Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Cummins Creek Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Revision as of 19:05, 1 January 2018 by Bobcat (Talk | contribs)

On the ridge, Cooks Ridge Trail (bobcat)
Toothed monkey flower (Mimulus dentatus), Cooks Ridge Trail (bobcat)
Thicket deer vetch (Lotus aboriginus), Gwynn Creek Trail (bobcat)
View to Gwynn Knoll, Oregon Coast Trail (bobcat)
Big Douglas-firs, Gwynn Creek Trail (bobcat)
The Cummins Creek Loop traced in red (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: USFS
  • Start point: Cummins Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Cummins Basin Viewpoint
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 9.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2040 feet
  • High Point: 1,555 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

The 9,000-acre Cummins Creek Wilderness has only one official trail that goes through it: this is the is Cummins Ridge Trail which bisects the wilderness by running the ridge crest along its spine. However, if you want to see the some of the massive old-growth spruce for which the wilderness is known, you’ll have to take another route. The official trails on the loop described here stay out of the wilderness, but an unofficial trail which begins near the trailhead will take you down into the wilderness and Cummins Creek itself. There are big Sitka Spruce down here as well as soggy bogs and confusing elk trails! To make a longer day out of it, continue on the regular trails. There’s one viewpoint, but also many more massive old-growth trees (Douglas-fir and western hemlock in addition to Sitka spruce), especially as you descend the Gwynn Creek Trail.

The trail follows the road bed of FR 1050 in secondary western hemlock/Sitka spruce woodland with an understory of salal, sword fern, and evergreen huckleberry. Dip to cross a trickling creek and notice side trails to some campsites on the right. About 350 yards from the trailhead, reach the unsigned Cummins Creek-Cummins Creek Wilderness Trail Junction, and go right down this trail.

The trail, lined with deer fern and also on an old road bed, almost immediately enters the Cummins Creek Wilderness although there is not sign to inform you of the fact. Descend the slope and cross a small creek to reach a junction. A short trail leads right to your first encounter with Cummins Creek: before reaching the bottomland itself, look for a more indistinct trail leading left – this will be your return if you’re doing the bushwhack loop described. You can continue up the creek on a user tread that swishes through large sword ferns and involves clambering over a fallen alder. The trail briefly becomes better defined before it turns away from the creek around a massive fallen spruce. Where the creek braids at a gravel bar, pass the Three Guardians, a trio of large Sitka spruce tightly lined up. You can continue to bushwhack past here past another fallen giant to reach an alder bottomland. Pass a big tree on your left and reach one more massive spruce lying prone. You can cut inland from here to the bottom of the slope, where you should find a longer rooty user trail that leads right above the creek bottomlands. Cross a boggy brook and climb over fallen trees. Drop to a boggy area and now, where the tread becomes much more indistinct and intersected with numerous elk trails, make your way towards the creek. Return along the bottom of the slope: this trail will take you back to the main descent trail. Make a right and ascend the slope to the Cummins Creek-Cummins Creek Wilderness Trail Junction.

Go right here on the Cummins Creek Trail, which rises very gradually and crosses a small stream. This is a silent old-growth woodland of Sitka spruce and hemlock. Divert from the road bed to cross another creek and suddenly notice that the spruce have ceded dominance to Douglas-fir. Alders line the road bed as you reach a ridge crest and arrive at the Cummins Creek-Cummins Creek Loop Trail West Junction.

Go left here to leave the road bed and ascend steeply at first on a very rooty tread. The gradient becomes more gentle and the Douglas-firs become more impressive, towering over an understory of sword fern, Oregon grape, red huckleberry, evergreen huckleberry, and salal. The trail dips on the ridge crest and then rises again past a trio of tall hemlocks. You’ll also notice western red-cedar here among more massive Douglas-firs. The trail undulates along the shady crest and then bursts out on a grassy slope with views across to Cummins Ridge. Traverse up this sward and reenter an alder woodland to arrive at the Cummins Creek-Cummins Creek Loop Trail East Junction.

Keep left at the junction and rise up a rubbly tread along the north side of a knoll. Come to a signpost advertising the Cummins Basin Viewpoint. Go right to follow this path behind the summit of the knoll to reach the Cummins Basin Viewpoint at an opening that affords a view down the Cummins Creek valley and out to the ocean. The end of this short trail is a few yards beyond this, but this old viewpoint has now been obscured by young Douglas-firs sprouting up.

Return to the main trail and go right to continue up the stony tread. The trail veers right at an old alignment of the Cummins Creek Trail and ascends to the bed of a former logging road. Make a traverse under alders and through salmonberry thickets and begin a gradual descent to the Cummins Creek-Cooks Ridge Trail Junction.

One road bed leads right out to the Cooks Ridge Trailhead; you need to make a sharp left to follow a gently descending gradient. Find yourself briefly on the ridge crest and then traverse on the south side of the ridge in secondary forest. Leave the road bed at a saddle, and make an undulating traverse among old-growth trees. At a massive hemlock, you’ll come to the Cooks Ridge-Gwynn Creek Trail Junction.

Go left here, and traverse down a lush slope forested by Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and a few cedars. Switchback and make a long traverse that will cross numerous small creek gullies. After the first creek, pass a huge Douglas-fir; below it there is a massive Sitka Spruce. There will be more old growth Douglas-firs before you catch your first glimpses of Gwynn Creek running below. As you get closer to the coast, the large spruces begin to outnumber the Douglas-firs. Pass a state park boundary sign (You are entering Neptune State Park) and enter a thicket of salal to reach the Oregon Coast-Gwynn Creek Trail Junction.

Go left to a footbridge to get your first close view of Gwynn Creek. Cross a grassy road track that affords access to nearby Highway 101 and ascend a salal slope on a rooty trail shaded by Sitka spruce. Drop down to the Oregon Coast Cummins Creek Trailhead on FR 1050 and go left to walk the last quarter mile back to your vehicle.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Cape Perpetua Scenic Area Map (USFS)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, Cummins Creek Wilderness, Drift Creek Wilderness, Rock Creek Wilderness
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Siuslaw National Forest

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Share Cummins Creek Loop with mountain bikes

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • Day Hiking: Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson
  • 75 Hikes in Oregon's Coast Range and Siskiyous by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Siuslaw Forest Hikes by Irene Lilja & Dick Lilja
  • A Walking Guide to Oregon's Ancient Forests by Wendell Wood
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Campgrounds Hiking Guide by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • The Dog Lover’s Companion to Oregon by Val Mallinson

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.