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Valley of the Giants Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Massive western hemlock, Valley of the Giants (bobcat)
Map at trailhead, Valley of the Giants (bobcat)
Big Douglas-fir, Valley of the Giants (bobcat)
Footbridge over the North Fork Siletz, Valley of the Giants (bobcat)
North Fork Siletz River, Valley of the Giants (bobcat)
Sketch of the loop, Valley of the Giants (bobcat)
  • Start point: Valley of the Giants TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Big Guy Douglas-fir
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Lollipop loop
  • Distance: 1.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 535 feet
  • High Point: 1335 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Usually late Fall through early Summer
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable:No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

The Bureau of Land Management has protected 51 acres of massive old growth on the North Fork Siletz River at the western edge of Polk County. Most of these huge trees are Douglas-firs, with a few large western hemlocks as well. Many of them probably approach 500 years in age. This is a visit which tests your mettle as a driver on many miles of winding, potholed gravel roads through private timberland, but the reward of walking among these massive plants, a pitiful remnant of the forest of giants that once cloaked the slopes of the Coast Range, is well worth it. Make sure you stop at the waterfall in Falls City on the way (see the directions on the Valley of the Giants Trailhead page).

The trail begins on the right side of the parking area. Drop down a somewhat eroded road track in a mossy rain forest of Douglas-fir and western hemlock. Salmonberry, Oregon grape, sword fern, wood-sorrel and trillium form the understory. You will almost immediately begin noticing some very large trees. Down the slope the trail passes through sawn sections of a fallen giant. Reach a bench thick with salmonberry and then drop again, noticing a huge Douglas-fir on your right. The trail heads down and runs close to the North Fork Siletz in a thicket of elderberry and salmonberry before crossing it on a sturdy pedestrian bridge.

Veer left after crossing the bridge and pass a picnic table. The trail here is narrow and rooty as it traverses below a slope of large trees. Keep left at the unmarked trail junction marking the beginning of the loop. Pass through passages cut through two large fallen Douglas-firs and enter more groves of big trees. The trail rises from here and passes along the top of a log before switchbacking and winding up again. Duck under two horizontal trunks, gain a little more altitude, and then head to the right to reach the fallen Big Guy Douglas-fir, about seven feet in diameter. From the Big Guy, the trail snakes down the hillside among the huckleberry bushes and drops to complete the loop. Head left to return to the bridge and the uphill climb to the trailhead.

Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Before visiting, call the Salem office of the BLM (503 375-5646) to get information about closures and directions
  • Better to visit on weekends as there is intense logging activity in the area
  • Roads usually closed during fire season (late summer/early fall)
  • Roads are hard packed gravel with some potholes; high clearance not needed - O.K. for sturdy passenger cars
  • Information kiosk at the trailhead
  • Picnic table near the beginning of the loop
  • Stay on the trail

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Off the Beaten Trail by Matt Reeder
  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast and Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • 75 Hikes in Oregon's Coast Range and Siskiyous by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • A Walking Guide to Oregon's Ancient Forests by Wendell Wood
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Waterfall Lover's Guide: Pacific Northwest by Gregory A. Plumb (for the falls in Falls City)

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.