Dog Creek Indian Caves

May 14, 1989

Since it is a long drive, the seven of us left the parking lot at 7:00 a.m. in order to get an early start. After leaving I-5, we found the scenery beautiful as we drove east along the North Umpqua River. We saw several outcroppings of rock covered with kalmiopsis leachiana as we drove along the back road to the trailhead. According to Dennis Lueck, kalmiopsis wasn’t discovered and named until the 1930’s, and this is the most northern extent of its range. When we arrived at the trailhead, the weather was partly sunny and comfortably warn. In the mile and a half walk to the cave, we enjoyed several species of wildflowers. The cave is in a dramatic rock promontory overlooking the Dog Creek drainage. This promontory is draped in kalmiopsis leachiana, whose blooms were at the peak of their season. The view, the flowers, and the Indian pictographs on the walls of the cave combine to make this one of the most appealing hikes I know. I am not aware of any other Obsidian hikes that have made this their destination. After a leisurely lunch and plenty of time to explore, we hiked back up the hill to our vehicles. The car I was in took advantage of our proximity to the Illahee Rock Lookout to drive over to that trailhead. I’ve been wanting to visit this for the last seventeen years but never had the opportunity when I was in that area. Sharon Ritchie, Peter Boag, Dennis Lueck and I were some of the first people to hike the three-quarters of a mile to reach the lookout this season. There were still a few spots of snow across this steep trail. The panoramic view awaiting us at the top made it well worth our effort. Participants on the Dog Creek Caves trip included the above plus Carrie McClish, Robin Prentice, and Gladys Grancorvitz. Leader, Anne Montgomery.


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