Four Oregon hikes put the wonder in winter wonderland
Story and Photo by Victoria Tinker
Bagby Hot Springs
Distance from CCC: 67.8 miles, 2 hours
Length of Trail: 1.3 miles
Parking Fee: $5 per person
Take a nice long soak in an outdoor hot tub at Babgy. This hot spring is located 67.8 miles from Clackamas Community College. It is a two-hour drive out to the Mt. Hood National Forest. The hike is more for experience than working out. The trail is 1.3 miles of fairly flat land, with the exception of a few hills but nothing a 65-year-old man or woman couldn’t handle. There is also a camping ground that’s connected to the bottom of the trail.
Bagby has many perks, one of them being that this is a great spot to hike at any time of the year. This hot spring really knows how to take the edge off in winter and in the summer you can take advantage of the ice cold Collawash River, about 7 miles NE. Once you get to Bagby, you’ll run into many magical treasures so keep your eyes peeled. One very magical treasure is the “fairy hole,” where fellow hikers leave goodies for wildlife or other hikers to find. There’s also a wishing well below one of the many bridges along the trail. When you arrive at the springs, you’ll see three bath houses.
One contains five single tubs and one community tub. The lower bath house contains three single tubs and one community tub. In the upper bath house located about 100 yards from the other two, there is one more tub for soaking in private. So grab your suit, a towel, $5 per person, a friend and go explore the Mt. Hood National Forest
Story and Photo by Cassidy White
Silver Falls State Park
Distance from CCC: 39.6 miles, 55 minutes
Length of Trail: 7.2 miles
Parking Fee: $5
Silver Falls State Park has many enticing features that make it one to visit year after year. The park contains multiple trails including a hike called the “Trail of Ten Falls,” which is seven miles long.
It embodies all that nature is. There are breathtaking waterfalls and soothing creeks that run alongside the trails. Trees soar up into the sky and surround you in their bright greenery.
Although you can’t always see the multitude of birds resting in the trees, you can always hear their small chirps. Silver Falls is alluring regardless of the season. In the winter, the surrounding trees and creeks turn white with the fallen snow transforming it into a frozen paradise.
In the spring, the trails are a luminous hue of green as the leaves shine from rain water. Although it’s not ideal to hike in the rain, it’s a natural wonder to watch the drops of rain disturb the surface of the water. The sound it makes is indescribable. In the summer, the springs serve a new purpose. There are deep water holes along the trails perfect for cooling off after a long hike in the sun.
In the fall, the park is unlike anything else. The rushing water of the falls paired with the trickle of the creeks creates an echoing symphony. The trails, rocks, logs and trees are covered in green, orange, yellow and red leaves. Regardless of the season, Silver Falls is sure to provide outdoor lovers with a unique experience.
Story and Photo by Katie Archer
Eagle Creek Trailhead
Distance from CCC: 48.9 miles, 52 minutes
Length of Trail: 4+ miles
Parking fee: $5
Escaping the city noise to be surrounded by the sound of rushing water, the Eagle Creek trailhead is a start for many different hikes. There’s also a fish hatchery, a day use picnic area and the Eagle Creek campground.
One of the extra trails in the area is the Gorge Trail that starts by a bridge and will lead hikers to Wauna Viewpoint. This trail is above I-84, so people can still hear the traffic but there are breaks in the trees, providing beautiful views of the Gorge. I didn’t go very far on this trail.
Distance for the Eagle Creek Trail will vary depending on how far someone wants to hike: Punchbowl Falls, High Bridge or Tunnel Falls. Hikers can even reach Wahtum Lake if they choose, about a 26.5 mile loop. The trail does get narrow at times and provides a beautiful getaway from the city. I went past Punchbowl Falls but didn’t make it to the High Bridge.
Be careful with valuables and identity information. With the trailhead being right off of I-84, it’s appealing to thieves. I didn’t experience any problems while I was there.
Story and Photo by Shaylyn Struna
Distance from CCC: 38.6 miles, 48 min
Length of Trail: 2+ miles
Parking Fee: none
Multnomah Falls is one hike that is a must for anyone, whether you’re a nature lover or not.
The trailhead is approximately 40 miles from Clackamas Community College. You can get to this spot by taking I-205 North, exit 22 to I-84 East and continuing until exit 31.
At the base of the hike is a historic stone lodge. The hike itself is a little more than two miles, round trip. The difficulty level is considered moderate because it has quite a slope. The elevation gain is about 700 feet. Starting on the hike, after a couple turns, you will end up at a stone bridge.
I actually thought this was the end, but if you pass the stone bridge and stay right, you can hike to the very top. The viewpoint at the top features a balcony of sorts to look out from, as well as other trails to a further hike. The paved path is a bit bumpy so you will need to watch your step, especially if it rains, which it always does. If you have asthma, bring an inhaler.
Also, expect the trail to be crowded. The viewpoints are definitely worth the hike. Not only is there Multnomah Falls, there are numerous falls, viewpoints and nature spots to stop off at on the way.