It’s been over a month since our last hike and I was beginning to go a bit stir crazy so when the forecast called for a mostly sunny Saturday we jumped on the chance and hit the trails. We try and make sure our hikes are long enough so that we spend as much or more time hiking rather than driving. On this day we did this by visiting several shorter trails near Florence, OR.
There are a total of four trailheads that access the Sweet Creek Trail with the Homestead Trailhead being the most northerly. From there we followed the Sweet Creek Trail south for .9 miles to a junction with the connector trail from the second trailhead. Both the creek and surrounding forest were beautiful. A series of small falls and cascades line this section of Sweet Creek and on this day there was plenty of water flowing over them.
It is possible during lower flow times to cross the creek below the falls and pick up the continuation of the Sweet Creek Tail on the far side, but that wasn’t going to happen given the volume of water that was currently flowing over the falls. After returning to the Homestead Trailhead we drove to the Wagon Road Trailhead 1.3 miles further south along Sweet Creek Road.
The Sweet Creek Trail heads away from the road in both directions from this trailhead. We began with the segment on the west side of Sweet Creek Road which would lead bus back down to Sweet Creek Falls on the opposite side of the creek.
We left the Wagon Road Trailhead and headed back to Highway 126 and headed toward Florence. We made a quick stop at Florence Yamaha to pick up a Northwest Forest Pass which we needed for our final hike at the Holman Vista Day Use Area just north of Florence.
We were now on the South Sutton Creek Trail which continued to follow the creek for 1.5 miles of short ups and downs. This trail brought us to the Sutton Campground where we picked up the continuation of the trail at a footbridge near site B16.
After crossing the footbridge we had the option to go left or right on the North Sutton Creek Trail. The left hand trail led a quarter mile to a dune while the right and would have brought us to the same dune on a .6 mile loop.
From the swing we followed the North Sutton Creek Trail for 1.3 miles back to the trail junction near Bolduc’s Meadow. This section of trail passed dunes with a less dense forest. Common gorse and manzanita was beginning to bloom along the trail and some areas were covered in a light green moss that reminded us of snow.
After crossing the footbridge we turned right and then quickly turned left on an unsigned trail which led us .5 miles back to the parking lot at the Holman Vista Day Use Area.
We had a great time on these trails and it was nice that they were all very different from one another. We wound up doing a little over 13 miles of hiking but each of these trails are worthy of doing on their own. The Old Growth Ridge/Armantrout Loop hike was approximately 3.5 miles with about 800′ of elevation gain. Our first hike along Sweet Creek from the Homestead Trailhead was a little under 2.5 miles with 350′ of elevation gain while the segments from the Wagon Road Trailhead totaled just under 3 miles and 300′ of elevation gain. The hike on the Sutton Creek Trails was 4.5 miles with only about 100′ of total elevation gain. Happy Trails!