HIGHWAY 224 TO HUXLEY LAKE
Starts at Highway 224 near the Roaring River climbing out of the canyon on a long abandoned trail to Winslow Pit on the 4611 road. From here we follow another abandoned trail (Old North Fork Trail?) to a junction with the Huxley Lake Trail 521 from which we will continue to the lake. The Huxley Lake Trail is a maintained trail.
The climb from 900′ to 3200′ is a bit tough but worth it. Once on top there are moderate ups and downs. The majority of the hike is through undisturbed habitat. There is a little road walking approaching and departing the Winslow Pit/4611 road area. The “Old North Fork” and 521 Trail are occasionally used by ATVs.
The climb out of the Clackamas is brushy, steep, and has poor footing. One should be prepared for these conditions. On top the route is easier going.
There is no water along the way. There is a spot of poison oak.
CRIPPLE CREEK TRAIL TO SNOW LEVEL
Ascending Cripple Creek Trail 703 to the sub alpine zone we will pass through several forest types and ecosystems. The route features magnificent stands of timber, meadows, a curious perfect cone, and rock fields. Most of the trip has southern exposure and will allow us reach snow at the highest possible point. Usually at this time of year snow will be at 4000′. We will try to make it to a meadow/lake at the junction with the 702 trail regardless of snow.
The trail is clear of brush, fallen trees, and limbs. It is a steady but not grueling ascent. There is good water half way up the hill. The upper rock field requires sure footing. A robust patch of poison oak requires careful passage in one of the lower rock fields.
There are usually tons of deer.
CACHE MEADOW LOOP
A four mile loop starting at the Cache Meadow Trail 702 trailhead rising slightly by way of a shallow drainage past a couple of meadows and along the linear meadow which connects them. From Cache Meadow we will return via the at first hidden “trail x” which becomes an easy and first class trail to Cripple Lake and on back to the starting point by way of a brief brushy link trail.
This is time to do this hike because the insects are excessive here later. Marsh Marigolds will be in abundance. It will be a very watery hike as the snows will be just or nearly just gone. Good boots a must. Other than that an easy hike and an interesting tour of subalpine timber and habitat.
FISH CREEK MOUNTAIN
Abandoned due to road closure, advocates have been restoring the former 1969 trailhead to gain access to the higher trailhead abandoned after the 1996 floods which contributed to the decision to close most of the roads in the Fish Creek drainage. Fish Creek Mountain Trail 541 is a fabulous high-country trail featuring rugged terrain, views, and wild flowers.
The initial part of the trail is rough due to long years of abandonment. We then walk a short way on decommissioned road to the continuation of the trail. From this point the trail is well graded and clear of fallen trees to High Lake, a small lake a fair way below the summit. It is a rather steady ascent which requires a fair amount of stamina. It’s about a seven mile round trip.
Fish Creek Mountain has a distinctive double summit. The trail abounds in gooseberries, ants, wild flowers, dramatic rock formations, views, and bears. The ridge top timber is larger than on other ridges in the area at this elevation.
BATY BUTTE TO JOYCE LAKE
Advocates have been working on the recovery of the Baty Butte Trail 545 for years. The interesting ridge top trail is a section of the old Boundary Trail, a probable indian trail.
We will start near Baty Butte on a segment of the old South Fork-Bagby Trail ascending to the four way junction of the 545 trail, the old Boundary Trail and a spur leading to the Lost Creek Meadows BLM “trailhead.” Then we will travel south on the Boundary Trail along the ridge which separates the Molalla River drainage from the Clackamas River drainage. There may still be wildflowers. There are many views, fewer bugs, and a constant breeze on this historic trail. Plan on no water availabilty along the way. There is a bog at one point but it’s best as dog water. There are two rough stretches where logging has ripped the trail where some sure footedness will be required. Lastly, we will drop down off the ridge to Joyce Lake.
There is potential with this hike to have vehicles at either end. A six mile one way trip.
THUNDER MOUNTAIN AND SKOOKUM LAKE
A well graded ascent to a former lookout site with views all around of the district. Descend to the mysterious Skookum Lake in the shadow of the summit.
Thunder Mountain Trail 543 and Skookum Lake Trail 542 are in good condition. Stamina required because we will always be going up or down. There is no excessive steepness. The view from Thunder Mountain is good due to low vegetation. Many former lookout sites are now growing in with young trees blocking visibility. A very pleasant trail leads down the mountain to Skookum Lake below. Along the way a junction with a segment of trail heading west towards Baty Butte to the left. We will continue east to the mysterious Skookum Lake.
About a five mile round trip.
COTTONWOOD MEADOWS AND MOUNT MITCHELL
Beginning with an easy ascent along the recovered Cottonwood Meadows Trail 705 we soon reach and traverse a young forest of noble fir and bear grass returning to virgin sub alpine timber and a series of seldom visited meadows. Then a short steep ascent takes us to the rimrock crest of Mount Mitchell from which we continue on easy trail to a stunning viewpoint on the mountain’s southern flank.
There is lake water at one of the meadows.
About an eight mile round trip.
These trails predate Forest Service establishment and have an “evolved” feel to them. An aggressive initial ascent is rewarded with a view and then easier going. Views of Mount Hood and then on to Old Baldy via the Old Baldy Trail 502. Then descend along the abandoned Bissell Trail back down to the road. Steep and brushy in places, voices of the past, through primarily undisturbed area.
Three springs occur along the way.
About a seven mile one way trip.