Upper Clackamas and Collowash

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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longboard16
Posts: 23
Joined: June 10th, 2022, 12:45 pm

Upper Clackamas and Collowash

Post by longboard16 » October 5th, 2022, 6:58 pm

Until recently much of the Mt. Hood Forest, especially the Clackamas River District, had been closed due to fire recovery efforts. In August, most parts were reopen, which of course was just before we headed to Glacier and Yellowstone NP’s for several weeks. Finally got back and got the chance to get up there and check out the area last week as well as again today. I headed up the Clackamas River Highway and back down the Collowash road. The majority of Forest Service campgrounds are completely burned up and still closed due to the Riverside fire. As you get further up there are burn areas from the Lionshead fire (2020) as well as last years Bull Complex Fire. Road 46 is closed near the Mt.Hood/Willamette boundary.

I ventured off FS Road 46 to go to Round Lake which had been closed for the last two years. While the fires got close to it, the lake and immediate surrounding area remain pristine. The short trail to the lake is still there as are the picnic tables at the campsites. Did not take the trail around the lake but have to assume it deteriorates the further you go, which is normal. With regards to the fishing all I can say is that the fire did not harm the fishery.

On the way to Round you drive past the southern trailhead to Rho Ridge. That immediate area got pretty burned up. Did not see any cars or hikers, either day at that entrance. While I cannot attest to the condition of that trail, it would appear to be much more wide open than before the fires. Have to imagine there are a number of down trees on the trail, unless maintenance has been done. The road on the East side of the ridge (6350) is smooth riding (the smoothest it has ever been and I suspect it has graded for fire access and has seen little travel since it reopen) all the way to Graham Pass where the Northern trailhead to the ridge is located. That area is not burned but between the South and North entry points there is a lot of areas with significant burns. There are also burn areas on the west side road (6355) which is a much more narrow, slower, road with views of the Collowash watershed and TBOTW Wilderness. Either of these roads can be driven on down to the Collowash River and then back to where it empties into the Clackamas.

It was interesting to see how much was burn and that some of the ground cover was making a comeback. Yellowstone came back form it’s fires in 1988 and assume this area will do the same. There are several areas with large log piles from the recovery work but saw no sign of log trucks or logging
Attachments
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Round Lake
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Some of the log piles
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Road 6350 East side of Rho Ridge
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Southern Rho Ridge trailhead

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christabrews
Posts: 85
Joined: August 12th, 2018, 10:07 am

Re: Upper Clackamas and Collowash

Post by christabrews » November 6th, 2022, 10:02 am

That is great news about the fishing in Round Lake! Were there a lot of other campers? I have not had a chance to make it there this year, but it's on the list for next year.

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