Mt. Jefferson Wilderness – Coffin Lookout Trail #3392


mt. Jefferson Wilderness Coffin Lookout Trail

July 5, 2012

Info: (from Jenn’s Hiking book – Oregon Hiking) From a distance, it’s easy to see how Coffin Mountain got its name. This square and prominent peak atop a wall of cliffs certainly resembles a giant’s final resting place, but those cliffs are deceptive; along the backside, an easy trail climbs to a staffed lookout tower – a 16 square foot box that, if you’re lucky, you may be able to visit. You’ll see why these five towers are still staffed on the way up; the trail passes through an old burn being repopulated by young noble fir and sub-alpine fir. From the trailhead, follow the old bulldozer road and finally trail up 1.5 miles to the peak.

Directions: Drive east of Salem 69 miles on OR 22. It’s about 21 miles from the Detroit Ranger Station (EAST). Turn rt on Road 11 – Straight Creek Road. Travel for about 4 miles to forest road 1168 (Do not turn at first 1168 junction). Turn right on road 1168, travel for about 3.5 miles to trailhead.

User Groups:Hikers, dogs, and mountain bikes. No horses allowed. No wheelchair facilities. 😦

Jenn’s View: I think this is my favorite so far for 2012. You have such a great view of the whole Cascades. It’s so nice. You see Three Sisters, Three Finger Jack, Mt. Bachelor (?), Mt. Jefferson. It’s so quiet and great. I had to find a different way to get up there since I frickin hit snow!

Mt. Jefferson Wilderness - Coffin Lookout Trail

I started slipping and sliding all over the place but I THOUGHT I could get around it. Dang it, not Superwoman! I just realized that Shadowlynn absolutely LOVES snow. She was jumping, running and eating the snow. It was so comical and then it just hit me – stupid dog hates water and she’s part LAB!

Mt. Jefferson Wilderness - Coffin Lookout Trail

WAIT! I need to start from the beginning. Shadowlynn and snow is like in the middle of my hike. LOL. OK OK, The trail was really easy to find. First thing when I get out of the car, I got bombarded with bugs. I did have a pretty blue moth land on my shoe and as soon as I moved, it flew away. I took my bug spray and sprayed my hair, arms, face, legs. DAMMIT! I forgot my hands and I now have 4 new bug bites. But I’m not really sure if that was from last night from 4th of July and standing outside in the dark. They seem to migrate towards me no matter how much garlic pills I take. I’m still gonna take them cuz I’m gonna do more camping/hiking through the summer. 🙂 It worked all the years I have done it but this year – the bugs are in masses and they attack!

So, I’m not really sure why it’s called Coffin Mountain. Above it states that it looks like a giant’s resting place. I don’t see it. I truly don’t, so I must be blind. he he. If you see it, please let me know.

OK…In the beginning…. The drive up to the trail was magnificent. You immediately see the Cascade mountain ranges and they are beautiful! The first set I saw was Three Sisters and Three Finger Jack.

Click to make it bigger

I got back in my car and started up the road and low and behold, Mt. Jefferson and I think is Mt. Bachelor appeared.  The Mt. Bachelor is the one I’m unsure. It’s too big to be Mt. Washington and Mt. Hood would be rather small to look at. Uhhhh what other mountain is close by? I could be wrong, be that’s rare. JUST KIDDING! OOOHHH OOOHH, also Bachelor Mountain trail is right next door – There it is! It’s Bachelor!

I noticed quite a few “camp spots” along the way. Or at least places where people stopped and created a fire pit.  Why would they just do that unless if they were camping. Kinda weird because it’s so close to the road. Maybe they were car camping. The views would be amazing though to wake up to.

Coffin Lookout Trail

Mt Jefferson Wilderness Coffin Mountain

My poor car…she’s really a city girl but I treat her like a country girl.

Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Bachelor

Click to make it bigger

So, finally got to the trail after “ooohhh-in and aaaahhhh-in” the drive. The trail starts already with a steady climb up… I think the temperature outside was maybe 80+ degrees. With Shadowlynn’s black fur and my black fur (hair), we get HOT fast! I normally bring my daughter’s white hankerchief but couldn’t find it in my pack. Oh well. Maybe that is why Shadowlynn and I kinda had a hard time with this small hike. It was just too darn hot BUT the visibility was so clear that I didn’t mind too much. There were quite a few wildflowers along the way. I bet this trail is soooo pretty in the spring when it’s really alive with color. I will add this trail to my list at the beginning of Spring for next year.

Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Coffin Lookout Trail

Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Coffin Lookout Trail

Shadowlynn sniffin’ the flowers

Mt. Jefferson Coffin Lookout Trail Mt. Jefferson Coffin Lookout Trail

On our way up we met a man with two dogs and a little girl (Sounds like a beginning of a joke). She looked like she was about 4 years old. Super duper cutey.  A little bit further, met two girls having lunch. When we passed them, they asked if that rock formation was the destination…I told them, “I think so”. They said, “Was afraid you would say that – looks hard to get up there”.  Coffin Lookout Trail Mt. Jefferson Coffin Lookout Trail I took a picture of the lovely hikers that were on the trail with me. The guy with the little girl stopped. It looked like they may have had lunch there too. They didn’t continue up the mountain because at one point, I think I saw them heading back down. Lunch

It was hard. The climb was short but hard in the heat. There were no more shade until you reached the top. But like I mentioned before, the views are amazing and they only get better! I’m hoping when I come back in the fall… I will see the meadow below just full of color. It would be such a great shot. Not sure if I like that hill in front of Jefferson though to be in the shot.

Mt. Jefferson

So, we are continuing on with the trail and it was pretty strange that we were heading AWAY from the rock formation. On top of the formation was some sort of radio tower, thinking that was gonna be part of the “Lookout” tower. I thought maybe there will be some sort of switchback that will lead me straight towards that rock formation. Nope, that’s when Shadowlynn and I ran into the snow.

Snow Snow I tried to climb over the snow but I just kept slippin and slidin’. I just kept thinking that I can do it but all I saw was even deeper snow and a steep hill that would hurt if I slid down. he he. So, needless to say, Shadowlynn and I decided to turn around. We started heading back and decided, let’s just scramble up to the top, no trail or not. Sheez, can’t get lost. It’s too open and you can see the main trail below. We headed for the radio tower.

Radio Tower I did see the two girls that I encountered earlier on their way up. I was gonna yell at them to follow me or turn around because of snow. Nope. I decided, they saw me and hopefully when they encounter the snow, they would just do what I did. :). When I reached the top of the hill and started heading for the tower, I did a quick look around and right behind me I see this………………………

Coffin Lookout Tower

OHHHH I felt like a little kid that just found a treasure! I was wondering why the trail was leading me away from what I thought was Coffin Mountain. We were heading towards the tower.  While I was taking pictures of the tower from here, I started getting bit by red ants. Damn thing has HUGE pincers. I killed one but like 10 ants took it’s place. I packed the camera away and RAN towards the tower. Duh, all I had to do was step IN the snow and the ants wouldn’t follow.  I was also trying to get coordinates from the GPS app I downloaded on my phone. Stupid thing won’t work. I’m telling you, I need GARMIN to sponsor my hikes and let me test some of their GPS hand held navigation systems and Coleman or OFF to let me review the best darn bug sprays for hikes.  LOL. Well, I can dream big. Well, if I’m dreaming – I would get PAID for each hike review I did. Sheez, wouldn’t that be nice! Get paid to do something you absolutely love. he he.

I started heading that way and noticed that there was a path in the snow that people have already created. It didn’t look fresh so I know the dad with the little girl wasn’t up here. The two girls were taking A LOT of breaks and was probably in the same spot I saw them when I started climbing towards the radio tower.

Snow trail Did I tell you, Shadowlynn LOVES the snow. Dumb dog – I hate the snow! he he

Mount Jefferson came into view a lot closer when we got to the tower. The views are simply breathtaking when you get up there. You can see EVERYWHERE. I saw a body of water and I assume that is Detroit Lake. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. I kinda looked inside the tower and it was pretty clean. The deck was made of composite wood – how do I know that? My ex owned a construction business building decks and this is what he mainly used. I know what screws to put in them and how to screw the hole deck down. That’s a whole different story.

The rocks that the Lookout tower was sitting on was pretty amazing. I still don’t see it looking like a coffin though.

Coffin Lookout Trail Coffin Lookout Tower Coffin Lookout Tower

Mt. Jefferson

When we got to the top, I finally got to look at Mt. Bachelor. I bet this mountain is gorgeous up close.

Mt. Bachelor

It’s late…It’s way past my bedtime and I have had a whole week + off from work. I have to start programming my body to go to bed early so I can get up around 6am. Maybe to exercise? Yeah right. I will post the pictures below as a slideshow so you can see extra pictures.  I am curious to find out how many of you out there that reads this blog, has stayed the night in one of these lookout towers? I think it would be pretty awesome and would like to get your take.. Leave me a message if you have stayed the night in a Lookout tower! Happy Hiking all!

Mt. Jefferson Coffin Lookout Trail

It’s Jenn! Wouldn’t be my blog without a picture of me! 🙂

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Opal Creek Wilderness – Henline Trail (#9)

