McKenzie River Trail

September 18, 1982

Reconnaissance Report — McKenzie River Trail — Trail Bridge Dam to Carmen Reservoir. Undertaken by 9 members on September 18, 1982. Weather predicted: 20% chance of showers. (Eugene looked like it had been more than 20%) Weather experienced: Sunny to slightly cloudy. Trail conditions: Starting with excellent and deteriorating to fair.

Trail begins at the west end of Trail Bridge Dam, climbs along the west shore line of the reservoir to about 200 feet above the water, then drops back to cross a log bridge across Smith River. Then follows the Smith River Road a short distance, suddenly going up a cut bank. Then the trail rises rapidly to the ridge between Smith and McKenzie Rivers, continues north along the McKenzie River side of the ridge for several miles, partly in sight of the river below, partly back in the trees. After about 4 miles, the terrain changes to large chunks of lava, winding in and out among them for several more miles to a viewpoint of Tamolich Falls pool (no falls except in spring). Then the trail begins to decrease in quality, though for another few miles it still has bridges at every creek. This continued for more miles before we again saw water in the river bed and eventually came to running water and Carmen Dam. The trail improved a bit but stayed up on the hillside above the reservoir. The only ways down at this point were two steep trails not intended to exist (in other words, not planned) to the road at the dam and to the restrooms. (Should be put on trail building crew docket, they would not take long to improve to good, useable trails.)

Flowers: only a few, but 18 species.
Berries: Oregon grape, salal, rose, red huckleberry (sampled); also queens cup, baneberry, dogwood & one hazelnut.
Mushrooms: dozens, all colors.
Birds: wren (1), ouzel (1), Steller’s Jay (1), tree swallows (1500, more or less, on Trail Bridge power lines).

Verdict of 9 “leaders” and one (junior, nonmember) “follower” — a beautiful trail, would be even more so in October or May.
Mileage: 5.5 reported by Forest Service. Estimated by time method — 9; quadrangle sheet gives 8 more or less. For this purpose let’s use 8.

A party of all Obsidians! Impossible! All adult hikers are members: Tom Carlson, Bob Foster, Sandra Larson, Bonnie Ledford, Dorothy Leland, Alys Riley, Lois Schreiner, Robin and Ken Lodewick, leaders, plus 11 year old nonmember Eric Larson.

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