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Buck Creek Falls Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Buck Creek Falls, Buck Creek (bobcat)
Ball-head cluster lily (Dichelostemma congestum), Buck Creek (bobcat)
Buck Creek from footbridge (bobcat)
Phantom orchid (Cephalanthera austiniae), Buck Creek Trail (bobcat)
The loop trail to Buck Creek Falls (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Lower Buck Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Buck Creek Falls
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 770 feet
  • High Point: 1090 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No
Poison Oak
Snakes

Contents

Hike Description

Buck Creek is a major tributary of the White Salmon River and flows almost wholly within a tract that has been managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources since the 1920s. Buck Creek also supplies the City of White Salmon with its drinking water and the loop trail described here uses part of the water pipeline route. This loop hike is best done in spring, when a variety of wildflowers bloom in the conifer and oak savanna habitats that the trail encompasses. Buck Creek Falls itself is a minor cataract on the creek. The loop trail also accesses much longer Buck Creek Loop, which takes to the ridges around the drainage.

To begin the Buck Creek Falls Loop, hike up under secondary-growth Douglas-firs, grand fir, bigleaf maple, vine maple and hazel. At a junction, go right. The trail left leads one mile to a lower trailhead. You're following the corridor of the water pipeline that serves the City of White Salmon. Poison oak abounds in the area. The track undulates up and down and is wet and muddy where several springs seep on to it. Cross a steam and enter a sunny opening blooming with cluster lilies and stonecrop in the spring. The trail rises, drops, and then splits in a marshy area. Buck Creek flows under alders to the right. Pass a mossy seep and cross a maidenhair fern decorated brook. The trail ascends again, passing some larger Douglas-firs. Drop again, but now you're on a regular footpath. Water flows freely down the tread. A spur right leads to the top of Buck Creek Falls, which spills into a lovely shaded pool in a basalt-rimmed bowl. Montia, alumroot and saxifrage adorn the rocks. Back on the trail, head over a small rockslide. The now-graveled trail switchbacks down to the right (Keeping straight leads to a dead end) and crosses a footbridge over deeply shaded Buck Creek in its little gorge. Reach the Buck Creek Falls Trailhead, which has its own restrooms.

Walk right to the lower entrance of the parking lot and then onto Road B1000. Hike about 150 yards down the road and look for the trail to resume uphill to the left, several yards before you would reach a dirt track (B1200) leading off B1000. Ascend on a bracken-lined tread under Douglas-firs and oaks and switchback. The trail traverses through deer brush, thimbleberry, and snowberry. Drop briefly into a small gully and rise again under Douglas-firs and maples with an Oregon grape carpet. Come to the junction with the Buck Creek Trail, which leads up Penny Ridge to Monte Carlo.

To continue the Buck Creek Falls Loop, go right and head down in Douglas-fir, big-leaf maple, vine maple and Oregon grape woods. Reach Road B1200, and walk up to the left about 250 yards before resuming the trail where it is signposted. This is an old road bed which crosses a stream. Phantom orchids and coral root bloom in the woods in late spring. Traverse gently up and then begin to drop on a grassy, oak-wooded hillside with blooming wildflowers. At a junction, switchback to the right and head down. One more switchback takes you to Road B1000. Go left, crossing the bridge over Buck Creek to reach your vehicle.


Maps

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • Discover Pass required
  • $1 toll at the Hood River Bridge

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain

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.