Headed out with Gregg and Jason from Pacific Northwest Adventures forum for some waterfalls and history. I did it as a day trip, while they stayed overnight for some more exploring. On Saturday we had a couple of goals; see some waterfalls, run the Noonday wagon road and explore the old Bohemian mine / town site.
The Willamette NF just west of Oakridge has many waterfalls. At this time of year, some dry and the rest is flowing low. Two still flowing and worth visiting are Kreuger Rock and Moon falls. The access is easy on decent gravel roads. Off hwy 58, before reaching Oakridge you take Deception Creek Road / 5847 up the mountain. Kreuger Rock falls is next to the road, definitely more impressive at high flow.
Moons falls is an easy 1/2 mile hike to reach, although the trail is loose in a few places. At low flow like this we were able to hike all around it. At high flow the spray soaks everything below making the rocks slick.
Next we head over to and up Brice Creek Road, then Champion Creek Road to a nice spot on the creek for lunch.
After lunch we head back down Champion creek road to the start of the Noonday Wagon Road.
The Noonday Wagon Road was originally constructed in 1896 for hauling supplies and equipment into the Bohemia Mining District. In about 6 miles it goes from 1,900′ to 4,600′. Crawling along in low-range on many long, steep, rocky sections had me wondering how wagons made it up and down the trail. Most of the way the trail is deep in the trees, hanging on the side of a cliff. It is very narrow, and I was happy for the compact size of my Sidekick. There are a few switch backs requiring two point turns, again, I can’t image doing a two point turn in a wagon with a six-horse team hanging on the side of a cliff.
Due to the tight switchbacks suits short wheelbase vehicles with good ground clearance and is not recommended for larger vehicles. It is suggested by some that the route be traveled one way only down hill due to the steep hill climbs. A winch is a must and the trail may not be passable when wet.
The views for the top are wonderful, on a clear day you have a 360 degree view.
We headed along the ridge to the base of Bohemian mountain and the old town site.
Nothing much remaining now; the only building still standing is the old store, which I believe has been rebuilt. Gold was first found in the area around the mid 1800’s, this was the richest district in the West Cascades. Here is the most detailed history I’ve come across:
At this point I head for home, Gregg and Jason went looking for a nice place to camp.
On the way home I was treated to a great sunset and the harvest moon just rising as the sun was setting. Too bad both camera batteries were dead; I missed some great shots.