Plunkett Creek Trail, is a 2 mile out and back trail located near Philomath, Oregon and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
Hike through a canopy of new and old growth trees This short hike above a streambed will give you a bird's eye view of a Coast Range canopy. Beazell Memorial Forest is Benton County's newest and largest park. It is a self-sustaining managed conservation forest, which will be occasionally thinned or logged to provide proceeds for park maintenance. Trails are open to hikers, bikers and horses year round. I did recieve permission from the county to place this cache. At the signboard near the parking area, read the bittersweet story of Fred and Dolores Beazell and their love of this place. Take the gravel path into the woods and across the creek and go upstream to find the cache on the Plunkett creek trail, about a mile up (mild elevation gain) to the end of the trail marked with a "Park Boundry Sign".
Peaceful and interesting short trail.
In need of a bit of mileage, I combined the Plunkett Creek loop trail, the short climb to the top, the South Ridge Trail and the South Loop to bring it to about 5 miles (see uploaded track).
As other reviewers mentioned, it is worth reading, before you take off on the trail, the story of the couple who made this park possible.
The Plunkett Creek trail gives a good idea of why Albert "Fred" Beazell chose this area to retire, enjoy bird-watching and plant quite a few trees. This portion of the trail is very well maintained, bird songs follow you as you follow the creek and the forest is beautiful and airy. The south branch of the loop crosses over the creek a couple time on sturdy wood bridges; if provides access to the creek itself in many places. The North side of the loop is higher up on the slope and is wider as it is an old dirt road.
At the Eastern end of the loop, a trail peels off to the South and then climbs in a South-West direction, via a series of switchbacks to the 1295 ft top of the hill over Plunkett creek. This section of the trail was a bit overgrown when I went up (late May) until it reaches the ridgeline. It was, however, peppered with wildflowers almost all the way to the top.
The summit loop (about 1 mile total) basically circles a very serene south-facing, gently sloped, grassy meadow. At the summit, a very short spur provides access to the top of the meadow, offering the only open views of the whole hike. Views are to the South-South-West and feature Mary's Peak on the right. This can be a good spot for a quick break and a snack (no bench though :-) )
The descent back to the parking area is via the South Ridge trail... which is really a dirt road. The grade is rather pronounced (which means climbing UP this way is likely a nice 1-mile workout).
At the base of South-Ridge, another short loop could be used by folks with less time or less energy than it requires to get to the top. If you come from the parking lot, the loop starts just after a short right-hand spur (wooden steps) that provides access to an open water tank.
Back to the parking lot area, I took some time to read the various educational displays and take a closer look at the Plunkett barn and the old house.
Bottom line: a very pretty and "intimate" park (used for weddings... and that's easy to understand considering the good vibes and beautiful scenery of the park) that offers several interesting options for a short and yet very rewarding "walk in the woods"
Great! With my 10 & 12 year old!