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Eastern Oregon Trail Updates

100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon, 3rd edition (c) 2018, 2015. Next edition with updates: April 2021.

Be the first to report a trail update, and win a prize! Send updates to sullivan@efn.org.

-- #4 Macks Canyon -- The trail on the abandoned railroad grade is fine for the first 2.3 miles of the suggested hike, but 0.3 mile before the recommended lunch spot at Sixteen Canyon a rancher has built an illegal barbed wire fence across the public right of way. He's obviously trying to keep his cows in line, but also trying to claim public land as his own. Hello, Bundys! There are no signs, but until this illegal fence can be removed, hikers on the railroad trail may find it difficult to continue the final 0.3 mile to Sixteen Canyon.

-- #7 Gray Butte -- The long mountain bike loop to Smith Rock described in earlier editions of the book (and still shown on the map) is no longer possible. The bridge across the canal from Lambert Ave. to the Burma Road has been gated closed to the public.

-- #12 Obsidian Flow & Paulina Peak -- You can't drive your car to Paulina Peak in summer anymore. Instead, from the Memorial Day weekend to the Labor Day weekend, you take a shuttle bus that leaves from the Visitor Center every 20 minutes.

-- #15 Mill Creek and Twin Pillars -- All is well until you leave Mill Creek and start uphill toward Twin Pillars. This portion of the trail is a hot uphill climb with no shade (due to past fires). The sign marking Twin Pillars is burnt and unreadable, and the side trail to the viewpoint at the pillars' base is gone; bushwhacking to that viewpoint is possible, but rough.

-- #23-27 -- Trailheads on the south side of Strawberry Mountain are accessed by a turnoff from Highway 395, south of John Day 10 (or 9.7) miles. This turnoff is no longer marked by a "Wickiup CG" sign, but rather a generic brown recreation/trailhead pointer, and the road does begin as Road 65, but then changes to Road 15.

-- #23 East Fork Canyon Creek -- A 2015 wildfire burned the access road, the trailhead, and the first 3 miles of the trail for this hike. Although the start of the hike is now less attractive, the upper country above Brookling Creek remains nice. As of 2018, the trail within a quarter mile of Brookling Creek has been rerouted to the south side of Canyon Creek. Also, the loop around Indian Creek Butte is difficult because fire damage and low maintenance have left the trails in that area sketchy, with brush and fallen logs. Occasional cairns and ribbons help with route finding.

-- #28 Canyon Mountain -- A 2015 wildfire burned the trailhead and the first 3.3 miles of the trail for this hike, as far as Dog Creek.
-- #44 Lower Wenaha River -- The footbridge over Crooked Creek washed out in the winter of 2015/2016. It is quite practicable to ford the creek here in summer, but not in winter. A replacement bridge is being considered by the Forest Service.

-- #76 Pine Lakes -- The footbridge across Pine Creek at the one-mile mark of the trail has been damaged by a flood. The bridge now tilts 45 degrees and only has a handrail on the upper side, so some hikers turn back.

-- #77 Fort Rock -- The Oregon State Parks Dept. is now offering guided tours of Fort Rock Cave for $10 on Thursdays or Fridays from late May through July. To sign up, check https://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=170https://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=170

-- #79 Hager Mountain -- All the driving directions are correct except for a small change in the route to the gated road which is the shortest possible route to the lookout tower. You will drive on Road 036 for just 1.9 miles (not 3.9 miles) before turning left on Road 497 for 2.6 miles to the locked gate.

-- #80 Summer Lake -- Parking permits for the wildlife refuge are now $10 per day or $30 per year.

-- #81 Winter Ridge -- The hike as described is fine, except that it is faint and has fallen logs, but you might note that five miles of the Fremont Trail to the south of Government Harvey Pass burned in 2018 and may be in worse condition for some time.

-- #85 Modoc Lava Beds -- The entry fee has been raised to $15 per car.

-- #91 Little Blitzen River -- The trailhead for Little Blitzen Gorge has been moved half a mile to the west. You now park at a trailhead lot on the south side of the Steens Loop Road between the entrance to the South Steens Campground and the Equestrian  Campground. There is a restroom here. The trail itself begins on the opposite side of the road. This change adds a mile round-trip to the hike. Also, do not expect a log at any creek crossing; expect to wade.

-- #92A NEW TRAILHEAD -- The BLM opened a new trailhead in September 2019 to the otherwise hard-to-access southwest segment of the Steens Mountain Wilderness. The Threemile Creek Trailhead is on the paved Frenchglen-Fields Road, 25 miles south of Frenchglen and 25 miles north of Fields. A mapboard at the new, well-marked trailhead shows a trail going up Threemile Creek's canyon, and a spur trail that climbs out of the canyon to the plateau to the north, making access possible to Home Creek's canyon.

-- #93 Pike Creek -- Part of the trailhead and camping area at Pike Creek is now being managed by the Alvord Ranch. If you park at or before the house-sized boulder with a juniper growing out of it, you must first drive 2.2 miles south to Alvord Hot Springs, where you can buy a parking permit for $5, or a camping permit for $30. However, if you drive up Pike Creek beyond the house-sized boulder you are on public land where you can camp or park for free. This upper area is reachable only by vehicles with high clearance. From this area above the house-sized boulder, hikers should hop across the creek and follow the old mining road (now a trail) up the canyon for the hike itself.

At Alvord Hot Springs itself, the fee is now $8/person and is good for use all day, from 9am to 8pm.

-- #97 Leslie Gulch -- When driving north from Jordan Valley to this hike, take Highway 95 north for 17 miles (not 27 miles!) before turning left at a sign for Succor Creek.

-- #100 Three Forks -- The correct GPS location for the parking area at Three Forks is 42.5463, -117.1688.

-- #118 Joaquin Miller Trail -- A 2015 wildfire burned the trailhead and the first 4 miles of this trail.

More Hikes -- The Klamath Ridge View Trail runs parallel above Lakeshore Drive in Klamath Falls, with views of Upper Klamath Lake and the Cascades. Start at Moore Park.

More Hikes -- The Spence Mountain Trail, west of Klamath Falls off Highway 140, has 30 miles of finished trail and more miles planned, open to mountain bikes, horses, and skiers in winter. The trail network will eventually extend with a loop to Howard's Bay. For more information, contact Dennis Taugher at the Klamath Trails Alliance, dennistaugher@me.com. Spence Mountain is also featured as Hike #140 in the 4th edition of "100 Hikes: Southern Oregon".