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Buck Creek on Larch Mountain Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Buck Creek, on Larch Mountain (bobcat)
Blooming salmonberry on the Buck Creek Trail (bobcat)
The first shelter on the Buck Creek Trail (bobcat)
The Buck Creek Trail off Larch Mountain Road (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo/MapBuilder Topo
  • Start point: Buck Creek Trailhead (Larch Mountain)Road.JPG
  • End Point: Donahue Road
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 1.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 310 feet
  • High point: 1,680 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year, except during winter snows
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

This short hike off Larch Mountain Road takes you down to Buck Creek, a tributary of the Sandy River, through lovely Cascade foothill forest. The area is administered as part of the Bureau of Land Management’s Larch Mountain Environmental Education Site, used mainly by the Corbett School District (and other groups by application) for environmental education. It’s a great jaunt for those with young children, and there are two picnic shelters where you can stop for a leisurely meal.

From the pullout, hike into a deep hemlock/Douglas-fir forest, and wind downhill to pass near a clearcut on private timberland. A tributary of Buck Creek issues from a skunk-cabbage spring on your left. Walk under a hemlock that has fallen into the root ball of another downed tree. Then you’ll take a step down at a rotting log. Red huckleberry, sword fern, oxalis, and trillium form the understory. The trail levels and then makes two switchbacks down to Buck Creek. The rooty tread passes under hemlocks, cedars, and alders. There’s no bridge at Buck Creek, so fallen logs will have to do.

Once across the creek, you’ll cross a boardwalk across a skunk-cabbage bog and then switchback up to the first picnic shelter with its attendant fire pit. The trail heads up from the right side of the shelter and switchbacks. Then you’re hiking on the level in a quiet forest, soon passing another picnic shelter. Now the trail uses an old vehicle track that passes the prince of these woods, a venerable cedar. When you come to gravel Donahue Road, turn around and return to Buck Creek and the trailhead.


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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.