Dickey Creek Trail

Once again the weather wasn’t cooperating with our overnight plans so we turned to plan B for our latest hike. Plan B wound up being the Dickey Creek Trail in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness on what turned out to be a great hike on a beautiful day. We began our hike at the Dickey Creek Trailhead located in forest service road 140 near Ripplebrook, OR.
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The Dickey Creek Trail followed a decommissioned road for about half a mile to the former trailhead parking area.
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The trail continued to follow the old roadbed for .3 miles and then suddenly heads downhill.
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The descent was steep for the next half mile and included several sections of steps. It was one of the most fun sections of trail we’ve been on as it twisted and turned on it’s way down toward the creek. When the trail leveled out we were within earshot of the creek but the trail remained in the forest with the creek out of sight. The old growth forest in the valley was beautiful. Green moss carpeted the ground while large trees towered above. Rough skinned newts seemed to be everywhere and we had to step carefully to make sure we didn’t harm any.
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The old growth forest briefly opened up near a dry pond. The fall colors were on display around the pond and made a nice contrast to the green ground left over from where the pond water had been.
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We arrived at the bridgeless crossing of Dickey Creek after almost 3.5 miles.
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On the far side of the creek we spotted some interesting fungi.
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We were heading for Big Slide Lake which was a little over 2.5 miles from Dickey Creek. From there we would decide whether we would continue on to Big Slide Mountain or turnaround depending on how clear the skies were. After a few switchbacks the trail climbed gradually up the valley toward the lake. Views opened up across the valley to North and South Dickey Peak. Ahead were the cliffs of Big Slide Mountain and the lookout tower on Bull of the Woods, the wilderness’s namesake.
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After crossing a large rock field the trail split. We headed downhill to the right to visit Big Slide Lake where we encountered the only other people we’d see the entire day.
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It was approximately 6 miles to Big Slide Lake from the trailhead so turning around here would have made for a decent enough hike, but the weather was great and there were only a few clouds in the sky so we decided to head up to Big Slide Mountain to see how the view was. We climbed back up to the Dickey Creek Trail from the lake and continued uphill toward a saddle on the ridge between Bull of the Woods and Big Slide Mountain. After about a half mile of good climbing we arrived at the saddle and a trail junction.
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We turned left past a nearly dry pond.
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On the far side of the pond was a second trail junction. We stayed to the left on trail 555 and began to gradually climb Big Slide Mountain. Views opened up almost immediately on this section of trail. Mount Jefferson was the first of the Cascade peaks to come into view.
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Followed by Three Fingered Jack.
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Then came Broken Top, Mt. Washington, and the North and Middle Sisters.
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Finally the South Sister made an appearance.
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After almost a mile and a half of climbing the trail crested at a saddle between the summit of Big Slide Mountain and Knob Peak. The trail then headed over the saddle and downhill to its end at Lake Lenore a half mile away. In order to get to the summit of Big Slide Mountain we needed to do some cross country climbing. From the saddle we headed uphill along the ridge toward the summit making our way up as best we could. We managed to find sections of faint trail and pick our way up the rocky slope to the summit. The views from the summit were great. Big Slide Lake lay below us to the West.
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To the North was Lake Lenore, Schriner Peak, Mt. Hood, and the shy Mt. Adams.
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To the southeast cascade peaks dotted the horizon while Welcome Lakes lay below in the wilderness.
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The peaks of the Bull of the Woods Wilderness rose to the south including Battle Ax and Bull of the Woods.
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Table Rock rose above the Table Rock Wilderness to the southwest.
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We took a long break on the summit watching the clouds in the sky and soaking in the sun before heading back downhill. On the way back we had one final stop to make. We wanted to check out an unnamed lake that lay off-trail below Big Slide Mountain. A short steep climb through some thick rhododendron bushes brought us to the edge of the small lake.
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The water was crystal clear with some excellent reflections of Big Slide Mountain.
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After fighting our way back through the rhododendrons we regained the trail. On our way back we stopped to check out a few interesting mushrooms, one complete with a newt.
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When we arrived back at the dry pond the sunlight was lighting up the deciduous trees.
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As we neared the end of our hike the only disappointment was having not seen a wilderness sign that morning. I try and get a picture of a wilderness sign for every wilderness we visit and I had been unsuccessful on our first two visits to the Bull of the Woods Wilderness. After making the steep climb away from the creek and back up to the old roadbed we began watching for signs that we may have missed on our way by earlier. Just before reaching the former trailhead we spotted the sign up on a tree.
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It was a great end to a great hike. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157659338785890

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2 thoughts on “Dickey Creek Trail”

  1. I love BOTW Wilderness! I’ve never done this approach, so I enjoyed your reporting. Quite the trail day you had. How do you fit in such a long hike w/ such short days? 🙂

    1. We start early. We were on the road at about 4:45am and got home around 7:30pm. We actually sat around at the trailhead for a few minutes waiting for it to get a little lighter, lol.

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