This trip began to scout the snow level over 2207. 2207 was closed for a several years because of a major washout. When it was finally reopened Fall of last year, it snowed enough before I arrived that I couldn’t make it to the pass. This is drive 12 in the Oregon Byways.
The drive up Santiam Canyon is beautiful this time of year. With the snow melting you can really see where the name “Cascades” was coined. There are seasonal creeks and waterfalls around every turn, the water is really flowing.
Just before the town of Detroit, you take a left on 2223. Well before the 2207 junction, I hit snow. After a short distance, our progress slowed down to inches, so I turned around.
Actually, it was fortunate 2223 didn’t get washed out over the Winter. Just before hitting the snow, there was a debris field on the road that had notably undercut it on the downhill side.
So I started back down the hill and decided this would be a good time to finally check out Sardine creek. Wow, what a great surprise. With the water flowing so full, this is a beautiful place to explore. The first mile or so the creek is right next to the road, good clearance and 2WD is no problem. It makes a great hike with lots of good photo ops.
The road begins steep climbs, loose rocks and many water bars, 4WD required. Very enjoyable; great scenery, the roar of the creek, water cascading down here and there, and a trail that keeps you on your toes.
About 4 miles in is a junction. Stay left to continue up Sardine Creek. After about a mile of climbing it levels out. Then there are some big rocky water bars and the creek running across the road. Because we were alone we stopped here, did some hiking and turned back.
On our way down we took our time, stopping here and there to take more pictures.
Sardine Creek makes a nice day trip. If you have time to spare on your way back down Hwy 22, Niagara County Park on the Santiam River is a nice place to stop and hike around.