Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

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CampinCarl
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Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

Post by CampinCarl » October 17th, 2011, 7:36 am

What to do when you have 4 hours on a Saturday morning? Go for a hike here!

There is a really nice trail guide from Santiam State Forest that I am going to link to and spare you the driving directions and details:

http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/northcascade/ ... ckyTop.pdf

Basically, head up to Niagara (40 miles east of downtown Salem), turn left on Niagara Heights Rd and follow the signs 6.6 miles to Natural Rock Arch TH, 2 more miles to Rocky Top TH. The road is in really good shape, especially up to the Natural Rock Arch TH. The last 2 miles to the Rocky Top TH are a little bumpy but still passable in my Chevy Prizm.

Each trail is 1 mile total, with 500 ft elevation gain on the Natural Rock Arch trail and 700ft elevation gain on the Rocky Top trail.

Starting out at Natural Rock Arch TH
01Trailhead.jpg
The trail dives down quickly allowing a few views of the Santiam River drainage.
02_Santiam_River_Drainage.jpg
A quick arrival at the arch; the vine maples really made a nice splash of color.
03_VineMaple_Near_Arch.jpg
04_Under_Arch_View.jpg
Some interesting and enlightening views to be had here :)
05_Rock_and_Sky.jpg
06_Let_There_Be_Light.jpg
Hustled back up to the car for part 2, Rocky Top (cue music...)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Top

Arriving at the trailhead I was greeted by this view to the North
07_View_Down_N_Rocky_Top_TH.jpg
and the classy TH sign
08_Classy_Sign.jpg
I had been keeping an eye on the forecast and knew that all I needed to do was get above the fog. Well, I was rewarded on the ascent of Rocky Top. Moving up,
09_Working_my_way_up.jpg
I was greeted by a dog,
10_Whats_up_dog.jpg
a Rhino,
11_Rhino.jpg
and some superb views.
12_Beautiful_Palette.jpg
I don't think these are good for eatin',
13_Berry_not_good.jpg
but I see the evidence of something better up ahead in red!
14_More_Rock.jpg
Here we go, huckleberries ready to fall off the vine! In all seriousness, there were a lot of berries, granted a few were overripe and chewed up, but plenty for all!
15_Huckleberry_Heaven.jpg
One more post should wrap things up...
Last edited by CampinCarl on October 17th, 2011, 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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CampinCarl
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Re: Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

Post by CampinCarl » October 17th, 2011, 7:47 am

I continued up the ridge to the summit,
16_Summit.jpg
and arrived at the former lookout site to this view.
17_View_from_Summit.jpg
Then I heard "bang,bang" from the direction I was looking and instinctively ducked. Oh, yeah, it's deer season, almost forgot.

I've heard the summit has a view of Mt. Jefferson on a clear day, but today all parts east were socked in. So, now I need to go back to see what can be seen.

I did wave greetings to an old friend to the North. Bonus points if you can name the outcrop and summit in the upper left of the photo.
18_An_Old_Friend.jpg
The last pictures from the way down:
19_Late_Bloomers.jpg
20_Almost_back.jpg
The only people I saw were two vehicles driving up toward the TH on my way out. What a great way to spend a morning in such a beautiful place!

payslee

Re: Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

Post by payslee » October 17th, 2011, 8:57 am

Nice TR!

I was doing wetland surveys up and down that road this summer but was never able to convince my field partner to make a side trip down to the arch. Now I know what I was missing.

And I'll throw in my 2 cents about that road. The surface is good, especially up to the Arch trailhead, but between there and the Rocky Top trailhead the road clings to the bare edge of a cliff in a somewhat nerve-wracking way. The kind of road where you really, *really* hope that a tree or large rock hasn't come down because the idea of backing up along it makes you sweat, and you haven't seen room to turn even a small car around for the last mile.

But a beautiful area that isn't much visited! Nice for a leg stretcher if you're going up over the pass at Detroit.

-payslee

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bobcat
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Re: Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

Post by bobcat » October 19th, 2011, 1:04 pm

These are two interesting destinations, so thanks for publicizing them. I've been there in the summer, but they look better in the fall (or at least in your pictures). Niagara Falls Park, on the North Santiam, also has a short loop hike that can be combined with these - as well as an interesting history.

John

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pyles_94
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Re: Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

Post by pyles_94 » October 19th, 2011, 4:16 pm

Nice looking spot... I recon on a clear day you can see the Jeff? :) Looks like I might have a new sunset destination on the list!
Jamey Pyles

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CampinCarl
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Re: Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

Post by CampinCarl » October 20th, 2011, 7:17 am

payslee wrote:Nice TR!

And I'll throw in my 2 cents about that road. The surface is good, especially up to the Arch trailhead, but between there and the Rocky Top trailhead the road clings to the bare edge of a cliff in a somewhat nerve-wracking way. The kind of road where you really, *really* hope that a tree or large rock hasn't come down because the idea of backing up along it makes you sweat, and you haven't seen room to turn even a small car around for the last mile.

-payslee
That is true, there is kind of a slant on that last portion of the road trending downslope. Seemed stable enough but you do have to pay attention. Also, I forgot to mention there are a few waterbar "speedbumps" on the road to look out for near the Natural Rock Arch TH.

bobcat, thanks for the tip on Niagara Falls Park, I'll have to check that out.

pyles_94, yes there is a view of Jefferson on a clear day, just didn't clear off quite enough for me to see it.

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potato
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Re: Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

Post by potato » April 3rd, 2012, 4:15 pm

In my search for a small, off-trail, isolated, west-facing-with-views mountainside lake at which to camp this summer, I happened upon this old TR.

I'd say the answer to your bonus question is Henline Mt. :)

I'm thinking of going to some place like 44.804588,-122.229195. Any other suggestions for a place like that where I won't be disturbed? Lots of options around that area...
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arundodonax
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Re: Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

Post by arundodonax » April 3rd, 2012, 4:34 pm

theradpotato wrote:In my search for a small, off-trail, isolated, west-facing-with-views mountainside lake at which to camp this summer
The problem is going to be finding a lake off-trail and West facing views. Most lakes have trees surrounding them. The goat mountain/deadman lake hike (http://www.nwhiker.com/GPNFHike38.html), for example, would offer you a lesser used area and a nice West-facing sunset, but not Westward views, per se.

The Mt. Margaret Lakes are beautiful, but are (slightly) more crowded option that would yield similar benefits.

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potato
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Re: Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

Post by potato » April 3rd, 2012, 4:37 pm

Yeah, I realize that trees will likely be obscuring the view at almost any lake. Another option would be to camp at a slightly larger lake at the base of a mountain and be able to watch the sun set on the mountain... or just camp up on the west side of any treeless slope and forget about the lake. But, I also want to be in a hammock, so I require at least 2 trees :D
I might just go up to Battle Ax and look around up there... I really like that spot.
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cfm
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Re: Natural Rock Arch and Rocky Top, October 15th, 2011

Post by cfm » April 3rd, 2012, 4:51 pm

Tumble Lake is a nice spot in that area, it's in a hanging valley so no big views but the little local peaks around you( Tumble Rock, Dome Rock and Elephant Rock), all of which invite scrambling. The Tumble Lake basin has a nice population of Alaska cedars, and lots of huckleberries if you go in September.

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