Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

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rainrunner
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Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

Post by rainrunner » September 17th, 2012, 12:38 pm

We did a lovely 14.9 mile loop from FS Road 4685. The road wasn't bad. Even our Jetta was fine at a reasonable speed. The Green Trails map show the S Breitenbush and Crag trailheads at different spots on the road, but they both begin at the S Breitenbush trailhead in the same parking lot marked "trailhead" before the hairpin curve on the road.

We hiked the S Breitenbush trail (3375) to Jefferson Park, to the PCT (2000), south to the Whitewater trail (3429), west to the Triangulation trail (3373), to the Crag trail (3364) and back to the trailhead. Crag trail is indeed "not maintained" but red ribbons were very helpful until the stream crossing. We lost the trail and the ribbons so bushwhacked our way northeast knowing we'd run into something. That was only the last half mile. Look at the topo in the field guide for the S. Breitenbush trail if you choose this route.

Hike with the Triangulation peak option which we didn't do.
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Close up of the finish of Crag trail. Should have stayed on the south side of the river for a while before crossing... The green trails map wasn't this clear on which side of the river we should travel on. (This topo still shows separate trailheads for each trail)
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Since we got a late start on Saturday, we spent the night about four miles in back behind a meadow in an established site.
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Red ribbons helped stay on the trail when it was very over grown with brush.
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There were several large logs spanning the river, but we choose to forge through.
Didn't trust our balance on the logs.
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Last edited by rainrunner on September 17th, 2012, 3:31 pm, edited 5 times in total.
The mountains are calling and I must go.
John Muir

spartankayaker
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Re: Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

Post by spartankayaker » September 17th, 2012, 2:25 pm

Very nice... my wife and I are headed up there this weekend to celebrate our anniversary. :D

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kelkev
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Re: Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

Post by kelkev » September 17th, 2012, 3:32 pm

Looks like the huckleberries are turning red nicely! Beautiful photos of my favorite place. I've always been curious about the Crag Trail, looks like it is seriously brushed in and perhaps even hard to follow at times?
"Going to the mountains is going home."
— John Muir

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rainrunner
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Re: Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

Post by rainrunner » September 17th, 2012, 4:12 pm

Crag trail was definitely brushed in, but someone did a good job of placing the red ribbons along the trail. The very top section of the trail is brushed in and the lower section is brushed in, but you can still see the trail and the ribbons help a great deal..... well until the very bottom where we lost the trail by the river. We searched the south side of the river for a bit but didn't see anymore ribbons or sign of the trail, so we crossed the river bushwhacked north to the South Breitenbush trail. I didn't want to try to head west any further and risk missing both trails.
The mountains are calling and I must go.
John Muir

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mattisnotfrench
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Re: Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

Post by mattisnotfrench » September 17th, 2012, 11:00 pm

You guys are amazing! This is an awesome report. Great photos, and finally, at long last, some real intel on the Crag Trail. Isn't that a beautiful area?
Author of Off the Beaten Trail, 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region and PDX Hiking 365. Website: www.offthebeatentrailpdx.com

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rainrunner
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Re: Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

Post by rainrunner » September 18th, 2012, 4:09 am

Yes, Crag is a beautiful forested trail with some areas filled with tall mossy trees. We didn't see anyone once we left the Whitewater trail until the trail head.
The mountains are calling and I must go.
John Muir

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Bromus
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Re: Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

Post by Bromus » September 18th, 2012, 1:33 pm

Hey we briefly chatted with you guys on your way up S. Breitenbush. Looks like you had a great time; it sure is purty up there. We saw 4 rangers in our quick one-night stay at the park. One of which was rather authoritarian and jumping-to-conclusions about us mis-camping (when we were just dropping our packs for a side explore). And the first one said she was covering out of her jurisdiction because of budget cuts... In addition, I learned this trip that the NW forest pass has been discontinued? :roll: Glad the fire wasn't an issue; we only caught a slight whiff of smoke.

