Archive for the ‘Great Hikes’ Category

Mt. Pisgah Arboretum

A great place to unwind from a long day at work, Mt. Pisgah is in Eugene/Springfield’s backyard. Only 5-10 minutes away from town, it’s a quick drive to a beautiful place to hike. There are miles of trails that take you through multiple riparian zones including an Oak Savanna, Water Garden and Cedar forest. Don’t miss the Wildflower Festival in the spring and the Mushroom Festival in the fall. There is a $4 dollar parking fee, so you might consider buying a year long pass. Mt. Pisgah also has an incredible events space you can rent for weddings etc.

Mt. Pisgah Arboretum


Indigo Springs Campground

If you are out and about exploring the Hills Creek Reservoir area, make sure to make a quick stop at Indigo Springs. There is a small picnic area – including a table just across the footbridge. The natural springs flow right out of the ground creating a cascading waterfall effect. The loop trail takes you to the top of the springs and around the opposite side. It’s fascinating watching the water flow out of the ground in multiple areas – including out from underneath large cedar trees. A contemplative spot, you feel time standing still as you see nature in action springing crystal clear water from beneath the earth.

Directions – 31 miles southeast of Oakridge. About 2 miles southeast of Oakridge take the Kitson Springs Road about .5 miles – following the signs to Hills Creek Reservoir. Turn on to FS road 21 for 27 miles. Watch for the Indigo Springs Campground sign.

There are vault toilets, picnic tables and fire rings.

Timpanogas Lake Oregon

A little gem of a lake located high up in the Cascades near Summit and Crescent Lake. Great campsites flank one area of the lake offering instant canoe launching spots. Picnic tables and a turn-around loop is also great for trailers. There is an upper and lower lake. The lower lake require a small canoe portage through the brush, but a fun afternoon canoe trip. There was only one campsite taken on a Friday afternoon in August! If you want to get away with comforts of vault toilets and picnic tables, this might be the spot. The mosquitos were pretty terrible though, so bring the bug spray. The road from Crescent Lake is really terrible, so I would recommend coming in via Hills Creek Reservoir. I have driven a lot of barely passable back roads in my life the road between Crescent Lake and Summit Lake is top on my list of roads I don’t want to drive again. I do not recommend it!

Canoeing Summit Lake Oregon

Located a few miles beyond Crescent Lake is my new favorite lake discovery. An absolutely pristine lake – you can see clear to the bottom in most of the areas I canoed. Fairly large in size, the lake offers infinite exploration along it’s volcanic shores. Spotted with tiny islands, it’s a boater-adventurers dream. Look for natural bonsais and tucked away secret canoe-in campsites. I did not see any algae blooms which was a great sign for this time of year. The mosquito’s weren’t too bad – not nearly as bad as nearby Timpanogas Lake. I have a feeling that there are many hidden secrets to this lake – including a canoe portage spot to secretly pass back over to the other side of the lake.

At around 5600-foot elevation Summit Lake is nestled in the Oregon Cascades Recreation Area. Diamond Peak looks over the lake and the Pacific Crest Trail runs near the west shore of the lake.

Directions – Note – the road in is in very poor condition. I would only recommend high clearance 4×4 vehicles – and even then it is pretty bad. On a personal note, the roads appear to have been torn up by off road vehicles/ATVs. I think there should be a law against off road vehicle/ATV use on established roads. The more time I spend exploring the back roads of Oregon the more apparent the damage these vehicles are doing to roads.

There are 2 different ways to reach the lake. You can take the back way through Oakridge and along Hills Creek Reservoir. The road is paved for a long time in and then turns to gravel. Though, once you reach the lake area, the road becomes extremely rough and I would only recommend high clearance 4x4s. The roads were better in the past but are getting worse each year.

You can also go in via Crescent Lake. From Highway 58, turn in the town of Crescent following the signs to Crescent Lake. Turn at the junction and follow NF Road 60 around the lake. Use a map from this point as it can be a little tricky. I can’t repeat enough that the road in is in horrible condition! Take with extreme caution and only a high clearance 4×4. 

Ok – so the message is loud and clear about the road conditions, but the lake itself is a a true gem! It is worth the harrowing drive and has topped my previous favorite – Sparks Lake. If you have canoe camped Sparks lake, you will be equally impressed with Summit. Pictures coming soon and a quick write-up on Timpanogas Lake too.

IMG_1255 IMG_1318 IMG_1328 IMG_1410

Sweet Creek Falls, Oregon

Wow – I finally had the opportunity to hike Sweet Creek Falls outside of Mapleton Oregon. It was awesome! We only hiked the lower area as we were running out of sunlight, but as soon as the weather gets a little nicer, I can’t wait to do the whole hike. I’ll post some pictures soon – but if you are traveling that direction, it’s worth the stop! The hike to beauty ratio is at a 10! You instantly begin seeing waterfalls within about 200 feet down the trail. One of this highlights is being able to walk on grated walkways that take you over the water as massive falls flow underneath you.