Central Oregon Trail Updates
100 Hikes: Central Oregon Cascades (c)2023.
This book updates and replaces the 5th edition of "100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades." The new book includes several new hikes and adds 16 pages to the "More Hikes" section at the back of the book. Many of the trails that burned in recent wildfires have been moved to that expanded section at the back, complete with maps and more detailed information.
Be the first to report a trail update, and win a prize! Send updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hot Springs -- Terwilliger (Cougar) Hot Springs now charges $10 per person. The parking area is 0.1 mile beyond the trailhead. Deer Creek Hot Springs closed temporarily for the fall of 2023 as a precaution because of a nearby wildfire.
-- #5 Opal Creek -- Although the Little North Fork Road reopened to the public in September 2023, the trails in the Little North Fork Canyon did not. The last 4.2 miles of the access road to the Opal Creek Trailhead remain gated closed to cars, bikes, and hikers. The Opal Creek Trail is not expected to reopen until at least 2025.
-- #68 and #69 Sahalie Falls and Tamolitch (Blue) Pool -- The McKenzie River Trail was closed in the fall of 2023 as a precaution because the Lookout Fire was burning nearby. The trails will reopen for 2024.
-- #71 Castle Rock -- For the final 1.8 miles of the drive to the upper Castle Rock Trailhead, the road technically changes number from Road 480 to Road 482. There are no signs alerting you to this shift, and there is really only the one road to the trailhead, so the only people who are likely to be confused are those who trust Google Maps for directions on back roads. Don't be one of them.
-- #73 Lowder Mountain -- The access roads to this trailhead were temporarily closed in the fall of 2023. The road across Cougar Dam closed becuase of work on the dam. Horse Creek Road 2638 closed as a precaution because of fires burning nearby. Both routes should reopen for 2024.
-- #79 Fall Creek -- This trail closed again in August 2023 when the Bedrock Fire burned through the area. The fire destroyed the spectacular 90-foot Fall Creek footbridge that had been featured as a half-mile destination from Road 1828. The Fall Creek Trail is now likely to remain closed until 2025. As of August 23, 2023 the fire had not burned Dolly Varden Campground, the Little Cowhown Lookout Trail, or the Tall Timber Trail, but access roads and adjacent areas did burn, as did the Fall Creek Trail east of Big Pool Campground.
-- #92 Bobby Lake -- The round-trip mileage to Bobby Lake is 5 miles, as shown on the map, and not 4.4 miles, as shown in the info box.
-- #103 Shellburg Falls -- The access roads to this hike (Wagner Road and Ayers Road) remained closed in 2023 but are expected to reopen in 2024.
-- #104 and #105 Little North Santiam and Henline Falls -- Although the Little North Fork Road reopened to cars in September 2023, the trails here will remain closed until they can be made safe for hikers. They are unlikely to reopen until the summer of 2025.
-- #120 South Breitenbush Gorge -- The trailhead was accessibe in 2023, but the trail merely leads 300 feet down to the unbridged South Breitenbush River. It's likely to be 2025 before a bridge can be built and the remainder of the trail reopened.
-- #121 Lower Breitenbush Hot Springs -- The trailhead parking area was accessible in 2023, but there is no sign and there is no trail. The forest here burned in 2020. Only the hardiest of bushwhackers would attempt to struggle through burned debris, logs, and weeds for half a mile to the free hot springs by the river.
-- #122 Triangulation Peak and Boca Cave -- This trail and its access road remained closed in 2023 due to fire damage from 2020 that the Forest Service has been painfully slow to repair. The trail may reopen in 2024.
-- #147 Lookout Creek -- This trail burned in August 2023 and will be closed until about 2026.
-- #148 Frissel Trail -- the upper portion of this trail burned in August 2023. The entire trail will be closed until about 2025.
-- #149 to #155 -- All of these trails were closed for the fall of 2023 as a precaution, in case the Lookout Fire spread from the north side of the McKenzie canyon. Rainbow Falls, Separation Creek, Substitute Point, East Fork McKenzie, Olallie Mountain, French Pete Creek, and Rebel Creek will all reopen in 2024.
-- #158 North Fork Middle Fork -- This easy old-growth forest trail is officially called the Shale Ridge Trail. At the trailhead, do not go right on the North Fork Trail; instead curve left onto the Shale Ridge Trail. The crossing of Skookum Creek is 2.1 miles up the trail. This creek is usually easy to cross on logs and rocks. Beyond the crossing another 0.9 mile you'll reach the unbridged North Fork Middle Fork Willamette River, a scenic turnaround point.
NEW Hike -- #125a Pine Ridge Trail to Marion Mountain -- The viewpoint of Mt. Jefferson Wilderness atop Marion Mountain is often reached by hiking to Marion Lake (Hikes #23), but a shorter route follows the Pine Ridge Trail 4 miles through completely unburned forest, gaining only 800 feet of elevation. Advance permits for day hikers and backpackers are required on either trail from June 15 to October 15 at recreation.gov . The Pine Ridge Trailhead is next to Boy Scout Camp Pioneer, To drive there, take Highway 22 east of Salem 69 miles (or west of the Santiam Y junction 11 miles). Milepost 69 may be missing, where it ought to be (4 miles southeast of Marion Forks), turn east at a sign for Twin Meadows Road. Follow this paved one-lane road 5 miles, ignore the gated entrance to Camp Pioneer on the left, and continue straight on gravel 0.1 mile to the trailhead parking area at road's end. The trail from here meanders 0.2 mile to a 4-way trail junction. (The unmarked trail to the left leads 0.2 mile to Camp Pioneer where a 0.6-mile trail circles Pine Ridge Lake). Go straight to continue on the Pine Ridge Trail. At the 1.9-mile mark a side trail to the left descends 0.3 mile to shallow Temple Lake, with a campsite and a view of Mt. Jefferson's upper half. Continue on the Pine Ridge Trail another 1.3 miles to a well-marked junction and turn right on the Marion Mountain Trail for 0.8 steepish miles to the summit viewpoint.
