Bull of the Woods Loop Backpacking

Salem, Oregon

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6 Reviews
4 out of 5
Backpackers who want a taste of what the Old Cascades used to be like will enjoy this loop through the Opal Creek and Bull of the Woods wilderness areas. The massive trees along Opal Creek drew national attention for many years as conservationists and timber interests debated their future. The battle was eventually decided when Congress officially designated Opal Creek as a wilderness and scenic area in 1996. In addition to cathedral forests, this loop hike features an excellent sampling of the Old Cascades’ other charms, including lots of blooming rhododendrons, view-packed ridges, small but scenic mountain lakes, cascading streams, and surprisingly uncrowded trails.
Backpacking Oregon: From Rugged Coastline to Mountain Meadow

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Backpacking Oregon: From Rugged Coastline to Mountain Meadow

by Douglas Lorain (Wilderness Press)

Backpackers who want a taste of what the Old Cascades used to be like will enjoy this loop through the Opal Creek and Bull of the Woods wilderness areas. The massive trees along Opal Creek drew national attention for many years as conservationists and timber interests debated their future.

The battle was eventually decided when Congress officially designated Opal Creek as a wilderness and scenic area in 1996. In addition to cathedral forests, this loop hike features an excellent sampling of the Old Cascades’ other charms, including lots of blooming rhododendrons, view-packed ridges, small but scenic mountain lakes, cascading streams, and surprisingly uncrowded trails.

© 2007 Douglas Lorain/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Salem
Distance: 41
Elevation Gain: 7,300 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 4-5 days
Season: Usually open mid-June to November; best late June to July
Local Contacts: Estacada Ranger District
Local Maps: Green Trails - Battle Ax (#524)
Driving Directions: Directions to Bull of the Woods Loop (Backpacking)

Recent Trail Reviews

7/1/2007
0

Great scenery, long stretches without water however. Do NOT believe the book about Silver King mountain trail...it is deserted, unmaintained, and downright scary. The "campground" is a flat area near a lake with no actual lake access unless you have a machete. Plenty of cougar feces there too. But over all, the lBull of the Woodsoop was fantastic. Old forest, mining ruins, scenery.


7/27/2006
1

Looking for a nice moderate, overnight hike? Take the Opal creek trail off of the Bull of the woods loop, heading towards Beachie Creek about 6 mi. you will find Cedar Flats. Ancient old growth cedars tower above a small grove of trees almost at the confluence of Beachie creek and opal creek. If the site is already occupied, there are 4-5 little places to camp along the way leading up to Cedar Flats. This is a perfect quick overnighter because it is only 12 miles round trip. It was nice to get away from the city lights for a night, as the stars lit the canopy of this beautiful old growth forests...some of the biggest trees I have seen in Oregon. We got to camp late around 6pm so If you leave earlier you will probably get a spot at cedar flats, a far more superior campsite than most of the smaller ones along the way.


6/5/2006
0

I could not complete this loop due to snow on the trail (first week of June). I turned around at 4000 ft near Beachie Saddle. I then walked back to camp upstream on Opal Creek. The trail to Beachie is entirely on an old mining road, so even with the 2000 ft gain, it was an easy slope and easy walking. The next day I tried reversing the suggested route by climbing up trail 3369 to Whetstone Mtn. This climb took 4 hours for only 4.5 miles. The trail has many downed trees and is one continuous switchback. A few nice views. I walked over some snow, but not much. I cut down and across the valley to Battle Ax Creek to head back to the trail head. There is NO BRIDGE crossing Battle Ax on Trail 3369. I found a tree to cross, but it was not fun looking down at the raging river. All told, I walked 39 miles in 2 days. The Whetstone Mtn trail 3369 is very rugged. Not an inch of flat ground the entire way. Some nice trees and lots and lots of water. I walked both days in wet shoes due to constant stream crossings, rain, and trails that are doubling as streams. I suggest going late summer!! On the good side, I saw only 3 other backpackers the entire time, lots of salamanders, snakes, and magnificant trees.


8/15/2005
0

The scenery is beautiful, lava rock was not friendly on the dogs, signs are a bit tricky (well marked, but you should get a local map) and we got lost, not a lot of shade, gets cold at night, the trail is deep and very noticable, day hikers on weekend.


9/4/2001
0

Bull of the Woods offers many miles of trails that a dayhiker or backpacker can use to create anything from an easy stroll to a fairly rigorous multi-day trip. There are so many trails and cutoffs, that a hiker could easily get mixed up and even lost if not careful. So, make sure that you bring your topo and have a plan going into Bull of the Woods. It's also a popular hiking spot in the area, so be prepared to stumble upon a fair amount of fellow hikers. There are, however, areas and trails that are less traveled than others -- so, if you like your solitude, like I do, then finding those spots is worth the effort. Most recently, I spent a short weekend trip in Bull of the Woods and found a wonderful spot that wasn't populated at all save myself and my hiking partner. The bottom line: Enough space and trails to spend days or simply hours alone or in the company of fellow hikers.



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May 2018