Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

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greenjello85
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Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

Post by greenjello85 » January 31st, 2015, 11:02 am

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Mt Hood from Devil's Peak

I was able to take advantage of another beautiful summer day yesterday! I headed up to the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness out of welches for a grand tour. I parked at the Salmon River trailhead and headed down the Old Salmon River trail towards the Green Canyon. This section is very short but there was this nice waterfall, some nice old growth, and some mushrooms just starting to grow.

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When the Old salmon river trail rejoins the road, stay on the road until you reach the Green Canyon Trail just across the road from the campground.

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**WARNING** Despite being a mere 5 miles from the nearest Subway, this is a real wilderness trail! It is narrow, STEEP, and has a fair amount of blow down/debris/tread damage. Be prepared. After a half mile or so, there is a series of uprooted trees that I had to go around uphill. By the time I got around the roots, I was five feet from the next section of trail so I just jumped up there.

This trail starts out in the rainforest bottom but quickly climbs into smaller mountain forest. There are a lot of nice rock features to take in along the way.

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What's with this weird orange ball that's been following me around lately?
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At a viewpoint (approx 1 mile) I stopped to take in where I had come from and where I was going.

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Devil's peak(I think)

Shortly after the viewpoint, this obstacle appeared! I had to be VERY careful making my way around this uprooted/slide area. Might not show that well but this hill is quite steep.

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Uprooted tree that took the trail tread with it.

About 150 feet from here I lost the trail! I think I missed a very subtle trail and had been on a game trail. I knew the trail was switchbacking above me so I headed straight up the hill about 50 feet until I hit the tread again. There was another nasty area of blow down that I was able to simply climb over(carefully it was a mess). Shortly after the next section of blow down, I reached a switchback with a user trail keeping straight. This leads up to a really beautiful viewpoint overlooking the salmon river drainage.

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Pan of salmon river drainage

After about 2 miles the trail finally starts to level out a bit (YAY!). This trail averages over 1000 feet e.g. per mile. The trail stays close to a ridgeline passes beneath two unnamed peaks before crossing a saddle from the north side of the ridge to the south side. Pass under one more peak and reach the Green Canyon - Hunchback intersection. This is very well marked with nice signage.

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Along the ridge

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Hunchback/Green Canyon intersection

Turn right heading towards Devil's peak. Continue along the ridge top heading heading SE towards Devil's peak. This trail may not have the huge views or destinations of some others but it has incredible solitude, beautiful forests, small meadows, and interesting rock features. It's definitely more of a journey trail than a destination sort of trail which is just perfect by me!

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The sun

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Small ridgetop meadow, Perhaps an old landing pad?

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The trail heads under that cross ways tree

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The trail begins to climb again before reaching the devils peak spur trail intersection. Take the spur to the right towards devils peak.

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Not much in the way of snowpack at 5000+'

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The watch tower

This watch tower was so neat! It is fully stocked, and would make a fantastic place to stop and split this loop into two days! There are beautiful views of hood and adams from the tower itself and views to the south can be found just below the tower.

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Hood from the tower

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Adams

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Complete with stove, beds and kitchen utensils:)

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South

After eating my lunch, I headed back down the spur to the hunchback trail. The hunchback trail shortly connected with the Cool creek trail. Stay on the hunchback trail here (straight). The trail begins to drop elevation here. The trail has some nice rock formations and scattered views until reaching the devils peak TH.

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Follow the road until reaching the Kinzel lake trail probably 100 feet or so.

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Kinzel Lake trail

The kinzel lake trail is walled in on both sides by heavy rhododendrons. Shortly there is a spur trail to the left that heads steeply down to kinzel lake.

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Kinzel semi-frozen bog :)

After exploring the lake, I headed back up to the kinzel lake trail and headed towards the salmon river trail. The trail is a bit narrow but is sloped down fairly gently.

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After another mile and a half or so reach the Salmon River trail. Turn right heading back towards the salmon river trailhead. I was pressed for time to make it out by dark so I wasn't able to check out any of the waterfalls along the way :( If doing this loop, make sure to give yourself plenty of time! I did get my favorite photo of the day though.

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Just before crossing Goat Creek this 6" stick was stuck straight into the ground. It wouldn't move.
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That will leave a mark.

The sun was starting to set behind the mountains but I still had some light.
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I made it back to the trailhead at 5:20 with about 15 minutes of light to spare! :lol:

After leaving the trailhead I saw NO ONE on this 16ish mile, 5000' EG loop. It was incredibly peaceful, and a wonderful day on the trail!

~Dan

raftingdog
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Re: Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

Post by raftingdog » January 31st, 2015, 12:06 pm

that loop hike is big for long days of summer... there is a spring running near lookout ...

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Splintercat
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Re: Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

Post by Splintercat » January 31st, 2015, 5:54 pm

Nice report, Dan! That's a big hike for a short winter day...! Kinzel Lake is a cool little spot -- there is a lake there under the ice/snow, though only a few feet deep. What I like most about it is the sundew growing in the bog... not enough to keep the mosquito population down significantly, but nice to have an assist, no matter how small... :D

The slide on the Green Canyon Way trails looks gnarly -- if you post that photo (and a short description) in the Trail Rx forum, there's a good chance the Forest Service will spot it there. They may not know about the slide.