100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades, 5th Edition (c)2021.
2022 FIRE CLOSURES -- The Waldo Lake Wilderness closed in August 2022 because of the Cedar Creek Fire, which has now burned most of the area north and west of Waldo Lake, to within 8 miles of Oakridge.
Trail damage and hazard trees from the large September 2020 wildfires have entirely closed road access and a dozen trailheads in the Mt. Jefferson and Santiam Canyon areas throughout the 2022 hiking season; the trailless and roadless areas reopened in August 2022, but are virtually inaccessible. The Pacific Crest Trail opened through the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness in late August, 2022. Reopened as of August 2022 are the Stahlman Point Trail (Hike #5), the lower trailhead to Tumble Ridge (Hike #107), and the Elk Lake Campground area. Until at least the summer of 2023 it is not possible to access the following hikes: #4 Shellburg Falls, #5 Little North Santiam, #6 Henline Falls and Mountain, #7 Opal Creek, #8 Dome Rock and Tumble Lake, and #21 Jefferson Park. All routes to Jefferson Park, except the Pacific Crest Trail, will be closed until the summer of 2023.
Breitenbush Hot Springs wellness resort reopened in May 2022 (see www.breitenbush.com), so Hike #123 (formerly #20) for Breitenbush Hot Springs may be accessible, especially for those who have reservations at the resort, but Hike #122 for South Breitenbush Gorge is likely to remain closed until at least the summer of 2023.
BACKPACKING PERMITS -- Advance permits are now required for overnight use anywhere in the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, or Three Sisters Wilderness Areas from June 15 to October 15. You can get these permits starting on the first Tuesday in April online at www.recreation.gov (search for "Central Cascades") or by calling 1-877-444-6777 . The permits cost $6 per group for overnight trips. About 60% of the permits will be held back and will be available at 7am exactly one week before you go. If you really want a permit, and you didn't get one in April, log onto recreation.gov at 7am exactly 7 days before your backpacking trip starts. The permit is valid for entry at a specific trailhead on a specific date for a group of up to 12, but then does not limit where or how long you stay in any of the three Wilderness Areas once you set out on the trail. The number of overnight permits issued roughly matches the actual number of legal campsites in an area. The upside of the permit system is that you are virtually guaranteed a site if you have a permit, and that people will not be tempted to damage fragile areas by creating new campsites. Campfires are banned in these wilderness areas above 5700 feet of elevation, so plan on bringing a stove.
DAY USE PERMITS -- Day users are required to get an advance permit to set out from any of 19 high-use trailheads in the Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three Sisters Wilderness Areas from June 15 to October 15. About 40% of the permits will be available starting at 7am exactly 10 days before the date of your trip, and the rest will be available exactly 2 days before you go. You can get these permits for a $1-per-person fee online at www.recreation.gov (search for "Central Cascades") or by calling 1-877-444-6777 . The number of permits issued roughly matches the number of parking spots at the trailhead. The upside of this system is that you will be virtually guaranteed a parking spot. Pacific Crest Trail through-hikers are exempted from this permit system. The affected trailheads for day users are:
Mt. Jefferson Wilderness -- PCT Breitenbush (Hike #100 in the NW Oregon book), South Breitenbush (#21 Jefferson Park), Whitewater (#21 Jefferson Park), Pamelia Lake (#22), Marion Lake (#23), Duffy Lake (#24), and Jack Lake (#27 Canyon Creek Meadows).
Mt. Washington Wilderness -- PCT McKenzie Pass (#50 Little Belknap Crater) and Benson Lake (#48).
Three Sisters Wilderness -- Scott Trail (#47 Four-In-One Cone), Obsidian Trail (#46), Lava Camp (#51 Matthieu Lakes), Tam McArthur Rim (#55), Todd Lake (#58), Crater Ditch (#58), Broken Top (#58), Green Lakes (#60), Devils Lake (#61 South Sister), and Sisters Mirror Lake (#62).
Hot Springs -- Terwilliger Hot Springs ("Cougar Hot Springs") -- The access road from the McKenzie Hwy 126 (Aufderheide Drive 19) was closed by a landslide in April 2022, but should now be open. This hot springs has had trouble with closures! It reopened in late June 2019, after the entire area burned in August 2018. A few green trees remain in the hot springs' glen. The Scorpion volunteer trail crew rebuilt the trail to the hot springs. The fee for the hot springs trail is now $7.
Trail Condition Reports by Cascade Volunteers -- Volunteer trail crews have created a website with detailed trail-by-trail reports on brush, logs, and other hazards. Check these pages for additional info about current conditions for Hikes #1-23 (Santiam and Mt. Jefferson), or for Hikes #24-63 (Bend/Three Sisters), or for Hikes #64-100 (McKenzie and Upper Willamette),
-- #1 Silver Falls -- A new trailhead, group camp, and nature play area has been added 1 mile NW of North Falls, off Highway 214. The new trail descends 0.5 mile to a junction with the main trail system at Twin Falls.
