Rebel Creek Loop – Three Sisters Wilderness

The Three Sisters Wilderness hosts approximately 260 miles of trails. Some of them such as Green Lakes and Obsidian are overused while others see little if any use. The 12.3 mile loop starting at the Rebel Trailhead on the Rebel Creek and Rebel Rock Trails is on the lesser used end of the scale. The trailhead is 14.5 miles from Highway 126 along paved Aufderheide Road 19.
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The loop starts on the Rebel Creek Trail and quickly comes to a fork where the Rebel Rock Trail splits to the right. We stayed on the Rebel Creek Trail and would meet back up with the upper end of the Rebel Rock Trail in 5 miles.
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The forested trail led along Rebel Creek, crossing twice on footbridges, while it gradually climbed up the valley.
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The hike through the forest was peaceful with the sound of the creek below and birds singing in the trees. We didn’t see many of the birds we were hearing, but we did spot a nice variety of flowers along the way.
Prince’s Pine
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Pink pyrola
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Spotted coralroot
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Fringed pinesap
Fringed pinesap

Rhododendron
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Tall bluebells
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Yellow coralroot
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Bunchberry
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The trail was in pretty good shape despite it’s light usage. There were a few downed trees and near the upper end it became a little brushy in spots.
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We met back up with the Rebel Rock Trail at the edge of thimbleberry meadow where a post with no signs left marked the junction.
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The Rebel Creek Trail technically continued to the left to the Olallie Trail but that section is, according to the Forest Service, faint due to lack of use/maintenance. After a short break we turned right onto the Rebel Creek Trail skirting the meadow and climbing up and over a ridge near the hidden Rebel Rock. More thimbleberry filled meadows awaited us as we traversed along what was now a west facing hillside. The meadows contained a few flowers beside the white thimbleberry blossom and also allowed for views across the valley to the opposite hillside.
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Lupine
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Columbine
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Larkspur
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Cat’s ear lily
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Whenever we have views of distant meadows we try and scan them for wildlife. It always seems like we should see deer, elk or even a bear and on a couple of occasions we have managed to spot deer or elk. More often than not though we get our hopes up only to discover we are staring at a rock or downed tree. This time though I was sure I’d seen a dark object, I had my eyes on, move so I used the 120x digital zoom on the camera to take a closer look. It turned out to be a bear wandering around in a meadow full of white valerian flowers. Given the distance the pictures didn’t turn out great but we watched it for a while before it disappeared into the trees.
With 30x optical zoom.
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120x digital zoom
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The trail continued to pass through similar meadows until finally reentering the forest where we startled a grouse.
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Meadowrue
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Coneflower
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Blurry grouse photo
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A short distance later it crested a ridge where we entered a drier environment as we moved to the south facing side of the ridge.
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The first snowy peak of the day came into view to the south, Maiden Peak near Waldo Lake.
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The trail had entered a wildflower meadow filled with bright red scarlet gilia.
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There were several other types of flowers mixed in as well.
Cat’s ear lily
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Oregon sunshine
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Blue gilia and buckwheat
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Paintbrush and penstemon
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Clarkia
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As we worked our way through the meadow the view behind us to the east opened up revealing the only view of Rebel Rock’s spire, the top of South Sister and Mt. Bachelor.
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The trail passed into another section of trees where we noticed what appeared to be a faint trail to the left leading to a possible viewpoint. We followed it out to an open rocky ledge which allowed us to see the old Rebel Rock Lookout further to the west.
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We returned to the trail and continued west watching for the side trail to the old lookout building. A rock cairn along an open area marked the path.
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The lookout itself was not visible until we’d gone a couple hundred feet on the side path. The windows were mostly broken out and several boards were missing from the deck but the view was nice.
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After a break at the lookout we returned to the trail in the rocky meadow. The flower display was pretty nice here too with a few different flowers that we hadn’t seen yet during the hike.
Bastard toadflax
Bastard toadflax