Cheers

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mattisnotfrench
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Re: Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

Post by mattisnotfrench » September 27th, 2012, 2:02 pm

rainrunner wrote:We did a lovely 14.9 mile loop from FS Road 4685. The road wasn't bad. Even our Jetta was fine at a reasonable speed. The Green Trails map show the S Breitenbush and Crag trailheads at different spots on the road, but they both begin at the S Breitenbush trailhead in the same parking lot marked "trailhead" before the hairpin curve on the road.

We hiked the S Breitenbush trail (3375) to Jefferson Park, to the PCT (2000), south to the Whitewater trail (3429), west to the Triangulation trail (3373), to the Crag trail (3364) and back to the trailhead. Crag trail is indeed "not maintained" but red ribbons were very helpful until the stream crossing. We lost the trail and the ribbons so bushwhacked our way northeast knowing we'd run into something. That was only the last half mile. Look at the topo in the field guide for the S. Breitenbush trail if you choose this route.

Hike with the Triangulation peak option which we didn't do.
Image

Close up of the finish of Crag trail. Should have stayed on the south side of the river for a while before crossing... The green trails map wasn't this clear on which side of the river we should travel on. (This topo still shows separate trailheads for each trail)
Looks like I forgot to respond to this part specifically. I've tried to follow the Crag Trail a couple of times before from the South Breitenbush Trail and always lost it about a quarter mile from the South Breitenbush turnoff. After looking at that map again the last time I developed a theory which I hope to test in a couple of weeks.

According to the map there are still two trailheads on the South Breitenbush Trailhead. When I first hiked the South Breitenbush Trail in 1995, the trailhead was at the hairpin curve on FR 4685. They eventually moved it back to the clearing where the Crag Trail comes in. The South Breitenbush Trail is now maybe a quarter mile longer than the maps indicate because of this. The old trail comes in where the trail turns to the right and begins climbing.

The last time I tried to follow the Crag Trail it dead ended in brush not far from the South Breitenbush River. This seemed odd to me until it dawned on me - that maybe somebody (perhaps the Forest Service) was quietly trying to rebuild the trail to connect it with the trail on the other side. The South Breitenbush / Crag Trail junction is signed but it isn't where the maps indicate it should be. That is to say that this it was not the original alignment of the trail, and that the real Crag Trail departs from somewhere else at the large open parking lot. Again, this is just conjecture. That makes more sense than a trail ending just 0.25 mile from where it was supposed to start.

If I get up there and do this hike in a couple weeks as hoped I'll respond here with a report.
Author of Off the Beaten Trail, 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region and PDX Hiking 365. Website: www.offthebeatentrailpdx.com

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rainrunner
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Re: Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

Post by rainrunner » September 29th, 2012, 8:02 pm

mattisnotfrench -
Looking at a close up view of the topo map I copied from the field guide on this site, it looks like you would head south on the Crag Trail from the trail head and cross the South Fork Breitenbush River. Then head east on the south side of the river until you get to Crag Creek, cross the creek and then head south/southeast on the trail.
Even if you lost the trail before the river, you would still head south until you hit the river and cross it and head east to Crag Creek where you could locate the trail again.
We saw red ribbons from the junction of Crag Creek and South Fork Breitenbush River all the way to the junction of the Triangulation Peak trail.

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The mountains are calling and I must go.
John Muir

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miah66
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Re: Jefferson Park Loop (9/15-16)

Post by miah66 » September 16th, 2013, 11:00 am

Hiked this loop this past weekend. The Crag trail ribbons are still in place and helpful for the most part until the bottom quarter mile or so near the parking lot. There is a huge tree across the river where you are supposed to cross, but there isn't a clear indication of that. At some point you walk past the intending crossing, though several flags continue before petering out completely. There is no definite trail. After turning back, noticed the big tree down and the faint tread wear on the bark. We continued across the tree bridge (which is marked w/ notches) and up the bank on the other side. The trail continues on another 1/8 mile (though not very defined) to it's meetup with the S. Breitenbush trail about 200 feet from the start of that trail.

I noticed it was shown incorrectly on the map as starting at the other side of the parking lot. Perhaps at one time it did. I theorized that a flood had perhaps destroyed this alignment and lower portion of the crag trail which led to its eventual decline as a viable trail. But that's just a theory.
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