Archive for the ‘Cascades’ Category

Gordon Lakes

Gordon Lakes IMG_3182 IMG_3174IMG_3188

Downtown Oakridge, Oregon


I’m always surprised how much of small towns I miss on a regular basis. So often, main roads and highways run closely to a town, but it’s easy to drive past the best part – the main downtown core. For years I have been driving through Oakridge, Oregon on my way to Central Oregon. There are plenty of stops along the main highway route, but I had no idea what I was missing. Downtown Oakridge has a lot to offer. With a quick left turn off of the highway, you land in downtown. There’s a brewery, hostel, and an amazing coffee shop/bakery as well as other establishments. Here are some places to stop along the way.

Brewers Union Local 180

Aufderheide Scenic Drive, Oregon

Spent yet another amazing Oregon day driving the Aufderheide Scenic Road in Oregon. Boasting amazing rivers, hikes and camping spots, there’s a lot to see and do. Stopped in at the Constitution Grove and hiked for awhile along the North Fork. I’ll post pictures soon. The negative today would be the campgrounds and roads gated off by the Forest Service. I continue to find this really disappointing. I need to qualify that I was raised by a now retired Forest Service employee, so my loyalty goes very deep. But I feel that lately we are seeing more areas closed too early. Shame on you Willamette National Forest! Just because Labor Day has passed, doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of people still out camping and enjoying our public lands. This is one reason I’m passionate about keeping this website going. The more knowledge and sharing of our natural assets the less likely they will be gated off. Keep your voices heard in a peaceful protest. Keep our campgrounds open and let us access “our” roads – not just the logging companies! Once again – Shame on you WNF! Get your act together!

Fall River Campground, Central Oregon

This is a magical river located in Central Oregon along South Cascade Road. It’s a great place to fish, play in the water, or just enjoy the beauty and hiking in the area. I just stopped here a few days ago and even on the weekend mid summer, it wasn’t that busy.




Moon Falls, Lane County

IMG_0177This is probably one of my favorite waterfalls in Oregon. Located in Lane county – in the Oakridge area, it makes a great fall hiking spot. Be careful though, as heavy rains can cause slides along the Cascade back roads. Always let someone know where you are headed. What I love about this waterfall is that you can walk down to the base of the falls. So often we have to admire from a distance, but here you get the full experience. I always caution about swimming under falls as rocks and debris can come washing down on top of you, but hey – it’s Oregon. What are the odds of swimming in our freezing mountain waters anyway. You are probably more at risk for hypothermia. The drive up is beautiful and there are some great hiking spots along Brice Creek.

Here’s a great link with specific directions. Also check out nearby Spirit Falls.

Moon Falls

TIMPANOGAS LAKE, Oregon Cascades



Summit Lake Oregon Pictures

Check out the post about Summit Lake too –

Larison Cove Hills Creek Reservoir – Canoeing

I usually do not include reservoir areas as recommended spots for canoeing – because of the wind factor, motor boats, lack of scenery etc, but the “arms” of Hills Creek Reservoir offer some great canoeing nooks. Larison Cove is one of those spots. A small parking area and canoe launch makes it easy to put in. Watch for small docks – a fun perch to eat lunch. Depending on the water level, you can go up the channel for quite awhile. I was there when the water was relatively low, but it was fun nonetheless. There were canoe campers near the back of the cove so canoe camping is a possibility. Take Kitson Springs Road/Hills Creek Road about 2 miles southeast of Oakridge. Turn on to NF Road 21 around the west side of the reservoir. Watch for the sign for Larison Cove on your right.

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!