-- #4 Shellburg Falls --The easy, lower trailhead to Shellburg Falls is permanently closed! The trails in this area burned in a September 2020 wildfire, although many trees have probably survived near creeks and in waterfall canyons. Local landowners used the fire as an excuse to block all practical access to the lower trailhead on Fern Ridge Road. The first mile of "trail" was actually a road with a public right of way. In early 2021, however, the parking area was filled with gravel and "No Trespassng" signs went up on the public road. It is now illegal to park anywhere nearby. As a result, the only access to the state-owned Shellburg Falls Recreation Area is from an iffy upper gravel road to the Shellburg Falls campground, accessed either from the Silver Falls loop highway or Wagner Road (out of Mehama), and then only when these routes are not closed because of logging. In short, Shellburg Falls is no longer a practical destination except for the determined hiker. In addition, the side trail to the Stassel Falls overlook is closed with a "No Trespassing" sign, and the trail is blocked with rocks and branches. In fact this 0.2-nuke side trail is public, but the overlook and the falls are not, so it makes sense to leave this waterfall alone.
-- #4 Little North Santiam -- All of the trails and roads in this area burned in a September 2020 wildfire. The trailheads and trails are likely to remain closed until the summer of 2023. As of spring 2022 the entire North Fork Road was still closed to visitors at Mehama, with a sign warning of $500 fines for violators.
-- #5 Stahlman Point -- This trail reopened in August 2022. Only the topmost portion of the trail burned in 2020, and actually improved views.
-- #6 Henline Falls and Mountain -- All of the trails and roads in this area burned in a September 2020 wildfire. The trailheads and trails are likely to remain closed until the summer of 2023.
-- #7 Opal Creek -- All of the trails and roads in this area burned in a September 2020 wildfire, although some trees near creeks survived. The trailheads and trails are closed until at least the summer of 2023. All of the buildings at Jawbone Flats burned except for Cabin #4 (which had been rebuilt in 1997 with fire-resistant materials) and the water treatment plant. The nonprofit Friends group that owns Jawbone Flats is slowly raising money to rebuild. Because the wooden "half bridges" part of the access road burned, it is not possible to drive to Jawbone Flats, so materials for rebuilding will have to be brought in by horse or by helicopter. The group is discussing whether it might not be best to leave Jawbone Flats accessible only by trail, to increase its isolation and its closeness to nature. Although the grove of giant trees at Cedar Flats did burn, the valley has a matrix of big trees that survived the fire, so it will once again be a destination for those who love ancient forests.
-- #8 (#107) Dome Rock and Tumble Lake -- All of the trails and roads in this area burned in a September 2020 wildfire, although some trees near the lake probably survived. The lower trailhead on Highway 22 at Detroit Lake reopened in August 2022, but the trail is damaged and the upper trailhead is likely to remain closed until the summer of 2023.
-- #9 Stahlman Point -- The Forest Service mysteriously closed this trail on June 1, 2021, although it had been open for several months and was perfectly hikable after the September 2020 fire. Only the summit of this peak burned in the fire; the trailhead and most of the trail did not. There are a few fallen trees to climb over. The summit now has a wider view that includes the town of Detroit. The closure order is both mysterious and maddening because this was one of the few open trails near Detroit, and the area is not at risk from hazard trees, road access problems, or special fire problems. Despite all of this, as of spring 2022, the closure is still in effect.
-- #10 Coffin Mountain -- The trailhead sign is missing at the Coffin Mountain Trailhead, but the parking area is still pretty obvious.
-- #14 House Rock -- The loop trail from the campground to House Rock Cave closed temporarily June 2022 due to river erosion, but is expected to reopen in late July 2022.
-- #15 Browder Ridge -- If you're driving here from Eugene, note that there is one new, confusing road junction. After turning off Highway 126 at the Ikenick Sno-Park onto (unmarked) Road 2672, drive this gravel road a mile to a T-shaped junction and turn right to continue on Road 2672 another 2 miles. Then turn left (as described in the book) on Heart Lake Road 1598 for 2.8 miles to the Gate Creek Trailhead.
-- #20 Breitenbush Hot Springs -- All of the trails and roads in this area burned in a September 2020 wildfire. Some of the infrastructure at the Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center was saved, but the cabins were not. The trailheads and trails are likely to remain closed until at least the summer of 2022. Until then the entire Breitenbush Road 46 is closed by a gate at Detroit.
-- #21 Jefferson Park -- All of the trails and trailheads in this area burned in a September 2020 wildfire. Jefferson Park itself is so sparsely forested that it probably received only minor damage. Nonetheless, all routes to Jefferson Park, including the Pacific Crest Trail, were closed in 2021, and may remain closed throughout 2022.. As of spring 2022 the Breitenbush Road 46 remains closed at Detroit, and the Whitewater Road is closed at its junction with Highway 22, in order to allow crews to log "hazard" trees. Ironically, the Whitewater Trail (the shortest route to Jefferson Park) had just reopened in August 2019, two years after a fire burned the entire route. From the parking lot to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, the Whitewater Trail was still in a severely burned zone, with lots of new views of Mt. Jefferson, lots of black snags, and the promising regrowth of new plants that come after a fire.
-- #39 Lava River Cave -- As of August 1, 2022, timed reservation permits must be purchased in advance from recreation.gov to visit the cave whenever the cave is open (9am-5pm Thurs-Mon from May 6 to May 31 and every day June 1 to September 15). Fourteen groups are allowed each half hour. Half of the permits will be made available at 7am exactly 30 days before a visit, and half at 7am the day before a visit.
-- #40 Newberry Caldera -- If you are starting your hike around Paulina Lake at Little Crater Campground, the only parking is now at the boat ramp. Then you have to walk 0.8 mile through the campground to the trailhead, where there is now an amphitheater.
-- #43 Proxy Falls and Linton Lake -- Although hikers do not need a special permit here, cars at the trailhead must have a NW Forest Pass or other parking permit. There is no cell phone coverage at the trailhead, so if you didn't bring a parking permit you'll have to drive to the McKenzie Bridge ranger station to buy one.
