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Sophie Mozee Homestead Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

At the chimney of the Sophie Mozee Cabin (bobcat)
Walking across the clearcut, Rocky Point Timberlands (bobcat)
The outhouse, Sophie Mozee Cabin (bobcat)
The route on private timberland to the Sophie Mozee Homestead (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Jackson Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Sophie Mozee Homestead
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 1.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 155 feet
  • High Point: 1235 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

Much of northern Multnomah County is the domain of private timber companies. While Weyerhaeuser requires an annual permit for the public to use its forest tracts in the county, public access to other timber company parcels is fine as long as you respect the property and don’t hinder logging operations. This short hike takes you down into one such holding (Rocky Point Timberlands of Longview, Washington) on the west slope of the Tualatin Hills, essentially following an old Indian and settler route to the site of a 19th century homestead.

Walk past the gate and head down the old logging road in a dense secondary forest of Douglas-fir and western red-cedar interspersed with big-leaf maple and red alder. Jackson Creek runs to the left, and you’ll see large stumps in the woods. You may notice a trail leading off to the right: this leads to private homes.

Cross Jackson Creek, and ascend a little. Keep right at a junction, and drop again to a soggy alder bottomland. There may be a large clump of alders down here: you can head around them by pushing through the salal undergrowth to the right or simply clamber over and through them. After surmounting this obstacle, you’ll find yourself in a clearcut. At the end of the clearcut, there’s a four-way junction. Walk straight ahead into a stand of tall Douglas-firs to find the remains of the Sophie Mozee Homestead.

What remains of the original 19th century structure is the stone and brick chimney. A more recent addition is the ‘ghost frame’ that has been erected over the original footprint of the homestead. A plaque here honors Bob ‘Hock’ Johnston, a Boy Scout troop leader who brought his charges to this place, nicknamed Hock’s Hilton, in the 1960s and 70s. Apparently the original structure burned down sometime after this when local residents chased out a transient who holed up in the cabin and stole from their properties. Off in the trees, about 50 yards northeast of the homestead, is a log outhouse, probably constructed by the Scout troop, which is now leaning precariously. The toilet seats remain, two of them, so a pair of young outdoorsmen could enjoy the pleasures of the throne at a single sitting.

Little is known of Sophie Mozee, who ended up abandoning her homestead. It became a place of refuge along the Jason Lee Trail, an ancient Indian route that connected to the Tualatin and Willamette Valleys. Jason Lee, a Methodist minister from Quebec, the first missionary to proselytize in the Willamette Valley (See the Willamette Mission Loop Hike), took advantage of this passage when he arrived here in 1834. The Mozee homestead was perhaps constructed in the 1880s.

The most lurid story involving the cabin occurred in 1894, after its abandonment. It involves a posse out of St. Helens, a deadly gunfight with a convicted murderer, and a mysterious cabin guest. The details of this event are documented on James Thayer’s Forest Hiker site and in his guidebook Hiking from Portland to the Coast.


Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Don’t block the gate
  • Keep to the road track; there are private homes just to the east.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Hiking from Portland to the Coast by James D. Thayer

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.