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Mount Pisgah East Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Buckbrush Creek, Trail #3, Howard Buford Recreation Area (bobcat)
Great camas (Camassia leichtlinii), Trail #6 (bobcat)
View to Spencer Butte, Trail #1, Howard Buford Recreation Area (bobcat)
Great hound's tongue (Cynoglossum grande), Trail #4 (bobcat)
The east loop at Mt. Pisgah (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Buford East TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Mount Pisgah
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 5.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 990 feet
  • High Point: 1531 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes, on weekends
Nettles
Poison-Oak

Contents

Description

Mount Pisgah is the high point of Lane County’s Howard Buford Recreation Area, the largest park in the county system. It is a basalt prominence wedged between the Coast Fork and Middle Fork of the Willamette River. The eastern trails are shared with horses although you’re more likely just to encounter other hikers. You’ll see a mixture of oak savanna, shady Douglas-fir forest, and open meadows on this loop which covers the eastern and southern slopes of the mountain as well as the summit. There are many Mt. Pisgahs in the world: in the Holy Land, this was the viewpoint from which Moses first sighted the Promised Land. Note that the entire park is a lush haven for poison oak, so think twice about letting your dog venture off-trail.

Trail #2 (Beistel’s East Summit Trail) takes you past a yellow gate along a gravel road, with an Oregon ash/spiraea swamp to the left and an open field to the right. Endemic Willamette Valley bitter cress and buttercup flower here in the spring. At a junction with an information kiosk, bear right to keep on Trail #2. The gravel track rises gradually up a slope, offering views across the farm fields to Bear Mountain and the Cascade foothills, with Mount June and Hardesty Mountain most prominent. These oak woods have been recently thinned of the encroaching Douglas-fir. The road curves left and passes some Pacific ponderosas where the trail descends a little. After a short rise, you’ll encounter the junction with Trail #4, where you should go right.

This is a singletrack path through a forest of Douglas-fir with maple, oak, and incense cedar. In spring, fawn lilies, baby blue eyes, buttercup, camas, iris, and trillium bloom in the understory. Cross a powerline corridor, keeping straight on Trail #4, and meet a jeep track in deep Douglas-fir forest (this track follows a buried cable line). The verges of the trail are carpeted with invasive shining geranium. Pass the junction with Trail #24, and after a level traverse, rise steeply uphill and then descend again. Thickets of blackberry sometimes crowd the understory, but trillium, vanilla leaf, fringe-cup, and candy flower also flourish here. Trail #4 rises to the junction with Trail #14E, where you should go left.

Hike about 80 yards, and then bear left again at the junction with Trail #14. Another 25 yards takes you to Trail #1, where you need to make another left to head up towards the summit of Mount Pisgah. Views open up west across the Goshen area to Spencer Butte. In an oak wood, you will see fawn lily, Henderson’s shooting star, and hound’s tongue in the spring. Pass the junction with Trail #2 to reach the open summit area and the Jed Kesey Memorial. There are benches to rest on and the most prominent Cascade summit is Diamond Peak to the south. The snowy tops of South Sister and Middle Sister peek up to the west. Look to the skies above for soaring vultures, red-tailed hawks, and bald eagles.

Continue across the summit on Trail #6, and keep left at a bench on the more braided trail. There are more views south to the Cascade foothills and Diamond Peak. The tread here is rocky and can be slippery when wet. At a powerline corridor, bear right on a gravel track, and then turn left at the junction with Trail #36 to keep on Trail #6.

The trail is a graveled track here as it heads down slopes of oak, camas, and poison oak. Below a hillside thicketed with buckbrush, you’ll cross a creek and turn right on Trail #56. This path curves around to descend to a crossing of Buckbrush Creek and reach Trail #3. Turn left for 50 yards, and then take Trail #3 where it peels off to the left at the junction with Trail #5. You’ll cross Buckbrush Creek for the third time below a Douglas-fir wood. From here, it’s only one mile back to the trailhead.

Switchback up twice in an oak wood to reach Meadowlark Meadow. The trail crosses five small creeks, most of them seasonal, with camas and buttercup blooming along the path. At the junction with Trail #6, head right past the kiosk that begins the loop, and keep right to return to your vehicle.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $5 parking fee or Annual Pass for Lane County Parks
  • Share some trails with horses
  • Park open dawn to dusk
  • Port-a-potty, information kiosk at trailhead
  • Do NOT leave belongings in your vehicle

Maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • Oregon’s Best Wildflower Hikes: Northwest Region by George Wuerthner
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Trail Running: Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Best Hikes With Dogs: Oregon by Ellen Morris Bishop

More Links


Page 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.