Catchfly and a yellow composite
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Owl’s clover and blue gilia
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A half mile from the side path the the lookout was yet another meadow and the best viewpoint of the day.
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From this meadow Mt. Jefferson, the Three Sisters, and Mt. Bachelor were all clearly visible.
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The meadow sported another nice collection of wildflowers.
Phlox
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Penstemon
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The Three Sisters
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The trail began to descend beyond the viewpoint through another series of thimblerry meadows. The tread here was often hidden by the thick vegetation.
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The trail switched back just before reaching Trail Creek and reentered the forest.
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This section of trail gradually descended through the forest. Along the way were a couple of additional meadows where there were again some different flowers.
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Oregon sunshine and clarkias
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Farewell-to-Spring
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Diamond clarkia
diamond clarkia

There was also a nice supply of ripe, warm, strawberries to munch on.
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Although a few cars had joined ours at the trailhead we completed the loop without seeing any other people along the trails. Any time the number of bears you see is more than other people it’s a good day on the trail. After doing this loop we were left wondering why it isn’t a little more popular. Although there are a couple of longer stretches without view there were some nice ones and the amount and variety of flowers had surprised us. There is a cumulative elevation gain of 3300′ but the trail was never particularly steep and it was spread over such a distance that it didn’t feel like we’d done that much climbing. The fact that the trailhead is an easy drive on good paved roads is an added bonus. It is definitely a hike we’d recommend. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157670151874216

Horseshoe Ridge and Cast Creek Trail Loop

On Father’s Day we headed toward Mt. Hood for a loop hike on some lesser used trails. We planned on using the Horseshoe Ridge and Cast Creek Trails as well as a portion of the Zigzag Mountain Trail for a loop in the Mt. Hood Wilderness. Along the way we’d also visit Cast Lake and depending on visibility detour to the summit of East Zigzag Mountain.

We began our hike by parking along Forest Road 1825-380 at the bridge over Lost Creek near the Riley Horse Camp. The Horseshoe Ridge Trail began on the SW side of the road.
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The trail paralleled Lost Creek for the first 3/4 mile but didn’t get very close to the water until the trail crossed the creek. I had checked the Mt. Hood Forest Service for trail conditions before we left so we knew the bridge was “unusable”.
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We looked around a bit and noticed a downed tree a little downstream that we could use to cross but it was wet and slick and not wide enough to comfortably walk across in those conditions. We faced the choice of scooting across or fording the creek. Considering the temperature was only in the upper 30’s we decided we’d rather scoot than get soaked.
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Halfway across we discovered that we weren’t the only ones using the log and had to creatively maneuver past a snail and small slug.

Beyond Lost Creek the trail climbed through the forest for nearly 4 miles to the Zigzag Mountain Trail. The climb was never too steep and near the end the trail entered a meadow with wildflowers and views of Mt. St. Helens.
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Columbine and paintbrush
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Beargrass
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Lupine
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Paintbrush
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Lousewort before blooming
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We turned left on the Zigzag Mountain Trail passing through more beargrass meadows and gaining views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson.
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We followed the trail up to a ridge top where a rocky viewpoint added three Washington volcanoes to the view.
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Mt. St. Helens
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Mt. Rainier
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Mt. Adams
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The trail then crossed over the ridge and began descending along the north side of Zigzag Mountain. We had been on this section of trail in 2012 during a July 9th loop starting from the Burnt Lake South Trailhead. During that hike this portion of trail was still partly covered in snow. This time around there were only a couple of small patches remaining in the brush along the trail.
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We passed above Cast Lake passing a junction with the Devil’s Tie Trail to the Cast Lake Trail.
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A half mile hike along this trail brought us to Cast Lake.
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Snow melt and recent precipitation had left standing water on some of the trail and mud along portions of the shore on the SW side of the lake. We followed a path around the north side of the lake past several nice campsites. We turned around shortly after crossing Cast Creek flowing out of the lake. The one thing that the lake lacks is a good view of Mt. Hood, but rhododendron and beargrass were blooming along the shore making for a pretty scene.
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We left Cast Lake and continued our loop on the Zigzag Mountain Trail and quickly arrived at the Cast Creek Trail junction.
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We faced a choice here. We could turn left on the Cast Creek Trail and complete the loop or take another side trip by continuing on the Zigzag Mountain Trail to East Zigzag Mountain. With the weather being as nice as it was and knowing that there would be some flowers in the meadow below the summit we decided on one more side trip. After a short but decent climb we emerged from the trees in the meadow.
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The lower portion of the meadow was full of Phlox and yet to bloom lupine.
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As we climbed higher Mt. Hood came into view and the variety of flowers increased.
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Several other Cascade peaks were visible from the ridge.
Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams to the north.
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Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack to the south.
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I left Heather at the summit and headed down into the meadow on the opposite side of the summit. The flowers seemed to be a little behind so I turned around after getting a few pictures including the obligatory Burnt Lake shot.
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Burnt Lake below Mt. Hood
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I returned to the summit and we headed back to the Cast Creek Trail. We had accidentally taken this trail in 2012 mistaking it for the Cast Lake Trail (we obviously didn’t read the sign well). The Cast Creek Trail begins with a little climb past some decent viewpoints before beginning its decent into the forest.
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Mt. Hood

