dogs on leash
I tend to hike this starting from the Chip Ross parking lot. The first 2/3 of the trail are fairly easy, with a little bit of hill up and downs but overall pretty flat and downhill. The last third, at Upper Dan's is very steep: definitely the hardest part of the trail and takes the most time. On the way back, you have to go uphill on some of the earlier Dan trail, which is tough after the steepness of Upper Dan's but not bad. Beautiful trail.
Good. Had some steep inclines (lower horse trail). People were running the paths (crazy), I will feel the burn tomorrow. Beautiful and easy to follow trails.
One negative were no porta-potties at the parking site or anywhere on the paths. We went above the Chip Ross path (recommend).
Great hike on President's Day 2016. We were the first one's on the trail starting just after 7 a.m. Its a quiet hike through old growth forest with gradual climbs and descents until reaching the base of Dimple Hill then its a series of zig-zags up to the top. You'll suddenly emerge out of the forest on the crown of the hill with beautiful views. Note: the first mile on the Chip Ross Park trail is extremely muddy this time of year. The actual Dan's trail on the McDonald Dunn Forest is just fine. The moderate rating is appropriate though nothing technical. Take the time to rest along the way as there are several sites (a water fall, creek, pools, etc.) to enjoy.
Not the most "beautiful" trail around but a very "nice" one with a healthy 8.2 miles out and back.
Once at the top, there are South-East views over the valley toward and the Coastal Range that constitute a bit of a reward after a slightly demanding ascent.
The first two miles ( from the Chip Ross parking lot at the end of NW Lester Av) are a modest roller-coaster of ups and downs, half of it at the southern edge of the Chip Ross Park itself. There are many intersecting trails in that area and a bit of attention (or good plannin/map reading) will help not taking the wrong turn by lack of attention. The usual "you are here" maps of the Chip Ross Park do help. This first mile is mostly fire-road easy and acts as a good warm up for the rest of the trail. The second mile (lower Dan Trail to RD612.4., shortly after the Jackson creek crossing over a wooden bridge) fist crosses a set of power lines offering rare clears view to the North, and then dips down -- as a single track trail -- before climbing slowly back up to the Jackson Creek wooden bridge and the four-way crossing at the junction with RD612.4.
At this intersection, the Upper Dan's Trail / Dimple HIll section starts. That second section to the summit is a little bit steeper and fairly constantly going up in a series of switchback. The forested views are also more to my liking (subjective opinion of course). At the top, a short trail (.5 miles) rounds the summit of Dimple HIll and a couple wooden benches, oriented to take in the views over the lower Willamette Valley, are a great spot to take a break. The .2 miles connector named "Into the Wardrobe" bisect the summit loop itself and provides access to the very top of Dimple Hill.
Overall, a good place to "get away" and do something good for your health (hiking, trail-running, biking or horseback riding)
Parking at this trailhead is no longer permitted. It's heavily posted with signage that specifies access to the Jackson Creek Gate is only allowed by foot or non-motorized vehicle. All vehicles should now park at Chip Ross.
Starting from Chip Ross will make this trip 5.42 miles and give you 1,079 ft in elevation gain. See my Track for the quickest way to get on Horse Trail from Chip Ross.
NOTE: Parking is no longer allowed at the gate at the west-end of NW Jackson Creek Rd. As of late 2013 ample signage explains that parking for these trails is permitted only at nearby Chip Ross Park. (Due to road maintenance and parking-area costs borne by nearby residents.)