Despite almost a quarter century of hiking Portland area forests I've generally avoided what the Field Guide (FG) terms Clackamas area hikes. From the air of "Deliverance" at certain trailheads to massive clearcuts marring almost every viewshed, I had little appetite when so many other options availed themselves.
Lately I've treaded these trails with a new eye. A few weeks ago I hiked up Cripple Creek which featured delightful canopy on the slopes above Clackamas River.
Yesterday I parked at the Roaring River campground TH (no pass req'd). New signs point to and mark the trailhead. Three cars already parked there, likely camping overflow as I would not encounter a single soul on my daylong hike.
As I ascended TR518, conditions pretty much mirrored the FG description, which I had printed out along with a FS map and tucked into my right pocket. The promised newts were out in profusion. . Clearcuts across the canyon are healing and perhaps in another decade will disappear altogether, although I probably was viewing an unprotected area abutting Clackamas Canyon wilderness to the south. TR518 is indeed a climb but well graded.
Grouse Creek is a great water source and delightful break point, and except for one other spring the rest of the trail is dry.
I passed the 4635 Tie in Junction marked as 3 miles in, and continued towards Grouse Point Trail #517, signed as being another 3 miles out. I reached TR517 rather quickly and suspect this is closer to 2.2 miles from the Tie In given FS maps show the entire length of TR518 as being 5.2 miles.
No matter, now I turned right on TR517 and discovered my printed maps had slipped out of my pocket (recovered during descent). I was keeping an eye out for the "scratch trail" to Grouse Point, but #517 itself is becoming rather faint, with frequent if minor blowdowns and rhododendrons growing across parts of the tread. I did spot the referenced #4 sign, and through the trees could see the top of Mt. Hood - but no scratch trail.
I reached TR512 which descends to Serene Lake and knew I had blown by Grouse Point. Decided to continue ascending on TR518 hoping to snag a lunchtime viewpoint.
I passed a wooden "3" marker and a bit later, at the crest of the hill, spotted to my left some boulders open to the sky. Here I went. Awaiting me was a grand view of Mt. Hood with a peek a boo of Adams, and a partial view of Serene Lake down below. I couldn't grouse about that.
Hopefully some day Roaring River Wilderness can be expanded to include those areas that are now marked as "potential wilderness" - nests of logging roads punching inward. A new trail could connect the TR517 more directly to TR 512, perhaps using part of the Tie-In trail.
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
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