The rhododendron bloom along the upper portion of the trail was one of the best we’ve witnessed.
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The forest along the Cast Creek Trail was quite different from what we had encountered coming up on the Horseshoe Ridge Trail. There was much less underbrush leaving the forest with a more open feeling.
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We kept expecting to see a deer or other larger animal below us through the trees but we never did. What we did see was a garter snake enjoying a patch of sunshine along the trail.
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According the the Forest Service website neither the Cast Creek nor the Horseshoe Ridge Trail had been maintained since 2014 but they were both in pretty good shape. There were a few downed trees but nothing difficult to maneuver around. We did see one sign of more recent maintenance on the lower portion of the Cast Creek Trail which left us scratching our heads. A small tree had come down across the trail. The top end of the tree had been sawed off, but not the portion that was across the trail. There was a saw mark along the trunk where someone had started a second cut to remove the portion of tree hanging over the trail, but they hadn’t finished it for some reason.
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The Cast Creek Trail ended at a day use area at the far end of Riley Horse Camp.
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We had intended to park here, but failed to find it due to a lack of signage and having turned out of the horse camp before going all the way to the end.
We walked through the horse camp to the road then continued a tenth of a mile back to our car. Both of our GPS devices had the hike at a little over 16 miles which made it pretty long for a day hike, but spending the night at Cast Lake would make it a nice overnight trip. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157669434295252

Cascadia State Park and Rooster Rock

Once again we found ourselves rearranging our scheduled hikes after we had to cancel a planned visit to Central Oregon. We needed to stay home and finish giving our cat Buddy medication after he had a tooth extraction. We settled on a pair of hikes along Highway 20 east of Sweet Home, OR beginning at Cascadia State Park.

Cascadia State Park is less than 15 miles from Sweet Home and offers one year round picnic area and a camground, group tent site, and a second picnic area open from May 1st – September 30th. It also offers some short hiking trails which is what prompted our visit. After turning into the park and crossing the South Santiam River we parked at the west picnic area. The first trail we set our sights on was the Soda Creek Falls Trail. This trail began from the road to the group camps and day use area just before it crossed Soda Creek.
Soda Creek Falls Trailhead

The trail was a bit muddy in spots as it followed the creek up to the falls. The falls were set in a scenic canyon tumbling over and down basalt.
Soda Creek Falls

An easy path went down to the base of the falls and the low volume of water made it possible to walk right up to them.
Soda Creek Falls

Soda Creek Falls

We returned to where we had parked and walked across the entrance road to a sign for the Soda Springs Trail.
Soda Springs Trail - Cascadia State Park

This trail led down to a footbridge over Soda Creek and then on to Soda Springs.
Trail down to Soda Springs

Soda Springs

We followed the trail up from the spring site and then took a right hand path down some stairs to the South Santiam River.
Stairs in Cascadia State Park down to the South Santiam River

South Santiam River

We spent some time exploring on the exposed river rock where we spotted some aquatic bugs and small minnows.
South Santiam River

