DISTANCE
12.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,326 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

hiking

trail running

forest

views

wildlife

snow

hiking
5 months ago

We saw twelve species of conifer: Douglas-fir, juniper, western larch, and Engelmann spruce; mountain hemlocks; western white, lodgepole, and ponderosa pines; and grand, silver, noble, and subalpine firs. Some of the ponderosas got to 5' in diameter. Along the way we saw three distinct habitats: an eastern edge forest of ponderosas, junipers, and white oaks; an eastside pine/grand/doug fir mix; and a mid-altitude eastern mix of silver fir, larch, and spruce, with a few mountain hemlocks and subalpine & noble firs sprinkled in. There was a good variety of flowers, though not quite peak: balsam root, lupine and larkspur were abundant and pervasive. There were a few Pacific dogwoods and bitter cherries in glorious bloom. Parsley, trillium, glacier lily, lowly penstemon, star flower, nootka rose, honeysuckle, Indian paintbrush, vanilla leaf, blue anemone, yarrow, wild strawberries. and a few I didn't recognize were also flowering.

The steepness at the end was hard on such a sandy trail with rocks in it - had to descend slowly on tired legs. Maintenance was in progress, but there were a dozen single logs to straddle along the way and a couple of serious tangles to get past. There were three spots where the trail was challenging to follow and seemed to fade out, but it only slowed us down a couple of minutes.

We had the trail all to ourselves: we saw only three other hikers - backpackers, actually - all day. We saw some poop - horse, deer, elk, and coyote. There were a couple of sagebrush lizards and a ruffed grouse we saw along the trail. On the drive back to Dufur there were three deer, and a skunk running along the road. We heard an olive-sided flycatcher, chickadees, nuthatches, ravens, and juncos. There were just a couple of tiny patches of snow to remind us that it's still early Spring at those altitudes. The views at Flag Point of Mts. Hood, Adams, Jefferson, and Three Sisters were tremendous!