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Lewisburg Saddle Old Growth Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Old Douglas-fir, Old Growth Trail (bobcat)
Sign on the New Growth Trail (bobcat)
Woods violet (Viola glabella), Old Growth Trail (bobcat)
Looking towards a footbridge, Old Growth Trail (bobcat)
The two loops from the Lewisburg Saddle (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
Poison Oak



The gated roads of Oregon State University's McDonald State Forest are open to recreationists and can be quite busy on weekends. Short trails lead through the forest from various points, so hikers will need to use the roads as part of their excursion. Two such trails are the New Growth and Old Growth Trails, both about half a mile long. These head across a handful of creek drainages that feed Soap Creek. The New Growth Trail was originally constructed in a research area where foresters could monitor growth of high-quality Douglas-fir timber: here the public can now view the research plots. The New Growth Trail connects with the Old Growth Trail, whose little pocket displays some impressive Douglas-firs and grand firs as well as that scraggly indicator of undisturbed woodland, the Pacific yew.

At the Lewisburg Saddle Trailhead, there’s an information kiosk with brochures usually available. The forest roads in the area are open to bikers and hikers and horses: they see little official activity on weekends, and it is then that locals take over - on a fine day, the roads can be quite busy. On the east side of the road, two roads diverge. On the right is Harry J. Nettleton Road leading uphill. On the left is William A. Davies Road, which is the one you need to take. The two roads are named after former forest managers.

Hike down Davies Road about 200 yards, and come to the brown trailhead sign for the New Growth Trail on the left. This graveled trail switchbacks down leads around a slope into a former clearcut planted with plots of young Douglas-firs at various spacings between 8 to 21 feet. The purpose of this research study is to monitor optimal growth and wood quality based upon various planting configurations. Down to the right are the boggy headwaters of a creek. Forest wildflowers, such as woods violet and bleeding heart, bloom here in the spring. The trail continues to traverse down the slope as it crosses a footbridge over a creek. The path rises after the 12' x 12' plot and hops over a fallen tree. After half a mile, reach a mature natural woodland and the junction with the Old Growth Trail. Here keep left. The Old Growth Trail descends under large Douglas-firs and grand firs to cross a footbridge over a creek. Cross another creek and note larger old-growth grand firs, Douglas-firs and yews. Head into another creek valley with mossy yews and old growth Douglas-firs six feet in diameter. Cross a footbridge shaded by a mossy yew. A stepped trail heads up between big Douglas-firs to the Old Growth Trail-Davies Road Junction.

Go right on the road. Hiking back to the Lewisburg Saddle Trailhead, you can look down on the old-growth Douglas-fir, maples, yews, and grand fir on this slope of tributaries leading to Soap Creek. At a quarry, look to your right for a big Douglas-fir and some madrones. Pass the trailhead for the Old Growth Trail and, 15 yards later a large, grassy pullout on the right. Continue to ascend to the Lewisburg Saddle Trailhead.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Information kiosk at trailhead
  • Port-a-potty
  • Dogs on leash
  • Active research area: stay on the trails


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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.