Willamette National Forest (Detroit Lake Area) – Tumble Lake

Tumble Lake

TUMBLE LAKE

SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

INFO:  From the Oregon Hike Book by Sean Patrick Hill. From the edge of Detroit Reservoir, the Tumble Ridge Trail heads straight into the neighboring mountains, climbing steeply to the spire of Needle Rock and the vista of Dome Rock. Hidden up Tumble Creek is Tumble Lake, with a waterfall. Though you could hike in this way, there is an easier point of entry that makes for a quicker hike to these sights (which is what Scott and I did and this review is based on that direction to this easier hike). From the upper trailhead on Road 2223, go in 0.4 mile to a junction. To access Dome Rock, go left 0.5 mile to the 4,869-foot peak. To access Tumble Lake, go right at this first junction crossing a meadow down into a gully for 1.2 miles to the shore. Follow the shore to the left 0.3 mile to see the outlet creek and waterfall.

DIRECTIONS:  Drive 50 miles east of Salem on OR22 to Detroit Lake. Just before the Breitenbush River turn left on French Creek Road 2223 and go 4.2 miles to a fork at pavement’s end. (The road will initially split before the 4.2 miles and make sure to veer to the left. The road is super narrow so beware of oncoming cars/trucks) This is a picture of a pretty narrow part. My car (Honda Accord) is not that wide but it sure felt like it was a tight squeeze. Road to TumbleLake

At pavement’s end, fork left onto Road 2223 for 3.9 miles. It’s a good idea to watch your miles because there are no trail mark. We just found it because there were cars parked on the road and we saw a trail on the left. Permits are not required and parking and access is free.

JENN’S VIEW: Scott and I really enjoyed this trail. We have a 12-13 year old German Short-haired Pointer and a 6 year old tiny Maltese with us and they did better on the trail than I did! The climb back up was pretty brutal because it was a pretty steep incline. When we hit the lake, it was absolutely beautiful. So green and blue and very clear. Wish we had brought a raft to slowly drift around. Went looking for the waterfall but didn’t find it. I was a little bummed about that but give me a great reason to go back and do Dome Creek and then back to Tumble Lake. I was thinking of camping here next year. Scott promised to pack everything back up when we leave. Tee hee, I’m such a woos. I would say Pamelia Lake is prettier. You can get really pretty pictures with the mountain reflecting in the water. It’s flat and easier to get in to and tons of trails to hike around. Only problem with Pamelia Lake is that there is a limited access fee (not much $5 and can be ordered online) and must have a wilderness pass (another $5, I believe). Check that blog out here:  http://www.oregonhike.org/2011/06/mt-jefferson-pamelia-lake-9.html

The trail starts off with a small climb up. No big deal. The dogs were so excited to hit the trail. Too funny.  Scott being a “poser”. hahahahahaha….

Scott Wenger PoserThe first 0.4 miles is a steady climb up and you will actually see the sign to Tumble Lake. You will also see pretty cool rock spires (well that’s what I call them) and beautiful trees – Don’t ask, I normally don’t know what “type” of trees. It probably says it in my guide book but it’s late and I really don’t feel like getting out of my bed to check. LOL. Going to the left will take you to Dome Rock. We will hit that area next time  because its only 0.5 miles to the peak – I think. Then head down towards Tumble Lake after our OOOHHHH and AHHHH’s at Dome Rock.

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The next obstacle we faced was which way do we go? Follow what looks like a dry river bank. DO NOT FOLLOW THE TRAIL ON THE LEFT THAT LOOKS LIKE A TRAIL! Nor follow the flags that are on that trail. Scott and I sorta followed the flags and we eventually found our way out but we ended up on that dry river bed.

TumbleLake13Scott trying to figure out which flags to follow. We finally figured it out but it would have been easier to just follow the dry river bed!

_DSC0008After making our way out and on the right path, the climb down was a little hurtful on my poor little knees. It’s slippery too with loose rocks so be careful!

Tumble Lake

Eventually you will hit what my book calls a “meadow”. I guess. It’s a field of raspberry or some type of “prickly” bushes. Be careful – it hurts. I had to turn my capri pants back to regular pants. Man, I love those pants! Poor Scott was wearing shorts.

Tumble Lake

 After that, it’s a short walk to the lake. I just kept looking up thinking to myself how hard it is to climb back up! GRRRR, it’s gonna be brutal but after reaching the lake – the excitement of making plans to camp, raft, hike, etc all came about when we hit the lake. Sam, who is OLD OLD OLD dog, hates the water – actually jumped in the water. He loved it!

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We saw someone camping up near the rocks and one guy fishing in the lake on the other side. We didn’t stay too long because we had to get to a party that night.  We will definitely be back and with more time. Did I mention – the hike back is B.R.U.T.A.L.!

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Wouldn’t be a post without a picture of the one and only – MEEEEE!

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Mt. Jefferson Wilderness – Coffin Lookout Trail #3392

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

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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 – Opal Lake (#17)

OPAL LAKE
August 28, 2011

The Opal Lake trail drops down steeply from FR 2207 less than half a mile to Opal Lake, the source of Opal Creek. Opal Lake is remote and beautiful spot, and of late has been used as a starting point for those wanting to visit elusive Opal Creek Falls (Opal Creek), a few-tenths of a mile downstream from the lake (bushwhack only).
You can also reach Opal Lake by bushwhacking up from Opal Creek, but that trip is recommended to only the most hardy and intrepid hikers with bushwhacking experience.


Directions: Drive 50 miles east of Salem on OR 22 to Detroit Lake. Just before the Breitenbush River, turn left on French Creek Road 2223 and go 4.2 miles to a fork at pavement’s end. Go right on Road 2207 and it’s the 2nd Trailhead on the right.

Permits: Permits are not required. Parking and access are free.
Jenn’s Review: Joyce and I decided this is NOT one of our favorite hikes. Besides the steep, rocky downhill, bugs galore and the trail was not maintained. Wear pants! There are thorny bushes that will get you. It is a small hike though. If you are looking for a quiet lake to camp or hang out (maybe skinny dippin’? ha ha) than this is pretty nice lake.  Good luck in finding a flat, not muddy spot to set camp. 🙂 The neat part about this is that you cross 2 different Wilderness! You start in Mount Jefferson Wilderness and end up in Opal Creek Wilderness!
The reader board was empty. No postings or signs – I’m thinking they are doing a rehab of this trail.
We did have fun on this hike though…Joyce was singing to one of the songs on Dirty Dancing.

The first stop you come to is a meadow.  We were laughing because we kept saying this is the meadow that Edward Cullen took Bella.

Follow it to the right and you will hit the lake.  The guy we met on the trail was a little freaky…OKEE, his dog was a little freaky and kept attacking poor ShadowLynn…Well all dogs seem to want to attack her, even Muffy!

Of course we had to get silly pictures (after spraying ourselves with bug spray cuz the mosquitoes were awful!)

Shadowlynn fell into the water at the end of the log…Stupid dog!

When I say STEEP, I mean STEEP! It’s one of those, you are breathing very heavy and taking breaks every few steps!

I have a feeling that this trailhead will close eventually and that the only way to get to Opal Lake is to hike from Opal Creek, which I believe is 37+ miles! I couldn’t find much information on the web about Opal Lake. Glad I did it before it is completely overgrown and can’t get in to it.

Mount Jefferson Wilderness – French Creek Trail (#14)

FRENCH CREEK RIDGE TRAIL
August 19, 2011
Info: (http://www.trailsgalore.com/trails/1006096_French_Creek_Trail_Oregon.html) The French Creek Trail has been bypassed by logging roads at lower elevations. The trail now starts at about 4000 ft. on the way to Byar’s Peak. There are some boulders on the road, one in particular had barely enough room to get by. Great views of Detroit area and Three Sisters from the ridge. Says J. D. Adams

French Creek Trail is 17.8 miles long; it’s longer than many backcountry trails. The total elevation difference for French Creek Trail is 4,067 feet which is higher than average. This backcountry walk should take you about 2.5 days, so it’s a good thing if your backpack is big enough to do the job. This is a two-ended trail with two trailheads, so if you can get a ride from someone, you can backcountry trek it just one way. Some parts of French Creek Trail are much higher up than other parts of the backcountry trail, and that means that some parts of the backcountry trail could be very different from other parts of it. This is a hiking trail that is quite long, so make sure you bring plenty of supplies.