Bug in the South Santiam River

Minnows in the South Santiam River

After climbing back up from the river we continued through the east picnic area and walked along a service road which passed through a large meadow with a few flowers.
Daisies in Cascadia State Park

At the far end of the meadow we left the service road and passed through an off-leash area for pets where we found lots of tiger lilies.
Tiger lilies

From the off-leash area we picked up the River Trail which began at the group camp parking lot and led east along the South Santiam River. We took a couple of side trails, one to a meadow of plectritis and a second down to the river.
Plectritis along the South Santiam River

South Santiam River

Although there were no signs posted the trail eventually left the State Park and passed onto private land at the start of a series of bends in the path. We turned around here and headed back to the west picnic area and our car.

From Cascadia State Park we drove another 7 miles east to a pullout across from Trout Creek Campground. A pair of trails began here, the short Walton Ranch Interpretive Trail and the more strenuous Trout Creek Trail.
Walton Ranch Interpretive Trail Trailhead

Trout Creek Trail Trailhead

We began with the Walton Ranch Trail which crossed Trout Creek and climbed a little over a quarter mile to a viewing platform. From Winter to early Spring an elk herd winters in the meadow across Highway 20 from the platform but being June the only things we spotted were flowers.
Trout Creek

Interpretive sign along the Walton Ranch Interpretive Trail

Walton Ranch meadow

It was now time for the most difficult hike of our day. The Trout Creek Trail gains approximately 2400′ in 3.4 miles to the site of two former cabins near Rooster Rock in the Menagerie Wilderness. The wilderness contains several large rock pinnacles/formations¬†which are volcanic in origin and popular with rock climbers.

To be honest this was a hike that had not been high on our list to do. Although it was included in all our guidebooks for the area none of them seemed to be all that enamored with this hike. It was described as being “short on highlights”, “a good conditioning hike”, and “the least interesting hike in the Old Cascades”. Having low expectations may have been a good thing in the end because we wound up enjoying the hike even though it did suffer from a lack of highlights, and it was quite a workout.

The trail climbed steadily the entire time. It was never overly steep but it was relentless and it never left the forest so there were no good views along the way. There were also no creeks or streams to cross along the route.
Trout Creek Trail

Trout Creek Trail - Menagerie Wilderness

Best view of Rooster Rock from the Trout Creek Trail
Rooster Rock from the Trout Creek Trail

There were a few flowers including lots of candy sticks along the way and some ripe red huckleberries too.
Madia
Madia

Rhododendron and huckleberries
Rhododendron and red huckleberries

Candy sticks
Candy sticks

Candy sticks

Candy sticks

There was effectively no view of Rooster Rock at Rooster Rock. A large boulder sat at its base and trees hid the rock.
Boulder near Rooster Rock

Rooster Rock from below

Rooster Rock behind a tree

We continued uphill from Rooster Rock forking right to the site of the former cabins that were used by the lookouts who staffed a lookout that had sat atop Rooster Rock once upon a time. The view from the former cabin site was better than we had expected. Rooster Rock was still out of view, but the view east extended up the South Santiam River canyon to the snowy peaks of North and Middle Sister.
North and Middle Sister from the former lookout site near Rooster Rock

North and Middle Sister from the former lookout site near Rooster Rock

Other familiar peaks included Cone Peak and Iron Mountain.
Cone Peak and Iron Mountain from the former lookout site near Rooster Rock

The rocks around the viewpoint were dotted with purple penstemon and yellow stonecrop.
Penstemon

Penstemon

From the cabin site a climbers trail continued deeper into the Menagerie Wilderness. The climbers trail would have eventually taken us to a forest service road on the north side of the wilderness and made it possible to visit Panorama Point, a viewpoint atop a large rock cliff. To get there the trail passes through a section of the wilderness that is closed annually from 1/15 – 7/31 to protect endangered species so we only went a little ways further into the wilderness in an attempt to find a better view of some of the other rock features. We turned around at some pink flagging that was in the area of the closure never having found a decent view. Panorama Point was visible for a moment through some trees as was another odd shaped pinnacle.
Panorama Point

