Throwback Thursday – Duffy Lake

We’re going all the way back to July 28, 2010 for this weeks throwback hike. This was our first visit to the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness as well as the first time we attempted an off-trail scramble. We started at the Duffy Lake Trailhead taking the Duffy Lake Trail toward Duffy Lake.

Duffy Lake Trail

The trail followed along the North Santiam River which was running real low but not yet dry for the season.

Wildflowers along the North Santiam River

North Santiam River

We passed the a junction with the Turpentine Trail at the 1.5 mile mark and crossed the river just over a mile later before reaching another junction in a meadow near Duffy Lake. Although we couldn’t see the lake from there Duffy Butte rose above the trees.

Duffy Butte

A number of trails were present in the Duffy Lake area. The first junction after crossing the river was with the Maxwell Butte Trail which forked to the right. Before reaching Duffy Lakes outlet creek we took the next fork to thw right which was a short connector trail to the Santiam Lake Trail which we then turned right on following it for about 3/4 of a mile through wildflower meadows to Santiam Lake and a great view of Three Fingered Jack.

Santiam Lake Trail

Three Fingered Jack and Santiam Lake

Three Fingered Jack from Santiam Lake

After visiting the lake shore we headed back the way we had come for .6 miles then turning right on the Dixie Lakes Trail at a pointer for the Eight Lakes Basin.

Trail sign at the Dixie Lakes Trail

This 1.8 mile trail would lead us pass the small Dixie Lakes before joining the Blue Lake Trail. Much of the trail passed through forest burned in the massive 2003 B&B Fire.

A Dixie Lake

South Dixie Lake

A Dixie Lake

North Dixie Lake

Beargrass

Junction with the Blue Lake Trail

The trail junction was near Alice Lake which was where our off-trail scramble up Red Butte would start.

Red Butte

Red Butte

Alice Lake

Alice Lake

Being our first off-trail experience we weren’t exactly sure what we were supposed to be looking for but we knew that the route started on the west side of the lake and headed up the butte. It was quite the adventure. Just when we thought we might be following a use trail we’d lose it. Some of the butte had been burned in the fire so there was plenty of downed trees and limbs to navigate. The good news with that was we knew we could follow the edge of the burn downhill and we’d wind up back on the trail near Alice Lake so we weren’t too concerned with getting lost. As we neared the summit of Red Butte the vegetation began to give way to more and more cinder where it was much easier to pick out the use trail.

Snow on Red Butte

Looking down from the summit we could see little Alice Lake below.

Alice Lake from Red Butte

To the south we had a great view of Three Fingered Jack and beyond that loomed Mt. Washington, North Sister, Middle Sister, and The Husband.

Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, The Three Sisters and The Husband

The Three Sisters and Mt. Washington

Mt. Washington in front of the North & Middle Sister (with the summit of South Sister behind them all)

Around to the north was Mt. Jefferson.

Mt. Jefferson

Just to the SW of Red Butte was Duffy Butte and Mowich Lake.

Mowich Lake and Duffy Butte

Mowich Lake

We had a much easier time following the use path on the way down and successfully completed our first scramble. We turned right when we arrived back at the Blue Lake Trail and followed it for a mile to the southern end of Mowich Lake where we could look back across the water to Red Butte.

Mowich Lake

Another 3/4 miles along the trail brought us a junction with the Santiam Lake and Duffy Lake Trails.

Trail junction near Duffy Lake

We took a moment to visit Duffy Lake and Duffy Butte.

Duffy Butte from Duffy Lake

We walked along the lake to its outlet where we picked up the Duffy Lake Trail and headed back toward the trailhead. A nice lollipop loop with a couple of side trips to Santiam Lake and up Red Butte the total distance was a little over 13 miles with approx 2000′ elevation gain. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157632953676368

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Throwback Thursday – Oneonta Falls

This weeks Throwback Thursday hike took place on 7/2/2012 and holds the distinction of being our first in the Columbia Gorge as well as the first for which we used our “100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” guidebook by William L. Sullivan.

One of the many reasons that we appreciate his guidebooks so much is the number of options he provides. In addition to the 100 featured hikes each book lists several barrier free options and contain up to 108 additional hikes with much briefer descriptions in the back of the book. To top it off he often provides information on multiple options within a featured hike which is what we followed on this trip.

The hike to Oneonta and Horsetail Falls is listed as a 2.7 mile loop in our 2011 3rd edition of the NW guidebook which would have been too short a loop to warrant our drive to the trailhead but another option was listed at the end of the hike description, a 12.2 mile loop passing more waterfalls including Multnomah Falls, Oregon’s tallest waterfall.

