Stahlman Point

  • Moderate
  • 4.6 miles round trip
  • 1340 feet elevation gain
  • Open except in winter storms
  • Use: hikers, horses, bicycles

This handy trail on the quiet side of Detroit Lake climbs past a spring and an old-growth glen to a clifftop lookout site with a smashing view of Mt. Jefferson. Even when snow closes other hikes in the High Cascades, the path to Stahlman Point is almost always open and uncrowded.

In 1880, a flamboyant railroad entrepreneur named Colonel T. Egenton Hogg convinced European investors to stake the phenomenal sum of $15 million to build a transcontinental line connecting Newport, Oregon with New York. When his grand Oregon Pacific Railroad scheme went bankrupt in 1889, track had been laid from the Pacific only as far as Idanha, 6 miles beyond Detroit. In the decades that followed, Detroit’s forests rode those rails down to mills in Albany.

In the summer of 1952, rising waters behind 463-foot-tall Detroit Dam inundated the railroad and the original townsite. The old town’s foundations can still be seen half a mile southwest of the current town when the reservoir drains for winter. If you’re hiking to Stahlman Point when the reservoir is full, you’ll hear the distant growl of powerboats and see glimpses across the lake to Piety Knob, an island created by the dam.

In June look for wildflowers both high and low. Pink-blooming rhododendrons grow 15 feet tall in these woods, while the cute double bells of twinflower rise just 3 inches from the duff.

To find the trailhead from Salem, drive …

This chapter is an excerpt from 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades.