Heritage Tree Grove
The Valley of the Giants is a 51 acre plot of BLM land on the North Fork of the Siletz River located in the coastal mountain range north east of Newport. This is a "Heritage Tree Grove" and is one of the few remaining places where you can see a sample of the old growth forest that existed in this area before logging began in the early 1900s and which continues today with second and maybe third growth cuttings. There are at least three routes into this site - we chose to drive up the Luckimute River from Kings Valley past the site of old Fort Hoskins. Finding VOG is a challenge no matter which route you take. You have to find your way through a 30 mile maze of logging roads with no signs to show the way. This should only be attempted on weekends and holidays because many of the logging roads are closed to the public during the week. Even if you find a route which isn't closed, it is not safe to attempt to share narrow logging roads with logging trucks. I have provided a GPS track of our driving route which starts where we turned off the Corvallis-to-Newport highway (HW 20) on to the Kings Valley road. Driving distance from this intersection to VOG is approximately 40 miles. This route also takes you by the site of the now non-existent Valsetz Lake where the logging town of Valsetz was located before it was removed in the early 1980s.
My hiking partners Julie and John and I arrived at VOG without getting lost thanks to my familiarity with the area from many steelhead fishing trips to the upper Siletz River over the last 15 years. The price paid by my hiking companions for my guidance was having to listen to me tell old fishing stories as we drove up the Luckimute River Canyon. The hiking trail in VOG is a short (1.3 miles) loop and has very little elevation change. As we left the parking lot we were immediately rewarded with views of giant old trees. The larger trees here are 400 to 450 year old Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock with circumferences of 20 to 30 feet. The trail leads down to a foot bridge over the North Fork of the Siletz River which on this day had a substantial flow and was a beautiful clear greenish blue color. One of the highlights of the trail is a giant fallen Douglas Fir called "Big Guy" which at one time was thought to be the 2nd tallest Doug Fir in the coastal range before it was blown down in 1981. The trail passes through a narrow slot cut in the 35 foot circumference tree trunk. This is dense rain forest with a thick covering of moss on everything. Trillium were in bloom as well as what I think are Salmon Berry bushes with pink blossums.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.