Our hike started at the Horestail Falls Trailhead along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Horestail Falls is literally right there and the trail starts beside it.

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls

The trail climbed for .2 miles to a junction with the Gorge Trail where we turned right promptly arriving at Ponytail Falls.

Horsetail Falls Trail

Ponytail Falls

We followed the Gorge Trail behind the falls, which is always a fun thing to do, and continued to a viewpoint overlooking the cloud covered Columbia River.

Ponytail Falls

Ponytail Falls

Columbia River and Beacon Rock

The trail then followed the Oneonta Gorge to a footbridge over the creek near Oneonta Falls.

Oneonta Gorge

Footbridge over Oneonta Creek

Oneonta Falls

On the far side of the bridge the trail climbed to a junction with the Oneonta Trail. The short 2.7 mile loop described in the guide book turned right here and descended .9 miles to the old highway for a half mile road walk back to the trailhead. The other option had us turn left on the Oneonta Trail and climb up along Oneonta Creek where in just under a mile we came to the aptly named Triple Falls.

Triple Falls

We followed the Oneonta Trail along the creek for nearly 3 more miles passing a junction with the Horestail Creek Trail just over a mile from Triple Falls. The forest was wonderfully green surrounding the creek with smaller side creeks all around.

Oneonta Creek

Small fall along the Oneonta Trail

Oneonta Creek

Creek along the Oneonta Trail

Junction with the Horsetail Creek Trail

Beyond the junction with the Horestail Creek Trail the Oneonta Trail veered away from the creek and began to climb up to Franklin Ridge. We were headed into the clouds as we climbed past some talus slopes to the next trail junction.

Talus

Forest along the Oneonta Trail

At the junction with the Franklin Ridge Trail we found ourselves in a forest wholly different than the lush green one we’d climbed from.

Forest along the Oneonta Trail

We turned right onto the Franklin Ridge Trail and began passing through the cold gray forest. It didn’t stay gray forever though and we soon found ourselves on an overgrown trail in a meadow full of purple larkspur.

Franklin Ridge Trail

Larkspur along the Franklin Ridge Trail

Near the end of Franklin Ridge the trail descended to a junction with the Larch Mountain Trail, just over two miles from where we had picked up the trail and 3 miles from the Multnomah Lodge.

Larch Mountain Trail sign

The hike down the Larch Mountain Trail along Multnomah Creek was gorgeous. Green forests and a series of waterfalls awaited as we made our way down to the top of Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Creek

Multnomah Creek

Multnomah Creek

Multnomah Creek

Ecola Falls

Ecola Falls

Weisendanger Falls

Weisendanger Falls

Middle and Lower Dutchman Falls

Dutchman Falls

As we got closer to the upper viewpoint the number of other hikers grew exponentially. The upper viewpoint was closed off but as we made our way further down toward the lodge the falls came into view.

Multnomah Falls

To finish our loop we would need to take the Gorge Trail which split off from the Larch Mountain Trail .6 miles from the upper viewpoint. That split was before the Larch Mountain Trail reached the Benson Bridge below Multnomah Falls and since we were that close to the bridge and the lodge we decided to check them out before completing the loop.

Crossing the Benson Bridge was a nightmare. A mass of humanity was stopped on the bridge trying to get pictures while others were trying to get across it to go up the trail, we were salmon swimming against the current and by the time we’d made it down to the lodge I was done with people. I took a couple of photos, used the facilities inside the lodge, then we headed back up through the quagmire of bodies to the Gorge Trail.

Multnomah Falls

What the Gorge Trail lacked in scenic creeks and waterfalls it made up for in solitude. We followed it to a junction with the return route of the 2.7 mile loop option where we forked left and followed it down to the old highway. As we followed the highway the number of people began to increase, especially as we neared the Oneonta Gorge. Unfortunately this beautiful canyon was already becoming and now is too popular for it’s own good. It’s possible to wade upstream and so many people do so now that lines form as people wait to clamber over a resident log jam. We skipped the side trip that day and have yet to venture in.

After passing the mouth of the gorge the path passed through a tunnel left over from the early days of the old highway. A bridge later replaced the tunnel but it was reopened for foot traffic.

Oneonta Gorge tunnel

Our first hike in the Columbia River Gorge had given us a taste of a little of everything the area has to offer. Amazing waterfalls, lush green forests, talus slopes, wildflower meadows, massive crowds at popular spots, and wonderful solitude further up trail. It’s an amazing area in an amazing state. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157632954287431

Niagara Falls and Neskowin

We took advantage of a favorable forecast and headed out for our February hike to visit a pair of coastal waterfalls and then the beach near Neskowin.  We’ve had a lot of snow and rain this winter making it a good time to catch the waterfalls assuming you can reach them.  The storms have left their mark on some of the trails and roads so we weren’t sure what to expect as we prepared to head out, but a quick check of the Forest Service website listed the Niagara Falls Trailhead as open so we were optimistic.