Thanks for posting!

Tom :)

greenjello85
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Re: Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

Post by greenjello85 » February 1st, 2015, 10:26 pm

raftingdog wrote:that loop hike is big for long days of summer... there is a spring running near lookout ...
Yeah it was about as far as I'd feel comfortable hiking during the winter. I would have had plenty of time but I slept through my alarm for like 2.5 hours. My wife and I have a newborn so it was a late night before :) The loop took 8 hours including breaks. I saw the sign for the spring but didn't venture over there. That watch tower was incredibly well stocked! There was water and food to last a while if someone was in trouble.
Splintercat wrote:Nice report, Dan! That's a big hike for a short winter day...! Kinzel Lake is a cool little spot -- there is a lake there under the ice/snow, though only a few feet deep. What I like most about it is the sundew growing in the bog... not enough to keep the mosquito population down significantly, but nice to have an assist, no matter how small... :D

The slide on the Green Canyon Way trails looks gnarly -- if you post that photo (and a short description) in the Trail Rx forum, there's a good chance the Forest Service will spot it there. They may not know about the slide.

Thanks for posting!

Tom :)
I've posted to the trail rx so hopefully the fs can get to it. It's pretty bad, it's one of the most cautious bypasses I've done :) Thanks for the info on the lake!

~Dan

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romann
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Re: Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

Post by romann » February 2nd, 2015, 12:12 am

That's beautiful loop - thanks for sharing! Nice pictures. I backpacked that loop last summer, only it took me 3 days.

Devil's snow-free summit - it's funny, I read visitors' entries in the lookout and (circa 2011?) several people had hard time with snow there in the beginning of August! Someone wrote they used helicopter to evacuate a hiker in July because he couldn't find way out in snow.

That cliff viewpoint off Green Canyon trail - I think it deserves a sign, I only could find it last winter for the first time because hikers in front of me left tracks on snow.

mandrake
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Re: Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

Post by mandrake » February 2nd, 2015, 8:52 am

Thanks for posting -- amazingly little snow up there this year.

I did the same loop last year with an overnight stay in the lookout... really enjoyed the loop. It's a gem.
http://www.portlandhikers.org/forum/vie ... =8&t=18681

joerunner
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Re: Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

Post by joerunner » February 14th, 2015, 9:04 am

Thanks for this report Dan. I used this information to plan and execute the same hike yesterday. Conditions were about the same with no snow up at the lookout (not that there was much before). When I'm in better shape I have done this hike including a out and back to the ranger station at zig zag which makes for a monster amount of climbing.

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Splintercat
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Re: Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

Post by Splintercat » February 14th, 2015, 9:48 am

You always manage to blow my mind, Joe..! :shock: :? :lol:

I'm glad this loop is getting some attention -- I'd like to see some some of the big climbs around Mount Hood get as much attention from ultra-hikers/runners as the Gorge trails. This one is a great example, but so is the Burnt Lake/Zigzag Mtn/Horseshoe Ridge loop, the West Zigzag up-and-back and the Tamanawas/Elk Meadows/Blue Grass Ridge loop. All of these are lightly traveled and at thus at risk in the long-term of being dropped from maintenance schedules by the USFS for that reason.

On my TKO list are some project to create other large loops on the mountain -- specifically, a no-road Elk Cove/Timberline/Pinnacle Ridge loop and a mega-loop of Elk Cove/Timberline/Vista Ridge/Old Vista Ridge/Laurance loop... that's one that Pablo has already done in a day, including off-trail segments!

Tom :)

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-Q-
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Re: Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

Post by -Q- » February 14th, 2015, 9:14 pm

Splintercat wrote:You always manage to blow my mind, Joe..! :shock: :? :lol:

I'm glad this loop is getting some attention -- I'd like to see some some of the big climbs around Mount Hood get as much attention from ultra-hikers/runners as the Gorge trails. This one is a great example, but so is the Burnt Lake/Zigzag Mtn/Horseshoe Ridge loop, the West Zigzag up-and-back and the Tamanawas/Elk Meadows/Blue Grass Ridge loop. All of these are lightly traveled and at thus at risk in the long-term of being dropped from maintenance schedules by the USFS for that reason.

On my TKO list are some project to create other large loops on the mountain -- specifically, a no-road Elk Cove/Timberline/Pinnacle Ridge loop and a mega-loop of Elk Cove/Timberline/Vista Ridge/Old Vista Ridge/Laurance loop... that's one that Pablo has already done in a day, including off-trail segments!

Tom :)
The Bluegrass Ridge trail needs some major work. Lots of blown down trees. Tread hard to locate in spots. Hope the FS focuses on working it, instead of abandoning it

greenjello85
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Re: Green Canyon-Devils Peak-Salmon Loop 1/30/2015

Post by greenjello85 » February 15th, 2015, 11:08 am

Thanks for the replies all!

Romann, I agree about that viewpoint deserving a sign. That may have been may favorite view of the day! I see a lot of big peaks but overlooking a drainage like that is a little more unique.

Joe, that would be quite the elevation gainer! I believe I would die :lol:

Tom & Q, I feel like every trail I hike these days is on the verge of being abandoned! The utter lack of FS maintenance is disheartening. I'm pretty excited if I have to climb over less than 25 downed trees in a day :roll:

~Dan

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