Panorama Point

Rock pinnacle in the Menagerie Wilderness

Rock pinnacle in the Menagerie Wilderness

Heather did manage to find a spur trail that led to a view of Rooster Rock and to the west toward the Willamette Valley.
Rooster Rock from a viewpoint in the Menagerie Wilderness

Rooster Rock from a viewpoint in the Menagerie Wilderness

Looking west from a viewpoint in the Menagerie Wilderness

She also spotted the summit of South Sister barely rising above one of the foothills.
The snowy summit of the South Sister

On our way back to the car we were on the lookout for a wilderness sign. As we visit the various wildernesses I try and get a picture of a wilderness sign for each one and I needed one for the Menagerie Wilderness. We had started looking on the way up but not until we were well into the wilderness so as we neared the edge of the area we began looking back at the trees as we passed. We never did see an official sign so I took a picture of the wilderness regulation sheet on the information board at the trailhead instead.
Menagerie Wilderness sign

Someday we may have to try the Rooster Rock Trail (a shorter,steeper approach to Rooster Rock) in hopes that there is a fancier sign along that trail but until then we can at least mark off one more wilderness area we’ve visited. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157669592127776

Siouxon Creek & Peak

It was finally time for our first overnight trip this year. We picked the Siouxon Trail for the trip which would be our test run for our backpacking season. Our plan was to hike up the Siouxon Trail approximately four miles, find a campsite to set up in then hike up to Siouxon Peak on a loop using the Wildcat, Chinook, and Huffman Peak Trails.

The trail is located in the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest and is accessed via forest road 5071 which is east of Chelatchie, WA. Although the roads are mostly paved, washouts and pot holes made it interesting on the way to the trailhead.
Siouxon Trailhead

There were already quite a few cars in the parking area when we arrived shortly after 7am. Since this was our first hike here we weren’t sure what to expect for campsites and hoped that we would be able to find an open one in the area we had planned on. We slung our packs on and set off downhill toward Siouxon Creek.

We crossed West Creek on a nice footbridge and continued along in a cool, green forest.
Siouxon Trail

West Creek

Siouxon Trail

Cool was going to be important as the forecast called for temperatures in the mid-90s for some nearby areas.

It wasn’t long before Siouxon Creek came into view with crystal clear water and colorful pools. It reminded us a lot of our previous hike along the Lewis River.
Siouxon Creek

Siouxon Creek

The trail then bent back away from Siouxon Creek as it crossed Horseshoe Creek above Horseshoe Creek Falls on another footbridge.
Horseshoe Creek Falls

Horseshoe Creek Falls

Just over a mile and a half from the trailhead Siouxon Falls came into view. Here Siouxon Creek drops in an S-shaped chute into a green pool.
Siouxon Falls

Siouxon Falls

Beyond Siouxon Falls the trail continued along the creek offering views of a few smaller cascades and more green pools.
Siouxon Creek

Small fall along Siouxon Creek

Pool below small waterfall along Siouxon Creek

We passed a trail sign for the Wildcat Trail around the 3 mile mark which would wind up being our return route the following day. Shortly after the Wildcat Trail sign was another junction, this time with the Horseshoe Ridge Trail.
Siouxon Trail junction with the Horseshoe Ridge Trail

We continued on the Siouxon Trail another 3/4 of a mile to a footbridge over Siouxon Creek.
Unnamed creek and the bridge across Siouxon Creek to Chinook Falls

We had begun keeping an eye out for a good campsite following the Horseshoe Ridge Trail junction but  most were already taken and the few that remained were near other groups of backpackers. We crossed on the footbridge and found the sites on the opposite side occupied as well.