The Niagara Falls Trailhead is located east of Mt. Hebo in the Siuslaw National Forest. There was good signage along the route which took us  5 miles east of Blaine, OR on Upper Nestucca Road (Forest  Road 85) where we turned right onto Niagara Road (Forest Road 8533). A small herd of elk were grazing in the field at this turn.
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We followed this gravel road for 4.3 miles. The road was in pretty good shape and had obviously been cleared recently. At the 4.3 mile mark we forked right following signs for the trail for another .7 miles to the trailhead.
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The mile long Niagara Falls Trail led downhill through a fern filled forest crossing a small creek three times on footbridges.
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This small creek was flowing well enough to create its own decent, albeit hard to see little fall.
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As the trail leveled out along Pheasant Creek the first fall to come into view was Niagara Falls.
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As the trail neared Niagara Falls an opening to the left revealed Pheasant Falls.
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A footbridge below Pheasant Falls brought us to a picnic table at the end of the Niagara Falls Trail.
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We returned the way we’d come. The 2 mile hike had been a nice warm up and now we were headed back to Highway 101 and then south to Neskowin.

We stared our second hike of the day at the Winema Road Beach Access which is located near the Wi-Ne-Ma Christian Camp. The beach access can be reached by driving .6 miles on Winema Road which is 4 miles north of Neskowin along Highway 101.
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From the beach the view south extended to Cascade Head and to the north to Cape Lookout beyond Haystack Rock.
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Our timing wasn’t great as it was a little before 10am when we started and high tide would be just after 12:30 so it was already coming in. This meant we would not be getting to a couple of places that would have been accessible at lower tide. We headed north first for .4 miles to some rocks jutting out onto the beach. Along the way we passed a small waterfall that we had not been expecting.
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At low tide it is possible to continue .6 miles to the mouth of the Nestucca River across from Bob Straub State Park but the waves were already reaching the rocks and we knew if we continued we’d be stuck until the tide went back out so after playing around on the rocks for a minute we turned around and headed south.
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We hadn’t gone too far to the south when we reached the outlet creek of Daley Lake which wasn’t mentioned in our guidebook. The only way across was to ford the creek, but luckily it was only ankle deep and not too cold.
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On the other side of creek was a picnic table that seemed really out of place. Heather noted that it appeared to be close enough that the ocean would reach it, although it wasn’t very close at that time. The rest of the sights were pretty typical of a beach walk. Driftwood, rocks, pieces of shells, seaweed, boats, sea birds, and lots of washed up garbage.
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There was something we couldn’t recall seeing before though. Large numbers of pickle shaped jelly fish looking things of various sizes.
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A little under 2.5 miles from the Winema Beach Access the beach became impassable due to the tide reaching the rock wall protecting the houses at Neskowin. Luckily the Mt. Angel St. access was located at the north end of the rock wall so we left the beach and walked inland to Breakers Blvd.
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We turned right on the paved street and walked for .7 miles to Carlton Ave. where we turned left toward the Proposal Rock Inn which was on the far side of Neskowin Creek. At the creek we turned right and followed it to Proposal Rock.
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Our guidebook indicated it was possible to continue another .6 miles south to Cascade Head but the creek was far too swollen for us to ford it. Likewise we were unable to reach Proposal Rock due to it’s being surrounded by water.
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With the tide in we couldn’t walk back along the beach from there so we took the paved streets of Neskowin once again back to the Mt. Angle St. access. We then hiked back along the beach where we discovered that Heather had been right about the ocean reaching that odd picnic table.
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You just never know what you’re going to see along the Oregon Coast. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Niagara Falls & Neskowin

Throwback Thursday – Tumalo Falls

On 8/2/2011 during a week of vacation in Central Oregon we did a 6.8 mile loop hike visiting several waterfalls, most notably Tumalo Falls.

