Little Luckiamute River Trail

July 16, 1995

En route we stopped at Helmick State Park, then to the falls of the Little Luckiamute, and then 15 miles to Valsetz Lake where unfortunately and unexpectedly an old bridge has been closed off with huge boulders as barriers. This route is the only authorized public access to the Valley of the Giants. Because we were at least 14 miles from that Grove, we were quickly forced to go to “Plan B” (devised in 90 seconds!), which was to return to Falls City, then 2½ miles up the Mainline (Black Rock) Road for lunch at the Gerlinger County Park, a refreshing spot alongside a nice mountain stream. Then another 1½ miles to the trailhead for the Little Luckiamute River Trail, recently developed by the Chemeketans. I followed the instructions from Bill Sullivan’s “100 Hikes/Travel Guide for the Oregon Coast and Coast Range,” an excellent new publication. [This is a free plug for the author.] His warning that the trail is very brushy with stinging nettles plus other nasty flora and fauna was very true. We hiked only to the rapids, not enough time to continue to the upper Hidden Falls. Perhaps we will do the full hike in the Spring. Two of our group became separated but we all regrouped okay about 3:30. Two cars returned directly to Eugene, but five of us continued on to visit quaint Dallas and enjoyed their very nice city park. Back in Eugene by 6:10.

The road system to Valley of the Giants is confusing and the BLM provides little maintenance. Access on private logging roads is usually not permitted. So on this day our primary goal was not attained, but we did see some very interesting places, especially enjoyable for the first-time visitor to the back country of Polk County.

Our group consisted of: Non-members Diana Wageman, Melanie Clasen and Lou Wenzl, and Obsidians Bonnie Mannheim, Virginia Prouty, Ed Lichtenstein, Sam Miller, Chris Steele, Margee Wright, Gary Marx, Rita Johnson and Ray Jensen, leader.

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