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Liahona Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Littlefoot Trail detour to the Liahona Loop (bobcat)
Old fire truck, Camp Wilkerson County Park (bobcat)
Oak Ranch Creek, Liahona Loop Trail (bobcat)
Trail marker, Liahona Loop Trail (bobcat)
The loop described shown in red; other trails in blue (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo


Hike Description

Camp Wilkerson County Park is on the grounds of a former retreat, now thickly forested but with many amenities, including rental cabins, a horse camp, and large group camping areas. The area was logged in the first half of the 20th century, but has recovered nicely and the lush slopes above Oak Ranch Creek, which bisects the property, are a worthwhile destination, especially in the fall/winter months when the park is very quiet. The Liahona Trail, named after an ancient compass mentioned in the Book of Mormon, circles the park and keeps to the undeveloped areas. Other trails connect with the facilities in the center.

Up the road from the trailhead, at the day-use horse parking, you can see a kiosk with a large map of the trail system, so check this out before beginning the hike. Head into lush woods on the Liahona Loop Trail, which is denoted by frequent crimson signs showing an arrow within a horseshoe. The forest here, composed of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western red-cedar is more than half a century old. The understory of vine maple, Oregon grape, sword fern, and salal is typical for the Willapa Hills. Pass a junction with the Littlefoot Trail and undulate along until you reach an old road bed. Keep right at a junction and make a level traverse. Nearing Karth Road, drop down into a gully on the left and then head up, before making a more gradual descent. Switchback up along the edge of a young Douglas-fir plantation. Drop to cross the park entrance road just above the pay station and an exhibit of an old fire truck.

The Liahona Trail continues below Apiary Road among deer fern, sword fern, and thimbleberry. Descend gradually and then traverse to a red alder/ salmonberry thicket. Switchback down through this thicket and go right on a road bed under cedar, big-leaf maple, and alder. Veer left and pass a large cedar stump before crossing the Cedar Bridge over Oak Ranch Creek. Rise up the hillside and go right at a junction. Continue up the slope to a junction with the Oak Spur Trail and make three switchbacks up in an alder thicket. Traverse before making another two short switchbacks to cross the Oak Spur Trail. Drop to an old road bed at another junction, noting some larger Douglas-firs in this vicinity. Continue straight at a junction surrounded by alder saplings and then keep straight on Cedar Hill Road. After the road bed rises to a junction, go down to the left. Drop down a slope of mature red alder in a salmonberry/blackcap thicket. Go left at a junction with the Alder Grove Trail and, at the next junction, keep left on the hiker detour using the Littlefoot Trail. Pass a huge cedar stump and cross the Moss Bridge over Oak Ranch Creek.

Go right at the four-way junction across the creek, and head up. At the next junction, keep straight for the Liahona Trail, which you will reach in short order where it rises from the horse ford. Keep straight to go left and then right at another intersection with the Alder Grove Trail. Switchback up an go right on a road bed at a “shortcut” sign. Loop around the slope in a dense carpet of salal and Oregon grape. Drop steeply and go right near the same “shortcut” sign. The trail now makes a few sharp undulations where it intersects several times with Bigfoot Road. Drop at a spur leading to Karth Road, then go left at the next junction. Go right at a sign for Upper Bigfoot Road before dipping and rising to the gravel loop at the horse camp. Head around to the right to reach your car.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $3 day-use fee
  • Share trails with horses

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • More Oregon Trails and Horse Camps by Kim McCarrel

More Links


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.

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