-- #47 Four-In-One Cone -- The connector trail between the Scott Lake and Obsidian trailheads has been closed for restoration, and is blocked with piles of dead wood. If you are hiking the grand 15-mile loop suggested in "Other Options" you will have to walk along the highway for the 0.6-mile section between trailheads.
-- #57 Mount Bachelor -- "No Parking" signs are now at the Sunrise Lodge trailhead along the shoulders of the Cascades Lakes Highway. This trailhead is closed! Instead you must park at the huge West Village parking lot. If you don't want to pay for the Pine Marten chairlift, you can still hike to the summit on a woodsy trail, but the route is 1.2 miles longer than from Sunrise. To start from West Village Lodge, walk up the cement walkway and turn left on a service road past the bottom of the Little Pine chairlift. Look there for circular yellow signs marked "Uphill Route." These identify the Summit Connection Trail that is roughly the same as the "Proposed Trail" marked on pre-2021 printings of the book's map. The Mt. Bachelor ski area began work in 2021 on a new alternate Mt. Bachelor Summit Trail loop, which should be completed by the summer of 2023. The new trail will start at the main West Village parking area, switchback up to Pine Marten Lodge, and then loop from there to the summit for a total of 5.5 miles. The new trail will be open to mountain bikes as well as hikers. Those who want to shorten the climb will be able to ride up to the Pine Marten Lodge on the Pine Marten Lift, which is open seven days a week in summer.
-- #66 Tamolitch (Blue) Pool -- The trailhead and trail have been rerouted somewhat to accommodate heavier traffic and reduce risk, but the hike is once again open.
-- #69 Tidbits Mountain -- The 2020 Holiday Farm Fire did not burn the trail here, but it did burn the access road, so the Forest Service has closed the route, probably until the summer of 2022..The access road was already in poor condition, with the Forest Service recommending that it be driven only by 4-wheel-drive vehicles. Cautious driving is advised.
-- #77 Fall Creek -- This trail closed in May 2019, but has begun to reopen in the summer of 2022 as crews cut out logs and repaired damage from the February 2019 snowstorm, which hit this area particularly hard. Expect local closures depending on the trail crews' progress.
-- #82 Blair Lake and Wall Creek -- A 2022 wildfire burned this entire area, from Wall Creek to Blair Lake and beyond. Roads and trails are likely to remain closed until 2025.
-- #84 Spirit, Moon, and Pinard Falls -- The drive to Pinard Falls required a detour in May 2021 via Roads 1702 to 1714 to 1790. This adds a few miles but the detour signs are bright and large. Presumably the detour is temporary.
-- #85 Brice Creek -- The Scorpion trail crew reopened trails here in August 2019, clearing damage from the February 2019 snowstorm, Be warned that the work has made the hiking here possible, but not necessarily easy.
-- #86 Bohemia Mountain -- A 2021 wildfire overswept the Bohemia City ghost town's valley and the Musick Guard Station, but not the summit of Bohemia Mountain or Fairview Peak.
-- #87 Waldo Mountain Lookout -- A 2022 wildfire has burned this area. Roads and trails are likely to remain closed until 2025. The lookout building was wrapped in Kevlar before the fire and survived, although the fire burned over the summit and down to the shore of Waldo Lake. The fire skipped the trailhead itself, the first half mile of trail, and a mile-wide circle that includes the Salmon Lakes.
-- #88 West Waldo Lake -- A 2022 wildfire has burned all of this area, including the access road and east to the shore of Waldo Lake. Roads and trails are likely to remain closed until 2025.
-- #89 Fuji Mountain -- A 2022 wildfire burned the north side of this mountain, but not the trail or the trailhead on the south side. Because 3 miles of the access road are in the burn zone, however, roads and trails are likely to remain closed until the summer of 2024.
-- #90 South Waldo Lake -- A 2022 wildfire did not burn the Shadow Bay Campground, the first mile of this hike, or the South Waldo Shelter. The fire did, however, burn Bingo Lake, Black Mountain, and the entire west shore of Waldo Lake. As a result, trails here are likely to remain closed until 2024.
-- #91 Bobby Lake and The Twins -- This area was not affected by the 2022 wildfire that burned the north and west shores of Waldo Lake, The trails here are expected to reopen for the summer of 2023.
-- #92 North Waldo Lake -- A 2022 wildfire has burned all of this area, including the North Waldo Campground, Islet Campground, the Rigdon Lakes, and the entire north and west shores of Waldo Lake. Roads and trails are likely to remain closed until 2025.
-- #103 Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top -- These two short trails reopened October 2022 after being completely rebuilt by the Santiam State Forest. A 2020 wildfire had burned the area, which actually improves views. From milepost 37 of Highway 22 at Niagara (halfway between Detroit and Mehama), take gravel Niagara Heights Road 6 miles south to the well-signed Natural Rock Arch Trailhead, or another 1.8 rough miles to the Rocky Top Trailhead. The rock arch trail loses 400 feet of elevation in 0.5 mile. The Rocky Top trail gains 700 feet of elevation in 0.7 mile. The last 2 miles of the road are so rocky that cars must be driven at a walking pace in places to avoid tire damage.
. --#110 Battle Ax -- This hike reopened in September 2022 after a two-year fire closure. Elk Lake and Battle Ax were spared by wildfires in 2020 and 2021, but the area around Twin Lakes burned intensely. Three miles of the access road have been improved a little, but the last 2.9 miles are still so rocky and rough that cars have to be driven at a walking pace in places to avoid tire damage. The only allowed parking is at the Elk Lake Campground, so the Battle Ax Mountain loop hike is 7.2 miles round trip. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and boots. Because the trail was closed for two years, portions have become brushy. When you reach the summit of Battle Ax, the continuation of the loop trail is not obvious. Walk straight through the lookout site, squeeze left past a rock outcrop, and follow a faint path north along the crest of a rocky ridge. After 0.2 mile the trail switchbacks down to the left, and then becomes easy to find.
