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Alder Springs, OR

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Rated  Favorite Wish List OR > North Central
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,596 feet
Elevation Gain 500 feet
Accumulated Gain 988 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.94
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
5  2013-05-25 RaRoc
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Jun, Sep
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  7:01am - 4:38pm
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Water
Nearby Area Water
Trout Creek Trail
2.2 mi away
7.0 mi
2,350 ft
Rooster Rock Trail
3.9 mi away
4.0 mi
2,240 ft
Steelhead Falls
Steelhead Falls
4.0 mi away
1.0 mi
35 ft
Crooked River Canyon Loop Trail
Crooked River Canyon Loop Trail
6.8 mi away
1.0 mi
510 ft
Tam-a-lau Trail at Cove Palisades State Park
9.9 mi away
6.8 mi
550 ft
Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park
12.3 mi away
4.0 mi
1,118 ft
Head of the Metolius River
13.0 mi away
Black Butte Trail
13.1 mi away
4.0 mi
1,640 ft
Gray Butte
13.4 mi away
3.8 mi
200 ft
West Metolius River
14.2 mi away
5.0 mi
200 ft
[ View More! ]
High Desert and Roaring Rapids
by RaRoc

If you want to span the gamut of high desert to lush riparian region in one short hike, this is the trip for you! The trail sets off among sage and junipers, and sweeping views of scrub desert. You'll come quickly upon a junction with the Old Bridge Trail (a side-trip I wouldn't bother with, as it just detours about half a mile to dead end at the creek bank). Instead, head straight on the main trail, which remains arid and relatively flat until you reach Whychus Creek. You'll need to ford the creek, which was absolutely freezing, and came up almost to my knees. The stream is only about 15 feet across and covered with smooth river stones, so water shoes are nice but not necessary. Warming up in the sun on the grassy bank felt amazing, though -- it's worth the temporary numbness. (My hiking partner has assured me that I'm being a wimp here and the water wasn't that cold, for the record.)

Across the creek you'll find a flat meadow with some campsites and the spring itself. I've heard that campfires are taboo here, but people clearly build them, and I didn't see any posted signage that said not to have them. That being said, they've done a lot of work to restore the Whychus, a tributary of the Deschutes River. Human interference had driven the endemic steelhead and Chinook salmon from the region, but in the last 15 years restoration has revitalized the area and fish populations have begun to return. Signs everywhere advise hikers to tread lightly, stay on-trail, and clean up after dogs if you bring them.


After crossing the Whychus, the trail follows the water and narrows through dense reeds. Periodic spur trails lead over to the banks of the widening stream, where you can find secluded spots to perch and fish or just enjoy the scenery. The trail ends 1.6 miles past the crossing at the banks of the Deschutes, overhanging some pretty impressive rapids. People also camp here, secluded by the roar of the river and the canyon walls. The return trip is no less entertaining than the way in, as it affords a different vantage from which to view the dramatic landscape.

RaRoc
    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.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From downtown Sisters, take Highway 20 east and then take the fork left toward Redmond on Highway 126 for 4.4 miles. Turn left on Goodrich Rd. for 7.9 miles (paved) before turning left onto gravel road 6360 after milepost 7. Go through a green gate onto a nicely graded gravel road for four miles, then turn right at an "Alder Springs" pointer onto a rough gravel road for 0.7 miles. Park at the road's end.

    I brought my Prius up here, but I probably wouldn't try it again without a higher clearance vehicle. The ruts on the rough dirt portion of the road are deep!
    page created by RaRoc on May 27 2013 12:41 pm
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