May 30, 2016 (Memorial Day) Trip Notes
I took a group of teenagers plus one older (52) year old woman in fair shape athletically. We travelled in and out via the spur road. We saw two other parties: a party of two who were at the base of the upper falls, and a party of roughly 6. We left the car on the shoulder before Memaloose bridge and began about 9:30. We returned to the car at 4:10 (6 hrs 40 minutes). We took a long break at the base of Memaloose Falls and at the base of the lower falls. We didn't scramble to the base of the upper falls. We also went up through the tunnel to the top of the upper falls. We didn't spend any time looking for or at the old waterworks.
The scrambles down from the spur road and down to the bases of Memaloose falls and the lower falls were more difficult than I remembered but everyone managed fine. There are a lot of ropes, including some brand new ones this year, that cover basically the whole descent off the spur road. They aren't necessary but they were helpful to some in the group. There is also a rope for scrambling down to the base of the lower falls.
Someone has gone to a lot of effort to carry trash out of there since the last time I went up 5 years ago. There is very little remaining.
Someone has placed two heavy, solid, nailed in place planks which make accessing the old bridge on the South Fork a breeze.
No Ticks this time!
The area has changed since the fire. The rich moss in the canopy along the lower stretch is mostly gone. Seemed like a lot more sunlight everywhere. It is amazing to see some of the giant old growth that made it through that fire. Very cool.
I don't know that it would ever make sense to go to the expense to build a foot bridge across the Clackamas to access this area. It seems like it would be relatively simple to create a trail from Memaloose Bridge downstream along the Clackamas to the South Fork. Then if necessary the South Fork could be bridged. For now a trail from Memaloose Bridge to the existing old bridge on the South Fork would be ideal. That bridge has a lot of life left in it and isn't very far upstream.
Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
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Great detailed trip report! Thank you so much!