right at the northern trailhead we found a bounty of ripe huckleberries. We stopped and ate a few of them, but we were running a little bit late so we didn’t have time to pick any to take home – just a few for the ride home. Stopped at Fearless brewing in Estacada for the annual launch of their strong scotch ale – good stuff!

A great, but tiring day in the woods….

P.S. – I have about 8 more trails to finish before I hike all the trails. I won’t be able to finish this year – will have to wait until next year…..

6/23/2007 – Hawk Mountain and Mt Lowe

Date of Hike: 6/23/2007
Location of Hike: Hawk Mountain and Mt Lowe
Trail Number: 564
Weather during Hike: Ranged from sunny to partly cloudy
Hiking Buddies: Bodie (my dog)
Start Time: 9:45 AM  End Time: 2:45 PM
Hike Distance: 6  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
What a day! Started out hiking to Hawk Mountain, which was beautiful with the views of Mt Jefferson

and all the wildflowers in bloom.

We got up to Hawk Mountain and spent some time eating lunch and enjoying the cabin.

Read the log book and left an entry. Interesting stories people have about the place!

Hiked back down and took quite a few pictures. The wildflowers were spectacular! On the way home, decided to make a small detour and do the Mt Lowe trail, since it was only about a half mile each way.


On the way, saw a big elk right in the middle of the road! By the time I found my camera, he was long gone. Got to what I thought was the trailhead for Mt Lowe, and the directions weren’t too good, but still ended up finding the trail and getting to the top. Interesting place with a wonderful view. By the time we got home, both of us were pretty tired….

11/6/2004 – Hawk Mountain

Date of Hike: 11/6/2004
Location of Hike: Hawk Mountain
Trail Number: 564 and 564-A
Weather during Hike: Cool and Relatively Clear
Hike Distance: 4.5 miles  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
This was a really fun hike I did late in the year (November-See the snow!). It goes up to Hawk Mountain, which has that neat little cabin on it, and BEAUTIFUL views of Mount Jefferson. There are also quite a few interesting features on the trail going in. This has to be one of the coolest short hikes around.