--#114 Middle Santiam River -- If you are hiking the abandoned road through the old landslide, between the abandoned Middle Santiam River bridge and the gravel access road, be aware that new user trails have been built that shortcut the lengthy switchbacks of the abandoned road. The shortcuts are not official and can be confusing.
--#134 Head of Jack Creek -- The trail is now actually 1.2 miles, although the trailhead sign says it's 1 mile and the book says 0.5.
-- #141 Boyd Lava Cave -- The driving directions to this popular short lava tube hike have changed due to a new divider in the middle of Highway 97. Drive Hwy 97 south of Bend 2 miles to Baker Rd/Knott Rd Exit #143, turn east on Knott Road for 1.2 miles, turn right on paved China Hat Road 18 for 9 miles, and turn left onto rough dirt Road 242 for 0.2 mile to the parking turnaround at road's end.
-- #155 Olallie Mountain -- The fire lookout building here burned mysteriously in the winter of 2019-2020. It had survived the 2017 fire that burned most of the trail even though it had not been wrapped in fireproof Kevlar. It was the last fire lookout in the Three Sisters Wilderness. The trail is open, although all but the first 0.4 mile burned in 2017.
-- #156 French Pete Creek -- This trail will be blocked by falling snags from the 2018 fire until at least the fall of 2019, and perhaps longer.
-- #157 Rebel Creek -- Falling trees from the 2017 fire blocked this trail in early 2019, and probably will not be cleared until the summer of 2020.
-- #173 Eula Ridge -- Jackstrawed logs from the February 2019 snowstorm blocked this trail, and may not be cleared until the summer of 2020. The nearby Hardesty Mountain and Eagles Rest trails, however, have been reopened.
-- #191 Lillian Falls -- A 2022 wildfire burned this entire area, including the Goddard Loop, Lillian Falls, and the west shore of Waldo Lake. Roads and trails are likely to remain closed until 2025.
-- #192 Eddeeleo Lakes -- A 2022 wildfire burned this entire area, including the access road, the trailhead, Long Lake, and the Eddeeleo Lakes. A portion of the shores of the Quinn Lakes were skipped by the fire. Roads and trails are likely to remain closed until 2025.
-- #193 Swan and Gander Lakes -- A 2022 wildfire burned this entire area. Roads and trails are likely to remain closed until 2025.
100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades, 4th Edition (c)2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014.
All of these changes have been incorporated in the 5th Edition, and the numbering system of the hikes has been changed to include new featured trails.
Travel Guide section:
Sisters -- "Bronco Billy's Ranch Grill & Saloon" has fortunately been renamed the "Sisters Saloon & Ranch Grill," which is much closer to the original 1912 name, the Sisters Hotel.
-- #1 Ankeny Wildlife Refuge -- Jogging is now banned on the trails here because it disturbs the birds. The Salem chapter of the Audubon Society has built a nature center and educational building on Ankeny Hill Road that will open in the fall of 2019.
-- #2 Silver Falls -- If you're driving to Silver Falls from the south, take I-5 exit #253 and drive 5 miles (not 10 miles) east on North Santiam Highway 22 to a sign for Silver Falls Park. Then turn left on Highway 214 to the park.
-- #3 Shellburg Falls -- The Salem Chemeketans built a new section of trail in the summer of 2016 that connects the August Mtn Trail with the Shellburg Falls Trail so you don't have to hike the road for 0.3 mile near the end of the loop. This section bypasses the side trail to the Stassel Falls overlook.
-- #6 Opal Creek -- The "Planned Trail" for 0.6 mile along the north side of Opal Creek upstream from Jawbone Flats was completed in 2014. The Forest Service now encourages hikers to cross the river at the bridge just beyond Sawmill Falls, hike 1.4 miles to Opal Pool, cross Opal Creek, and hike up the creek on the far shore. The old trail upstream from Opal Pool along the southwest shore has been abandoned, and hikers are discouraged to use it.
-- #13 Browder Ridge -- The sign for the "Heart Lake Trail" near the summit may be missing, but the trail junction is clear enough.
-- #16 House Rock -- The washed-out bridge from House Rock Campground across the South Santiam River was finally replaced in June 2014, so if you like, you can now start your hike at the campground. From there, the loop to the falls and the House Rock cave is only 0.8 mile.
-- #17 Cascadia Park -- Cascadia Cave, on private timberland near Cascadia State Park, is now open to the public, but ONLY if you sign up for guided tours with Sweet Home Nature and Heritage Tours, under the auspices of the USFS Sweet Home Ranger District. For details and the required tickets, check https://www.recreation.gov/tourDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&tourId=319074 .
-- #17 (now #115) Rooster Rock -- Trees have grown up to block most views from the old lookout site, and no boards remain from the cabin itself.
-- #20 South Breitenbush Gorge -- The Forest Service removed the rotten footbridge over Roaring Creek in June 2017. They plan to replace it eventually, but they hadn't as of August 2018. It's easy enough to cross the creek on rocks. The footbridge over the South Breitenbush River near the trailhead by the Guard Station site is rebuilt each summer by the Breitenbush Retreat Center, so if you come early in the season (before June) it may not be completed. In that case, drive half a mile farther up paved Road 46 and turn right on gravel Road 4685 for half a mile to the Forest Service trailhead.