We had left the Siouxon Creek Trail and were now following Chinook Creek. In 0.2 miles we came to 50′ Chinook Falls.
Chinook Falls

Chinook Falls

To continue we would need to cross Chinook Creek which did not have a bridge. Logs provided a dry crossing and we were quickly across heading toward yet another trail junction.
Chinook Falls

Junction with the Chinook Trail

If we had been able to find a campsite before reaching this point we would have headed up the Chinook Trail at this point. Since we were still searching we decided to take the connector trail between this junction and the Wildcat Trail. Even though the sign here didn’t point left for a trail there was a clear one there. It climbed a bit at first then dropped down closer to Siouxon Creek again in a much denser forest than on the Siouxon Trail side. We were focused on finding a suitable campsite but instead all we found was a lot of elk sign. As we neared Wildcat Creek we decided that if we hadn’t found a spot by the time we reached the Wildcat Trail we would loop back on the Siouxon Trail and take one of the few spots we’d seen near other groups. Luckily we didn’t need to implement that plan as we found a small secluded spot near Wildcat Creek with just enough room for a tent.
Campsite near Wildcat Creek

After getting settled we switched to our little daypacks and crossed Wildcat Creek on some more logs.
Wildcat Creek

Just on the other side of the creek was the junction with the trail coming from the Siouxon Trail
Wildcat Trail junction

We headed uphill on the Wildcat Trail. The trail stayed a bit above the creek but we spotted a couple of small cascades that warranted checking out on short scramble trails.
Wildcat Trail

Cascades along Wildcat Creek

Slide falls along Wildcat Creek

The best fall of the day came a half mile up the Wildcat Trail. The 225′ Wildcat Falls drops 3 times with the final drop being 124′.
Wildcat Falls

To reach the base of the falls a steep trail headed downhill. The assistance of a rope which we found waiting was almost a necessity here.
Rope down to Wildcat Falls

Wildcat Falls

We’d timed it well both for the day and the time of year. According to the information on the falls from the Northwest Waterfall Survey the falls become “substantially less impressive as summer progresses”. There was plenty of water now and there was no one else at the falls when we arrived. We sat on some rocks at the edge of the splash pool letting the misty wind from the falls cool us off.
Splash pool of Wildcat Falls

When other hikers began to arrive we climbed back up using the rope and continued our loop. We started to climb looking back after about a hundred feet to see the upper tiers of the falls.
Wildcat Falls

The Wildcat Trail switchbacked uphill to a viewpoint above Wildcat Falls allowing us to see the upper tier even beter.
Wildcat Falls

Upper tier of Wildcat Falls

From the falls the trail gained approximately 2000′ in 2 miles to a junction with the Huffman Peak Trail. It was starting to get really warm and we were forced to take quite a few more breaks than usual along the way. Fortunately there was a bit of an off-and-on breeze that helped to cool us off a little as we took in the scenery.
Wildcat Trail

Little prince’s pine
Little prince's pine

Tiger lily
Tiger lily

Penstemon
Penstemon

We turned right when we reached the Huffman Peak Trail which promptly began descending to a saddle.
Wildcat Trail junction with the Huffman Peak Trail

It eventually leveled out and then began climbing again as it headed up the side of Siouxon Peak. Wildflowers along this section included beargrass, avalanche lilies and pioneer violets.
Beargrass

Avalanche lily

Violets

We hadn’t seen any other hikers since we’d left Wildcat Falls but just before we reached the spur trail to the summit of Siouxon Peak we met another pair of hikers that had just come down. We had seen them earlier at Chinook Falls but they had headed up that trail doing the loop the way we’d originally planned on. They said it was beautiful up at the summit and they weren’t kidding. We had been seeing glimpses of several mountains through the trees from the Huffman Peak Trail but no clear views. As we began up the summit spur trail though that all changed.
Mt. Rainier, Goat Rocks, and Mt. Adams

An exposed ridge led up to the former site of a lookout tower on top of Siouxon Peak. Snowy peaks dominated the horizon while numerous butterflies flitted among the various wildflowers.
Mt. Hood heading to the summit of Siouxon Peak

Mt. Hood
Mt. Hood

Mt. Adams
Mt. Adams

Goat Rocks
Goat Rocks

Mt. Rainier
Mt. Rainier

Phlox
Phlox

Swallowtail above the meadow
Swallowtail butterfly flying over wildflowers on Siouxon Peak

