The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
Webfoot
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The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Webfoot » June 4th, 2020, 5:51 pm

While exploring Old Barlow Road east of Mount Hood I found a feature I learned is called The Lost & Boulder Ditch, an irrigation canal that brings water to Smock Prairie. "Ditch" doesn't do it justice. The woods here are pleasant and the water placid yet briskly flowing. The berm along the canal is presently easy walking but unless it receives boot traffic I fear it will soon be overgrown. I had not allowed for a long walk so I only went a bit over half a mile one-way, north from 3530, but the open berm continued in both directions.

I am encouraging others to hike this while it is possible, explore its extent, and help keep the tread open in the process. I believe this is the easiest way to access the segment I walked:
  • Take FR 48 south from Oregon highway 35 at White River, or west from Wamic
  • Turn south on FR 4885 (45.1838, -121.5412)
  • Continue for 0.9 mile and turn left/east on Old Barlow Road 3530 (45.1792, -121.5255)
  • Drive half a mile to Boulder Creek and park on the near side of the bridge (45.1763, -121.5173)
  • Cross the bridge on foot, pass through an erosion-damaged section of road, and continue for a third of a mile to where 3530 crosses The Lost & Boulder Ditch (45.1758, -121.5133)
  • Walk the west side of the canal in either direction.
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bobcat
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Location: SW Portland

Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by bobcat » June 4th, 2020, 6:24 pm

It looks in pretty good shape. I wonder what it's like closer to Smock Prairie - I had planned to explore there this spring were it not for covid . . .

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Chip Down
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Chip Down » June 4th, 2020, 7:59 pm

Looks like fun. I like exploring anything having to do with water distribution.
Map shows it's virtually flat, just barely enough slope to keep water moving.
Regarding the approach, I guess one could also stay on road 48 until it crosses the ditch.

Webfoot
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Webfoot » June 4th, 2020, 8:28 pm

Chip Down wrote:
June 4th, 2020, 7:59 pm
Regarding the approach, I guess one could also stay on road 48 until it crosses the ditch.
I looked for that but I couldn't see the canal from the road. The day was getting late however and I wasn't determined. I'm sure you'd do better.

I hope you hike this; it goes for miles and with luck that berm could be fresh enough to walk it as far as you care to. See page 35 of https://wascoswcd.org/linked/wrws_assessment.pdf

pcg
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by pcg » June 5th, 2020, 10:09 am

This old irrigation ditch, as well as the one on the other side of the White River, are best explored this time of year by a small flotation device. Warning: Frequent short portages required.

Webfoot
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Webfoot » June 5th, 2020, 10:38 am

pcg wrote:
June 5th, 2020, 10:09 am
This old irrigation ditch, as well as the one on the other side of the White River, are best explored this time of year by a small flotation device. Warning: Frequent short portages required.
Interesting, but are there any hazards? I wouldn't want someone to get sucked into an intake pipe. Getting back up stream could be difficult so I presume you need a planned extraction point?

pcg
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by pcg » June 5th, 2020, 12:09 pm

Yes. There are hazards in the form of sharp rocks in shallow water and metal pipe culverts that require one to be alert as the water can be moving pretty fast his time of year. The ditch goes by the northern border of Lower White River Wilderness. Gaia is a good source for finding a FS road that works for a takeout. You will have to hike 50 yards up the canyon to get to the road that goes down to the edge of WR canyon. LWR wilderness is a fun place to explore as well. The sides are steep, brushy, and rocky.

pcg
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by pcg » June 5th, 2020, 12:11 pm

Yes. There are hazards in the form of sharp rocks in shallow water and metal pipe culverts that require one to be alert as the water can be moving pretty fast this time of year. The ditch goes by the northern border of Lower White River Wilderness. Gaia is a good source for finding a FS road that works for a takeout. There lots of options for putting in and getting out. You will have to hike 50 yards up the canyon to get to the road that goes down to the edge of WR canyon. LWR wilderness is a fun place to explore as well. The sides are steep, brushy, and rocky.

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Guy
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Guy » June 7th, 2020, 5:42 pm

Intrigued by this and looking to escape the west side rain we went and checked this out today! We parked the car at Forest Creek Camp (wife's orders :) ) so we had just shy of a mile walk up to the ditch.

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We headed down stream. Some places are more overgrown than others but never difficult, I'm guessing that since the ditch is still in use its probably walked by whoever maintains it a couple of times a year.

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A tad more overgrown section!

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Sadly there are no views not even when the ditch runs right along the rim of the white river canyon. Tantalizing "almost views" but the never happen!

Just over 4 miles down the canal we came across the second of 2 log crossings that we saw. On the other side was a camp site and a road leading to it. We didn't see a single person or a car all day but someone must have been at this campsite the previous night, note the fresh cantaloupe!

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No road marked on the map but we took a chance and walked the road hoping it would lead to 4850 for the walk back.

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Sure enough it did and we soon found ourselves on road 4850

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Junction with 4850 and the load leading down to the ditch side campsite & crossing.

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Curious memorial on 4850

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Back on the Barlow Rd.

All told a 10 mile round trip.

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hiking log & photos.
Ad monte summa aut mors

Webfoot
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Re: The Lost & Boulder Ditch

Post by Webfoot » June 7th, 2020, 8:37 pm

That's great! I hope you found it worth your time and effort. In any case thank you for following the lead and posting the report.

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