We began at an interpretive sign at the end of Tumalo Falls Road (Road 4603) on the North Fork Trail.
Tumalo Falls trailhead

North Fork Trail sign

We kept right at junctions passing the lower viewpoint with its straight ahead look at the falls and continued to the upper viewpoint beside the falls which is less than a quarter mile from the trailhead.
Tumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls

The beauty of the falls and the easy access make it a very popular destination but we were there early and had the view to ourselves. Most people turn back after reaching the upper viewpoint but we continued on the North Fork Trail further into the forest.
North Fork Trail

The trail stuck close to Tumalo Creek passing Double Falls after .8 miles followed by Middle Tumalo Falls .9 miles later.
Double Falls

Middle Tumalo Falls

After passing a spring the trail crossed the Middle Fork Tumalo Creek on a footbridge.
North Fork Trail

Smaller fork of Tumalo Creek

Beyond the footbridge we took a brief detour toward the North Fork Tumalo Creek to see Lower North Fork Tumalo Falls.
Lower North Fork Tumalo Falls

After returning to the North Fork Trail we continued to follow the Middle Fork Tumalo Creek passing several more nice waterfalls. The names of some of which we are not certain of.
Small waterfall on Tumalo Creek

Middle Fork Tumalo Falls

Lower Middle Fork Tumalo Falls

Middle Fork Tumalo Falls
Middle Fork Tumalo Falls

Shortly beyond Middle Fork Tumalo Falls we arrived at a junction with the Swampy Lakes Trail which we turned left on and promptly crossed the creek on a log.
Tumalo Creek Crossing

From this trail we could see part of snowy Tam McArthur Rim where the headwaters of Tumalo Creek originate.
Tam McArthur Rim

We followed the Swampy Lakes Trail just over 2 miles from the creek crossing to a junction with the Bridge Creek Trail where we turned left along Bridge Creek to complete the loop. One final waterfall awaited along this final 1.3 mile section – Bridge Creek Falls.
Bridge Creek Falls

A moderate to easy hike the loop is a great option for waterfall lovers spending time in the Bend area. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Tumalo Falls

Throwback Thursday – Paulina Peak

With the frequency of our hikes down during our off-season we’ve decided to go back and write up some of our outings from before we started this blog. We’re hoping to have Throwback Thursday posts during those weeks that we don’t have a new trip report to write. We’ll start with hikes that we haven’t repeated since starting the blog and, at least to begin with, are not in our plans to be hiked again in the foreseeable future. That is not to say that they are not worthwhile hikes, they all are. In our attempt to take as many different trails as possible we rarely repeat hikes, and when we do it has typically been because we missed something the first time such as a view or blooming wildflowers.

Please keep in mind that we completed all of the throwback hikes at least 4 years ago so before visiting any of the trails be sure to check with the managing agency on their current condition and availability.

With that disclaimer we’d like to start off with one of the most diverse hikes in terms of scenery that we’ve taken – Paulina Peak in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. This hike was done on 8/6/2011 during a week long vacation in Central Oregon.

There are a number of hiking options in the monument and our visit consisted of a loop using several different trails allowing us to visit several different worthwhile goals. We began our hike by parking at the Big Obsidian Flow Trailhead.
Big Obsidian Flow

Big Obsidian Flow Amphitheater sign at the trailhead

We started with the .8 mile interpretive Big Obsidian Trail which took us into the obsidian flow passing numerous information signs along the way.
Interpretive sign at the Big Obsidian Flow

Obsidian

Big Obsidian Flow

In addition to the interpretive signs and cool rock formations the trail offers views of Paulina Peak, Paulina Lake, and Lost Lake.
Paulina Peak from the Big Obsidian Flow Trail

Paulina Lake
Paulina Lake with Mt. Bachelor and the South Sister beyond.

Lost Lake

A great option for kids this proved to be perfect warm up for the longer loop we had planned. After returning to the parking area we followed the Silica Trail for 100 yards to a junction with the Newberry Crater Trail where we turned right.
Newberry Crater Trail sign

We followed this trail for another half mile to the Lost Lake Trail where we once again turned right following a pointer for the Crater Rim Trail.
Lost Lake Trail sign

The Lost Lake Trail passed near Lost Lake but not close enough to get a look although occasional hints of sulfur in the air gave it’s presence away. After passing Lost Lake the trail began switching back uphill alongside the Big Obsidian Flow. The open forest sported a number of blooming lupine plants.
Forest along the Lost Lake Trail

Lupine

Snow along the Lost Lake Trail

As we climbed we gained views of both of the large lakes in the Newberry Caldera.
Paulina Lake
Paulina Lake

East Lake
East Lake

After nearly 3 miles on the Lost Lake Trail the trail leveled out after cresting a knoll. Here the trail forked. The left fork led a quarter mile to the Pumice Flat and then on to the Crater Rim in another 3/4 of a mile while the right hand fork reached the Crater Rim Trail in only a half mile (and at a much closer point to Paulina Peak).
Trail signs along the Lost Lake Trail

