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Northrup Creek Big Tree Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Northrup Creek, Big Tree Trail (bobcat)
Leopard slugs feasting, Big Tree Trail (bobcat)
The big cedar from the Big Tree Trail, Northrup Creek (bobcat)
The Big Tree Loop at Northrup Creek (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps

Contents

Hike Description

While most of Northrup Creek trail system was designed for horses, the short Big Tree Trail is hiker-only. This interpretive trail, with small maps posted strategically along the way, takes you down Northrup Creek to visit several massive old trees, a rather pitiful remnant of the behemoths that once towered over this bottomland. You can see bigger trees elsewhere, and the size of these trees does not match that of the slain giants of yesteryear, but it is gratifying that these few have somehow survived (although one has crashed to the ground since the trail was created). The lollipop loop takes you back past the campgrounds in an area that sees few visitors and will most likely be deserted on the day that you are there.

Note that the Northrup Creek Big Tree Trailhead cannot be accessed by vehicle between December 1st and May 14th as the Northrup Creek Road is gated just beyond the Northrup Creek Winter Trailhead. If you wish to visit the big trees during the road closure period, you can make the Big Tree Loop an extension to the Northrup Creek Loop Hike and park at the winter trailhead. Make sure you check on the water level at the Northrup Creek Ford before you embark on a longer hike.

Pass under the arch signed for the Big Tree Trail, and take a wide gravel path past a meadow and into a copse of young Douglas-firs and alders. Then hike under mossy big-leaf maples to reach meandering Northrup Creek. Pass two massive and ancient maples, the first two of the old growth trees on this hike. These sprawling, mossy giants are nine feet and twelve feet in diameter respectively. There’s a salmonberry thicket to your left and the creek runs to your right. At a junction, stay right - the path going left leads to the horse camp and is your return route. Reach a picnic table at a large Sitka spruce almost seven feet in diameter; across the creek, you’ll get a good view of the ancient Northrup Creek Cedar. At the next junction, you can inspect the massive Northrup Creek Grand Fir, about six feet in diameter. Here, a short spur leads right to a viewing point for the Northrup Creek Cedar.

Continue on the main trail and keep right again at a junction with a trail that connects to the car camp. Pass through a wood of Sitka spruce and reach the mortal remains of a huge, but prone, grand fir, the last of the marquee trees on this route. Follow the trail as it curves out under Douglas-firs and grand firs to reach Northrup Creek Road.

Hike up the road to pass the car camp and the exit road for the horse camp. Opposite the entrance to the horse camp, take the trail leading down some steps to join the Big Tree Loop. When you reach Northrup Creek, bear right at the junction, and hike back past the old maples to the Big Tree Trailhead.


Maps

Fees, Facilities, etc.

  • Dogs on leash
  • Restrooms, picnic tables, campgrounds, interpretive trail

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • none

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.