-- #21 Jefferson Park -- Nearly all of the Whitewater Trail, from the trailhead to the PCT, burned thoroughly in the Whitewater Fire of August 2017, leaving black snags and improving views. Jefferson Park itself survived the fire intact, mostly because it has so few trees. Two alternative routes to Jefferson Park -- the South Breitenbush Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail from Breitenbush Lake over Park Ridge -- both survived the fire, and offer greener routes to Jefferson Park. The tread of the Whitewater Trail was so damaged that portions will have to be rebuilt. Although this is a shorter route to Jefferson Park, it may not open to hikers until August 2019. Beargrass, bracken ferns, and wildflowers are already resprouting. In 2016-17, backpacking campsite reservations for the 30 posted legal lakeside campsites in Jeff Park were available online at www.recreation.gov for $9. This system has ended! Now, backpackers do not need reservations, but they must camp in one of the 30 legal sites. Sites that are more than 250 feet from a lakeshore are not affected. On summer weekends, expect that all legal sites will be full, and that you will have to camp far away from a lake. Dogs are banned at Scout Lake, but not elsewhere in the area. Drones are not allowed in the wilderness. Rangers visit each campsite morning and evening to check that campers have a permit and have pitched their tent at a designated site.
-- #22 Pamelia Lake -- The online permit fee has been reduced from $10 to $6 per group because the Forest Service found a different concessionaire to run the recreation.gov website. In 2019 permits will be required from the last weekend in May to the end of October, but in 2020 the permit season will be reduced to the last Friday of September.
-- #24 Marion Lake -- The trail to Marion Lake is fine, but if you're going to Marion Mountain, expect some blowdown and missing signs. The signs at trail junctions are on trees that have fallen down, and a dozen or more blowdown trees had not yet been cleared on the route as of July 2013. On the other hand, the Pine Lakes Trail from Camp Pioneer to Marion Lake may have the richest huckleberry harvest anywhere in the Cascades.
-- #26 Three Fingered Jack -- The difficult 11.7-mile loop via Martin Lake has become much more difficult because of the B&B wildfire, and is no longer recommended for hikers. It is still feasible to bushwhack down from the PCT 0.4 mile to Martin Lake, but the "clear trail" at the far east end of the lake has not been maintained. Fallen burned logs make the 0.5-mile route from Martin Lake to the Booth Lake trail arduous and confusing -- suitable only for adventurers.
-- #27 Canyon Creek Meadows -- The access road has two sandy spots where a four-wheel-drive vehicle would be advisable.
-- #29 Black Butte -- The Forest Service claimed that the historic, scenic log cabin near the summit of Black Butte had deteriorated so badly that it had to be removed in 2017, rather than being restored or allowed to deteriorate on its own. Incredible!
-- #30 Whychus Creek & Canyon -- The "Private" sign on Goodrich Road has been removed. This sign once incorrectly suggested that the public road access to the Deschutes Land Trust's Whychus Canyon Preserve was private. Be aware, however, that private land borders the road on either side, so use this road only to access the approved parking area. Additional trailhead access to the area is planned.
-- #33 Steelhead Falls -- Please do not take side trails that enter private property. This can be a problem if you choose to do the "extra" hike beyond Steelhead Falls that climbs from the Gray Tower up to the plateau. About 1/3 of the way up from the river, do not take a side trail to the right that leads to a private home. Instead continue straight up from the river to the plateau. Once you are on top you can complete a 0.9-mile loop by keeping left at junctions.
-- #34 Smith Rock -- A new trail section now makes it easier to hike a grand 6.9-mile loop around the perimeter of the park, getting the area's best views along the way. From the trailhead, hike 0.4 mile down to the Crooked River, cross the bridge, and turn upstream to the right 1.1 mile up to the Canal. Turn left on the Burma Road 0.7 mile to a pass. Following a pointer for the Summit Trail, take a newly rebuilt path down the ridgecrest 2 miles to the Crooked River at the balancing rocks, and continue upriver 0.3 mile to the trail junction by a house-sized rock below Monkey Face. Then keep right along the river trail 2.1 miles back to the bridge.
-- #35 Shevlin Park -- The road to Fremont Meadow is gated closed from about August to March, so most of the year you will have to park at the park's entrance and hike the longer 4.7-mile loop. In 2017 the park added 329 acres of land to the south of the park.
-- #46 Obsidian Trail -- The online permit fee has been reduced from $10 to $6 per group because the Forest Service found a different concessionaire to run the recreation.gov website. In 2019 permits will be required from the last weekend in May to the end of October, but in 2020 the permit season will be reduced to the end of September. The trails along Glacier Creek at Sunshine meadow were closed in 2014, and new trails have been built avoiding the fragile meadow area. The route of the PCT in this area remains unchanged. If you are hiking the counterclockwise loop to Sunshine described in the book, follow the PCT north from Obsidian Falls 1.4 miles to Sunshine's meadow (where there now is no junction at all). Then turn around, backtrack 0.1 mile south on the PCT, and turn right on a new section of trail that leads down Glacier Creek's valley 0.7 mile to the White Branch meadow and the return route to your car. If you are climbing Middle Sister, do not bushwhack up Glacier Creek on the old, closed trail from Sunshine. Instead take the PCT south 0.4 mile to the top of the plateau, where an obvious climbers' trail heads east toward Middle Sister.
-- #47 Four-In-One Cone -- After hiking 0.2 mile you will reach a fork. The book says to "go straight", but you need to veer left to stay on the Scott Trail. After another 2.7 miles, when you reach the next trail junction, in a cinder barrens, the Forest Service has replaced the rock cairn marking the side trail to Four-In-One Cone with a sign, "User Trail Not Maintained."
-- #50 Matthieu Lakes -- The 2017 Milli Fire burned over the trails within two miles of the trailhead in this area. Green trees remain around the lakes, and views are now nearly constant. All trails here reopened in July 2018.
