OR, North Willamette National Forest Sunday Drive, 10/19/2014

We took a beautiful fall cruise through the mountains with perfect 70 degree weather, fall colors, great scenery and a few waterfalls. Unfortunately our friend got sick and was unable to join us as planned Sunday we missed the company and he missed some fabulous scenery.  Our basic route followed FSR 2207 from outside of Detroit up the mountain, along the ridges, then down into the Cedar Creek drainage and out toward Elkhorn.

The drive began with great views along French Creek. After the 2223 / 2207 intersection, the road began to climb. A little ways up we made our first stop for a short hike to Marten Buttes falls, which this time of year is a wet cliff side with great views.

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The drive over the pass is steep and looking out on the side of the cliff in one spot we were offered beautiful views.

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Once over the pass, you follow the ridges for a ways passing the trail-head for hiking to Phantom Bridge and Opal lake. The first plan was a hike down to Opal lake and the outflow waterfall. After surveying the strenuous 30+ degree rocky hike down, decided we didn’t want to work that hard and would save it for another day.

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As you follow the ridge, there are a number of small creeks which drain down to Cedar Creek

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For lunch we took an off shoot which heads up into the area of Stony Creek.

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After lunch, we headed back down and continued along 2207 for some beautiful forest scenery.

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Then we took one of my favorite off shoots up along Cedar creek. This section gets rough and dense in places with some nice small waterfalls.

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Once back on 2207 we continued down. For the next few miles Cedar creek is close to the road but out of sight for the most part. As you pass into the Opal Creek Recreation Area, Cedar starts to follow along the road and there is a nice grove of Alders with Vine Maples that were just starting to turn.

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It was starting to get late so we picked up the pace. The light was bad for pictures at Sullivan Falls, so we only made a brief stop. Shortly before the paved road at Elkhorn. As you head down towards Hwy 22, you get on and off views of Little N. Santiam river. Once on Hwy 22 it’s about a half hour drive home for us.

Other spots after Sullivan Falls worth stopping at are the Shade Cove CG bridge, Three Pools, Henline Falls, Little N. Santiam Trail (3338) and Salmon Falls.

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