Butterflies above the meadow with Goat Rocks and Mt. Adams in the distance.
Goat Rocks and Mt. Adams from Siouxon Peak

Penstemon
Penstemon

Mt. Rainier, Goat Rocks, Mt. Adams and Swift Reservoir from the summit of Siouxon Peak

Goat Rocks and MT. Adams from the summit of Siouxon Peak

Butterfly on bistort
Hairstreak butterfly on bistort

Swallowtail on phlox
Swallowtail on phlox

Swallowtail overhead
Swallowtail soaring overhead

We sat for awhile at the summit. There was just enough breeze to keep it from being too warm and it was just too beautiful to not spend some time appreciating it. Ironically the closest mountain to us was Mt. St. Helens which we couldn’t see due to trees lining the west side of the peak.

After pulling ourselves away and returning to the Huffman Peak Trail we spotted a little spur trail on the opposite side. This one led to a viewpoint that included Mt. St. Helens.
Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier from a viewpoint below Siouxon Peak

We continued on our loop passing beneath Siouxon Peak in a meadow of strawberry blossoms and phlox.
Strawberries and phlox

After a few switchbacks the trail leveled out some as it began following an old roadbed.
Huffman Peak Trail

The trail entered a section of young trees where the penstemon display was amazing. There was also quite a bit of paintbrush and some lupine mixed in.
Penstemon

Penstemon and paintbrush along the Huffman Peak Trail

Penstemon and paintbrush along the Huffman Peak Trail

Paintbrush

Lupine

There was a bit of a washout in this section but it was not too difficult to cross.
Washout along the Huffman Peak Trail

Slide along the Huffman Peak Trail from the other side of the valley

We turned onto the Chinook Trail at a signed junction.
Huffman Peak Trail junction with the Chinook Trail

The Chinook Trail began as an old narrow jeep track which eventually turned to a true trail.
Chinook Trail

As we were coming down the Chinook Trail we met our neighbor from across Siouxon Creek. She had set up camp Friday night and was now doing the Siouxon Peak loop in the opposite direction. After a nice conversation she introduced herself as Nicole and we shared our names before continuing on. It turns out she is a fellow member of the //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js“>PortlandHikers Facebook group. It’s always nice to put faces to names and have these chance meetings out on the trails.

We spotted a variety of interesting plants in the forest along this trail including yellow coralroot, indian pipe, and some candysticks.
Yellow coralroot

Indian Pipe

Candystick

Candysticks

Before returning to our campsite we detoured back to Chinook Falls to see how it looked in the afternoon sunlight and to cool off by the splash pool.
Chinook Falls

While we were enjoying the falls we noticed a few tadpoles nearby.
Tadpole

We returned to camp and got ready for dinner. We were excited to try out our new Alite Mayfly chairs. I had been a bit reluctant to add any extra weight to my pack but at 1lbs 4oz the chairs aren’t that heavy. I was still thinking I might only bring mine on shorter trips or trips where we establish a base camp for multiple days, but after eating dinner and relaxing next to Wildcat Creek in the chair it will be coming with me from now on.

The next morning we woke a little before 5am and began packing up. Heather had a baby shower that afternoon and we were hoping to be home in time for her to attend. While we were working on breakfast we were thoroughly entertained by a slug that had passed over a strap on my pack then set to scaling a mossy boulder.
Slug on my backpack strap

Slug on a boulder

Instead of going back to the bridge across Siouxon Creek at the Chinook Trail we decided to shorten the morning hike by fording Siouxon Creek at the Wildcat Trail. The ford is not recommended in high water but it wasn’t running too swiftly so we plunged in. At it’s deepest the water came up just a bit past our knees but we had no problems reaching the trail on the other bank.
Siouxon Creek ford between the Wildcat and Siouxon Trails

We returned to the Siouxon Trailhead a just before 8am and Heather was back in plenty of time to go to the baby shower. All in all it was a pretty successful first over night for the year. We thought we had forgotten a couple of items only to discover that they had been in our packs the whole time and our new chairs worked out great. We’re looking forward to several more backpacking trips in the next few months. Until next time, happy trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157666763253394