-- #51 (#142) Black Crater -- The trailhead and most of the route of this hike burned severely in 2017, but reopened in August 2018. The final 0.9 mile to the summit has such sparse trees at timberline that it looks the same as always. Mountain views have improved on the hike's first 2.3 miles through black snags, and the summit views are as great as before.
-- #53 Park Meadow -- Near Park Meadow the trail traverses woods burned by a 2012 wildfire.
-- #63 Horse Lake -- All of the trail junction signs have been replaced. Instead of telling you the trail's destination, they now tell only the official trail name. This can be confusing. For the loop from the Elk Lake Trailhead you will want to take the Horse Lake Trail, and then keep left at junctions, following the Red Hill Trail, the Sunset Lake Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. This loop does not visit Horse Lake or give you any views of the lake. The easiest route to Horse Lake itself is to follow the Red Hill Trail past the lake 0.1 mile, turn right on the Park Trail for 0.4 mile to an unmarked junction (GPS location 44.9973 -121.8718), and turn right on an unmarked side trail 0.4 mile to the lake's scenic rock peninsula.
-- #64 Sahalie and Koosah Falls -- The single-log footbridge pictured in early versions of the book was replaced with a glue-lam bridge in September 2015. The bridge is 0.4 mile above Sahalie Falls and 0.3 mile below the Highway 126 crossing.
-- #67 Horsepasture Mountain -- This trailhead became more difficult to access in June 2013 when a landslide closed Road 1993 on a steep slope part of the way between Horse Creek Road 2638 and the trailhead. The Forest Service has signed an alternate route to the trailhead, but it's 11 miles longer, mostly on gravel. To find it from Highway 126 at McKenzie Bridge, follow Horse Creek Road 2638 for 8.6 miles (including 9 miles of gravel). At a pointer marked "Horse Pasture Trailhead 11", turn right on gravel Road 356 for 5.2 miles uphill to a T-shaped junction. Then turn right on Road 1993 for 7.6 mostly paved miles to the Horsepasture Trailhead on the left. This trail did not burn in 2017.
-- #68 Olallie Mountain -- A 2017 fire overswept all but the first half mile of this hike. The fire lookout atop the peak survived because crews had wrapped it in Kevlar. Patches of green trees remain, and the trailhead is certainly unburned. The trail was reopened by the Scorpion volunteer trail crew in July 2018.
-- #71 Castle Rock -- The charming oak sign pictured in the book has been replaced with a nearly identical sign made of ugly plastic, in keeping with Forest Service rules for signs that are not in designated Wilderness. Also, the half mile of trail below Road 480 (the trailhead at elevation 2720') has been rerouted a bit to the west to avoid a brushy old clearcut. The new route is nicer, and just 0.1 mile longer.
-- #72 French Pete Creek -- The 2018 Terwilliger wildfire has burned the French Pete Campground, the trailhead, and the first two miles of the trail. A 2017 wildfire burned the south side of French Pete Creek's valley, with the creek itself most serving as the fire break. Although the die-hard volunteer Scorpion trail crew reopened the entire trail in 2018, the new fire has closed the trail again, probably until late summer 2019. The landslide blocking the access road was cleared in July 2018.
-- #74 Spencer Butte -- The trail at the summit of this peak was upgraded in the summer 2015 so hikers no longer have to scramble, use their hands, or wonder about route-finding.
-- #77 Fall Creek -- A 2017 fire burned Bedrock Campground and portions of the Fall Creek Trail on either side -- a 3-mile stretch from Slick Creek to Jones Creek. The Jones Creek Trail is also in the burn area. As of May 2018 the entire burn zone was still closed. The Fall Creek Trail is closed above the Road 18 bridge before Bedrock Campground.The Jones Creek Trail, which had always been faint and rarely used, is likely to be abandoned altogether as a result of the fire. The upper portion of the Fall Creek Trail, between Roads 1828 and 1833, described in the "Other Options" section, was heavily damaged by the 2017 fire and remains closed in 2018 due to large logs, faint tread, and loose rocks.
-- #80 Patterson Mountain -- The Patterson Mountain trailhead is now marked, but with a large sign that reads "Lawler Trail Trailhead." This is the correct trailhead. The hike to Patterson Mountain follows the Lawler Trail for 0.7 mile. Then the Lawler Trail forks to the right. Keep left on the trail that passes Lone Wolf Shelter en route to Patterson Mountain.
-- #82 Chuckle Springs -- The 2010 fire in this area has left some side trails so full of deadfall that they are unusable, although the main Middle Fork Trail is fine. After hiking 1.1 mile toward Chuckle Springs, turn left at a "Middle Fork Trail" sign and keep left for 0.3 mile to the springs. Return as you came, because the loop path is overgrown. If you add the optional 0.4-mile hike downstream along the Middle Fork Trail to Cliff Springs, you'll be pleased to find that the footbridge over Indigo Creek (and three other nearby footbridges) were replaced in 2016.
-- #85 Spirit, Moon, and Pinard Falls -- The trail to Spirit Falls can be muddy and slippery if you go early in the season, in April. The other trails are less muddy.
-- #89 Lillian Falls -- The access road for Lillian Falls (Road 2421) is open, but has some potholes. Drive carefully, especially in the final three miles, watching for road damage.
-- #90 Fuji Mountain -- The gravel access road for the upper trailhead of this hike is unpleasant but not difficult. Expect potholes for the first mile and then patches of washboard after that. After driving 10.1 miles up gravel Eagle Creek Road 5883, keeping uphill to the right at junctions when in doubt, park at a gravel lot on the right marked only by a brown hiker-symbol sign (GPS location 43.6494 -122.1121). The trail begins across the road from the start of the parking area.