The French Creek Trail has been bypassed by logging roads at lower elevations. The trail now starts at about 4000 ft. on the way to Byar’s Peak. There are some boulders on the road, one in particular had barely enough room to get by. Great views of Detroit area and Three Sisters from the ridge. Says J. D. Adams

French Creek Trail is 17.8 miles long; it’s longer than many backcountry trails. The total elevation difference for French Creek Trail is 4,067 feet which is higher than average. This backcountry walk should take you about 2.5 days, so it’s a good thing if your backpack is big enough to do the job. This is a two-ended trail with two trailheads, so if you can get a ride from someone, you can backcountry trek it just one way. Some parts of French Creek Trail are much higher up than other parts of the backcountry trail, and that means that some parts of the backcountry trail could be very different from other parts of it. This is a hiking trail that is quite long, so make sure you bring plenty of supplies.

Directions: (http://www.ohranger.com/detroit-lake/poi/french-creek-ridge-trail)
 From Detroit Ranger Station travel East on Hwy 22 for approximately 1 mile to forest road 2223 (French Creek Road), turn left and travel for about 4 miles to forest road 2207. Veer right onto 2207, travel for about 4 miles. Trailhead is on right.

Access #2: From Detroit Ranger Station travel East on Hwy 22 for approximately 1 mile to forest road 2223 (French Creek Road), turn left and travel for about 2 miles to forest road 2225. Turn right and travel for about 6 miles to forest road 458. Turn right and travel for about 2 miles. Trailhead is on left.

Jenn’s View: I honestly thought I was on the trail to Opal Lake. I forgot my book and my map so when I was on this trail, I knew it was wrong. The trail head sign was knocked down and there was soooo many bugs.  I was also freaking myself out because of all the talks about bears that people were telling me. It pissed me off.  I didn’t finish the trail. It wasn’t my favorite and the trail was super overgrown AND I kept hearing something or somebody following me. Maybe it was just my imagination. LOL Also, I didn’t really see anything significant even though I should have seen Marten’s Butte and Boulder Peak.  I may have seen it but I sure wouldn’t have known. Everything was overgrown that you will get breaks to see some sort of clearing. That was cool. Not sure if this is a trail I will re-visit and try to complete. It just didn’t tickle my funny bone.

The drive up here was real pretty.  I stopped by the Ranger Station to pick up my Wilderness Pass. Always pick one up just in case.
Detroit Ranger Station. There’s my White Honda!
The drive up to the trail head was amazing. You can always get a beautiful picture of Jefferson.

So, I found a trail head. I honestly thought I was going to Opal Lake. I knew the Lake was less than a mile. When I parked, I must have parked right next to a bee hive or a wasp nest.  All I kept hearing was a ton of “buzzing” sounds. Super icky. Tons of bugs. It was a bad sign and the sign to the trail head was all knocked down. No signs on it. Another bad sign.  Shadowlynn and I start on the trail and was hoping to hit some shade. It was about high 80’s, low 90’s which is hot. Dumb me wanted to hike in this heat with this black hair? Oh lordy!

 Well, Shadowlynn and I kept walking and walking and walking.  I knew we had gone more than a mile but I kept telling myself the lake should be coming up real soon. Didn’t hear water. No indication of water…just more bushes and trees! Plus, I couldn’t see too far ahead of me and couldn’t see too far behind me. It really started freaking me out. LOL.  I guess it was a good time to start taking pictures.. Sheez!

 Along the trail, you do get a break to see the views of the clearing. 

 My hair is such a heat generator.  The white bandana that I carry all the time made a great “Aunt Jemima” look.

 More pictures of the trail….

 So, got back in the car, disappointed about this trail and with myself. Took more pictures on the drive down.

 But it wasn’t ALL that bad.  I did stop by the cafe and picked up coffee and a slice of brocolli, cheddar quiche.