Boulder Ridge - Bonanza Trail Loop - 6/27/09

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Guy
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Boulder Ridge - Bonanza Trail Loop - 6/27/09

Post by Guy » June 29th, 2009, 7:58 pm

So Saturday we hiked the Boulder - Bonanza Loop. Our initial plan was to begin at the Bonanza trailhead then return down the Boulder trail to a car we had left at the Wildwood entrance on the side of hwy26. However on arriving at what the map said was the beginning of the Bonanza trail we found this inviting sign:

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Not having been here before & finding the ZigZag ranger station closed we decided to play it safe & leave our second car 2 miles away at the Hoodland shopping center then begin our hike at Wildwood going up the Boulder trail. There have already been a few reports on the Boulder Ridge Trail this year so I'll skip over this bit. It was an enjoyable climb up to the junction with the Plaza Trail here:

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Behind us is the North abandoned section of the Plaza trail discussed here.

We arrived at the top of Huckleberry Mountain about 2.5 hours after setting out & were treated to some great flowers & great views.

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Once past the Huckleberry Summit the Plaza trail definitely becomes the Trail Less Traveled.

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A short distance past the summit we found the junction with the Bonanza Trail & began our decent. The trail is in very good shape but it's getting quite narrow in places it could do with a few more hiking boots on it.

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About half way down we stopped to check out the Bonanza Mine. If anyone has any historical info on the mine I'd be interested in hearing it. We ventured in a short way but soon ran out of logs & rocks to stand on & didn't fancy walking in the 6" of water on the mine floor.

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From here the trail descended to Cheeney Creek the last mile or so is along an old road & this is the section with the most blow down.

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Shortly before the end of the trail we came to the Wilderness Boundary - The sign has certainly seen better days, suffering from a few gunshot wounds:

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Just 5 minutes later we arrived at the friendly sign we had seen in the morning, but then just around the corner we also noticed this:

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Apparently this is the correct place to begin the hike up the Bonanza Trail & according to someone at the ZigZag ranger station when I called them today it is OK to leave your car here if it's pulled well off to the side. Oh well live and learn we had a 2 mile hike back down the road to the Hoodland Shopping Center to round out the day :D

All in all a great hike & I'd encourage you to go out & hike the Bonanza trail, It would be a shame for it to meet the fate of so many other trails in the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness. More photos here if your interested.

Cheers
Guy.
hiking log & photos.
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Splintercat
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Re: Boulder Ridge - Bonanza Trail Loop - 6/27/09

Post by Splintercat » July 3rd, 2009, 7:07 am

Thanks for the report, Guy. I LOVE the Bonanza Trail, and it has been painful to watch a particularly entrenched property owner attempt to block access to the trailhead. There's a long legal precedent that prevents this, when it can be demonstrated that the public has historically followed a trail across private land, but that assumes somebody is willing to press the case. The Forest Service has attempted to negotiate a solution over the years, too, including acquisition of the property.

Many years ago, when the trailhead property was in the hands of another owner, hikers parked at the trailhead (or even camped to get an early start on the trail). I even participated in a volkswalk in the late 1980s that included this trail. At that time, blowdown wasn't an issue along the Cheeney Creek section -- which, BTW, is a very attractive stream, and adds to the variety of scenery on this hike.

Thanks for the report and photos!

-Tom :D

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Re: Boulder Ridge - Bonanza Trail Loop - 6/27/09

Post by Splintercat » July 3rd, 2009, 7:18 am

BTW, at one time, there were USFS plans to build a traverse trail from Cheeney Creek to the Plaza Trail, bypassing private property. The Bonanza Trail is described in the Lowe's "62 Hiking Trails in the Northern Oregon Cascades".

Another trail in the area that is probably a "lost trail" now is the Arrah Wanna trail, that climbs the north ridge of Huckleberry Mountain in about 10,000 switchbacks. I haven't seen this trip described in years, and have no idea if it's even passable.

Tom

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Guy
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Re: Boulder Ridge - Bonanza Trail Loop - 6/27/09

Post by Guy » July 3rd, 2009, 7:54 am

Splintercat wrote: Another trail in the area that is probably a "lost trail" now is the Arrah Wanna trail, that climbs the north ridge of Huckleberry Mountain in about 10,000 switchbacks. I haven't seen this trip described in years, and have no idea if it's even passable.

Tom
Thanks Tom,

Hopefully a post here will encourage a few others to hike it, I notice there isn't a field guide for the Bonanza trail - is there a reason why not?

I've penciled in an attempt on the Arrah Wanna trail for the this fall.
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Re: Boulder Ridge - Bonanza Trail Loop - 6/27/09

Post by Splintercat » July 3rd, 2009, 8:38 pm

We just haven't gotten around to that one, Guy. I as under the impression that crossing the private parcel had heated up again, but apparently not. Here's the USFS official word:
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"Access is via private property and a bit tricky to find. Stop at the Zigzag Ranger District for directions. First 2 miles maintained June 2006."
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Sounds like it's find to go there, once you find the trailhead! Looks like that blowdown is fresh, too - note the maintenance date.

-Tom

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