-- #93 Rosary Lakes -- The Willamette Pass ski area suspended the operation of its summer gondola in 2016. No word yet on whether it will reopen in future years. In the meantime, plan to hike the PCT to Rosary Lakes and points beyond.
-- #95 Yoran Lake -- The connecting route between Yoran Lake and the Pacific Crest Trail at Lils Lake was upgraded to an official trail in 2019, so bushwhacking is no longer necessary.
-- #96 Fawn Lake -- The trail to Pretty Lake is still a bit faint in places, but it has been maintained, and the junction with the Fawn Lake Trail is signed.
-- #105 French Creek Ridge -- This trail has become brushy and unmaintained, suitable only for adventurers.
-- #107 Gold Butte Lookout -- A small correction to the driving directions: "From Hwy 22 in Detroit, take Breitenbush Rd 46 for 4.4 mi, fork left on Rd 4696 for 0.7 mi, fork left again on Rd 4697 for 4.7 mi to a saddle, turn right on Rd 451 for 0.1 mi, and park at a junction."
-- #117 Falls Creek. When you turn off Highway 20 at milepost 46, the road you will be traveling is Road 2032, not 2031. Drive Road 2032 for 5 miles to reach the trailhead.
-- #122 Jeff Park via South Breitenbush -- This is the longest route to Jeff Park, so it is the quietest. In 2016 the Forest Service rebuilt and rerouted 4 miles of this 6.2-mile trail. This area did not burn in the 2017 Whitewater Fire.
-- #124 Woodpecker Ridge -- The 2017 Whitewater Fire burned all of this 2-mile trail, but it was on a ridge and now has even better views of Mt. Jefferson. As of August 2018 it was still closed.
-- #124b Bingham Ridge -- OK, this old route into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness on a ridge between Pamelia Lake and Marion Lake was so rough and faint that I didn't even include it in the book. But in 2014 the Forest Service rebuilt it, adding a switchback at the start the eliminates a steep scramble route and adds a mile in length. The resulting trail is much friendlier and more scenic. although it still leads to a lakeless edge of the Wilderness.
-- #124c Swallow Lake Trail -- Here's another semi-abandoned backwoods route in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness that the Forest Service is planning to reopen and upgrade in 2016. The route climbs from the old Oregon Skyline Trail west of Marion Lake to the Pacific Crest Trail at South Cinder Peak, making possible several nice loop options for backpackers.
-- #128 Maxwell Butte -- The blowdown trees that plagued this trail were cleared in 2018 by the volunteer Scorpions trail crew. The path is still rutted, but much easier to hike.
-- #131 Patjens Lakes -- The driving directions say to keep left when in doubt, but it's better to keep to the paved road until you find the trailhead sign. Nearly all of this trail was overswept by a 2011 wildfire. Already the woods are looking greener, and the area around the lakes themselves was spared by the fire.
-- #133 Round and Square Lakes -- The driving directions are OK until the end. When you turn left on Road 1210, follow this gravel road for 5.7 miles and then turn right for 0.5 mile to find the poorly marked trailhead.
-- #145 Chush Falls -- A wildfire in September 2012 burned through this area. Because the canyon itself is protected by cliffs and a damp microclimate, many trees near the waterfalls survived. The new trailhead for this hike is one mile along Road 600, where a new parking lot has been built and boulders have been placed to barricade the old road. From there you hike 1.5 miles to the old trailhead, and continue on the old trail 1 mile to Chush Falls.
-- #154. East Fork McKenzie -- The trailhead and first 3 miles of this trail burned lightly in 2018, and may not reopen until late summer 2019. To find the trail from McKenzie Hwy 126, turn south between mileposts 45 and 46 onto Aufderheide Rooad 19. After 0.4 mile fork right. Continue 2.8 miles, turn left across Cougar Dam, and continue 2.3 miles around the reservoir. Just before crossing a big bridge, turn left into the large paved East Fork Trailhead. To shuttle a car from this lower trailhead to the upper trailhead, drive up gravel Road 1993 for 5.1 miles and look sharp for a small hiker-symbol sign on the right, just after a small parking pullout.
-- #154 Substitute Point -- The Foley Ridge Trailhead and the first mile of trail are still green, but a 2017 wildfire burned over the rest of this hike, including Substitute Point. The same fire also burned the Honey Lakes basin and uphill as far the James Creek Shelter (fate unknown) and a 4-mile section of the PCT between Racetrack Meadow and Rock Mesa.
-- #157 Rebel Creek -- A 2017 wildfire burned all of the area covered by this hike, leaving some of the old-growth trees, but burning large areas. The Rebel Rock Lookout did not survive the fire. With great effort, the Scorpion trail crew cleared and reopened the trail early in 2018, but the Terwilliger wildfire burned the trailhead and the first few miles of the trail here again in August 2018, so it remains closed.
-- #171 Hardesty Mountain, upper trailhead -- A washout on Road 550 limits access to high-clearance vehicles. And note that the summit of this mountain is overgrown, so there are no views.
-- #172 Gold Point -- This delightful trail was maintained in December 2013. The hike is 0.7 mile longer than listed because the access road has been barricaded. To drive there from the Fall Creek Trailhead (Hike #74), drive 5.8 miles upriver, turn right on Rd 1825 for 2.7 miserably rocky, rutted miles of awful dirt road, and then fork right on Road 1835 for half a mile. Park and walk past a barricade up (unmarked) Road 220 for 0.7 mile to the trail.
-- #176 Deception Butte -- The upper part of this trail closed after the Deception Fire of 2014, which left the danger of landslides and falling snags. The upper trailhead remained closed in 2015, and may stay closed for several years. In 2018 the lower trail was clear as far as the creek bridge, but then becomes sketchy and is blocked by landslides and downed trees.