Before taking the right hand fork we visited the Pumice Flat which was dotted with purple dwarf lupine blossoms.
Lupine near the Pumice Flat

Pumice Flat

Pumice Flat

From the junction near the Pumice Flat the trail climbed almost 350′ to the rim of the caldera and the Crater Rim Trail. This section of trail offered a nice view of our goal, Paulina Peak, as well as a look down on the Pumice Flat from above.
Paulina Peak

Pumice Flat near the Crater Rim Trail junction

Junction with the Crater Rim Trail

We turned right on the Crater Rim Trail and headed toward Paulina Peak. Although it was a little hazy out due to smoke form a couple of forest fires the views along this section extended from Mt. Jefferson in the north to Mt. Thielsen in the South.
Mt. Jefferson
Mt. Jefferson

Mt. Thielsen
Mt. Thielsen

The views back down into the caldera where less affected by the haze.
Pumice Flat and the Big Obsidian Flow from the Crater Rim Trail
Pumice Flat

East Lake and the Big Obsidian Flow
East Lake

Paulina Lake
Paulina Lake

The trail traversed around the south side of Paulina Peak meeting up with Road 500 two and a half miles from where we had turned onto the Crater Rim Trail.
Crater Rim Trail

Crater Rim Trail

Road 500 allows people to drive up to the 7984′ summit of Paulina Peak which makes it accessible to anyone. The Crater Rim Trail picked up on the far side of Road 500 at a trail sign after a 100′ jog to the left.
Crater Rim Trail

Crater Rim Trail

We followed the Crater Rim Trail for an additional .9 miles where we arrived at a junction with the Paulina Peak Trail.
Paulina Peak Trail

We followed this trail to the parking area atop Paulina Peak at the end of Road 500.
Paulina Peak summit sign

Despite the haze the 360 degree view was spectacular.
Diamond Peak
Diamond Peak to the SW

View from Paulina Peak
Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, and The Three Sisters to the NW

Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top and the Three Sisters
Closer look at the mountains

Paulina Lake
Paulina Lake to the north.

East Lake
East Lake and the Big Obsidian Flow to the NE

Big Obsidian Flow and the Pumice Flat from Paulina Peak
Pumice Flat to the East

After a nice break at the summit we returned to the Crater Rim Trail and continued on our loop. The trail headed down into the forest passing a view back to Paulina Peaks cliffy north face before recrossing Road 500 after 1.8 miles.
Crater Rim Trail

Paulina Peak

After another mile we reached a junction near Road 21 and the Paulina Visitor Center. Here we faced a choice. We could have turned right on a horse path for 3 miles back to the Big Obsidian Trailhead or we could cross Road 21 and take a slightly longer route along the shore of Paulina Lake. Of course we chose option C which was to take the lake shore trail but only after detouring to visit Paulina Falls.
Trail sign along the Crater Rim Trail

We followed the Crater Rim Trail across Road 21 and briefly along the entrance road to the Paulina Lake Lodge then turned left on the Paulina Falls Trail which followed Pualina Creek .3 miles to a picnic area at the falls viewpoint.
Paulina Creek

Paulina Creek

The twin falls were beautiful and quite a change from the other scenery we had encountered so far during the hike.
Paulina Falls

After a taking advantage of the cooler air by the falls to recharge we set off on the final leg our our hike. We crossed the lodge entrance road where we picked up the Paulina Lake Shore Loop Trail.
Trail sign for the Paulina Lake Shore Loop Trail

This 7.5 mile trail loops around Paulina Lake and is on our schedule for this year along with the upper portion of the Peter Skene Ogden Trail.  To complete our loop for this trip we would follow the lake shore for roughly 2.5 miles to the Silica Trail.

The scenery along this section of the lake shore varied quite a bit changing from grassy marsh to forest to rocky shore line and back.
Paulina Lake

Forest along the Paulina Lake Shore Loop Trail

Paulina Lake

Paulina Lake

Paulina Peak

BIg Obsidian Flow from Paulina Lake

After all the different views and scenery the hiked had provided up to the point when we arrived at the Silica Trail the final half mile paled in comparison.
Trial sign for the Silica Trail

The Silica Trail led away from Paulina Lake through a mostly viewless, dusty lodgepole pine forest before crossing Road 21 and bringing us back to the Big Obsidian Flow Trailhead.
Big Obsidian Flow sign

Our hike was somewhere around 15 miles (pre GPS) with approx 2500′ of elevation gain so it’s not for everyone, but everyone of the highlights of this hike are accessible via shorter options. This and the availability of numerous other recreational activities make the Newberry National Volcanic Monument a great place to visit. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157632954961759