 May 21, 2011

Info: (from my book: Oregon Hiking, the complete guide to More than 490 hikes) From the lookout site beneath Henline Mountain, the ridges and peaks of the Cascades ripple into the distance like frozen waves, their folded ridges flowing down to the Little North Santiam River. The lookout site is not on the peak of Henline, but who’s counting? a 1.1-mile trail, rough as it is, continues past this lookout to the 4,650 foot peak, but the view from this destination is in itself worth the climb. This is also an initial foray into the Opal Creek Wilderness. Prepare to climb steadily and steeply for the 2.8 mile trail to the old lookout point. You’ll gain 2,200 feet in this short distance, so give yourself plenty of time.
Directions: Drive east from Salem on OR 22 for 23 miles to Mehama and turn left on Little North Fork Road for 16.3 miles to a fork. Go to the left on Road 2209 for one mile and park on the right near the trailhead.
Jenn’s View: Dang, this hike was hard. Had to stop a couple of times at the switchbacks to catch my breath. Was in much better shape so this hike was such a great work out. This wasn’t on the agenda when I first did this hike. I was headed towards Opal Pool but when I got there, the parking area was full. I remembered I saw another trail on the way towards Opal Pool so I turned my little car around and found the beginning of this trail. I pulled out my hiking book to see what the difficulty rating was and was excited to find it to be some what difficult. Got the dog and off we went. UPDATE: I have hit this trail TWICE now and both times I hit snow!
It starts off already with a climb UP! We didn’t hike very far and you can see my car way down there! Shadowlynn loved this hike – super good work out for her as well. The trail is a little narrow and if you fall, man that would hurt!

I see my car! That little white blob
When it’s just Shadowlynn and I, I normally listen to music really loud. Distracts me from the heavy breathing that I’m doing!
Most of the trail is all wooded and not too many breaks in the tree line to see much of anything but trees. 
We hit a really neat rock outcrop. The trail is pretty flat when you are climbing up (again) but it was a great opportunity to take pictures. It’s actually pretty neat. Wonder how they got all those rocks up there. LOL

The camera was literally hanging upside down on a tree when I took this shot. Self timer is the best!
Did meet a couple of people on the trail. Like I mentioned up above, the trails are narrow, so be careful! Would really suck to tumble down the side of the cliff!
At the end of the rock area, you hit more treed areas.

Would trail run as much as I can!
The first view point is a little hard to find. I’m one to venture off and find little trails, which I really shouldn’t do cuz one of these days, I’ll probably get lost! But this time, I’m glad I did. On the trail, you come to a rock wall type of area to your right side. I believe it’s the second set that you will see a little pathway heading towards the TOP of this rock wall. Climb it! If you aren’t scared of heights, do it…You will not regret it. It’s not that hard of a climb, my teenage kids did it and my sister, Joyce Piol, did it when I took them up on the trail the second time around. It leads you to a very flat area that shows the views of, I believe, is the Opal Creek Wilderness. Ate lunch here and enjoyed the views and the sounds.

The area was quite big and lots of room to walk around and take in the surroundings. Great opportunity to take a couple of pictures. 

After eating and looking around the area, I hit the trails again to go to the top. 
Brrrr, getting colder but the more I move, the hotter I get
I hit a road block trying to reach the top — 5 INCHES of SNOW! Met a lovely young man on the trail, Kevin and tried to go through the snow but he started sinking so we turned around and headed down. Will plan to do the whole thing in the summer. There is a waterfall that I see in the middle of the mountain. Determined to find out what waterfall that is and how I’m going to get there. 🙂
If you click on this picture, it will make it bigger. If you look close enough, there is a little white vertical line – That’s a WATERFALL! I want to know which waterfall that is and how to get there!
JUNE 5, 2011
 So, my second attempt at hoping to reach the top and do the trail! This time I brought my son, Timothy James (TJ) Hunter, my daughter Makaila Hunter, and my sister Joyce Piol. My other daughter had no desire to go. Boo on her! My sister was super glad that TJ went because they were able to rest at every switch back waiting for TJ to catch up. Shadowlynn and I went ahead to see if I remembered how to get to the first view point.  It’s not that hard to find the rock area to climb, just follow the small trail on the right. Makaila and I reached the top. The views are still amazing.
Makaila and I!

I don’t think she was getting any reception but she sure is trying!
We took the opportunity to take some silly pictures. It’s not really rock climbing, we made it look like it. If you are scared of heights, you will crawl like this to get over the wall to get to the flat area.

Ate lunch before heading back on the trail but of course had to take more pictures!
See, the area is quite large…

Good ol’ ShadowLynn
So, on our way up… we were hearing quite a bit of thunder. I don’t think we saw any lightening but the thunder was echoing in the valley. I was scared to see any lightening since we were so high up. No rain yet but it’s coming! We got a great break in the tree line to take some pictures. I bet you would be able to see great views of Mt. Jefferson or Adams or Broken Top or 3 Finger Jack if the visibility was better. 🙂
Joyce paying homage to the Nature Gods

Well, we did get a bit further up than my first attempt to complete this trail. But low and behold, we hit the snow! We thought we could still get through it but we hit a pretty deep and slippery area so we turned around.

TJ slipping on the snow…If you slipped, you would tumble down the cliff!

 So, since it was useless to attempt it, we turned around and Kaila and I decided to rock climb instead!

Made it to the top!

Climbing back down. Harder to go down than it is going up
To be continued….. (I’m gonna complete this hike someday!)