PLEASE NOTE I HAVE EDITED THE DESCRIPTION -- This is a fairly short hike and followed by lunch at The Point Restaurant at Foster Lake. If the weather is decent we'll eat on the patio.
This is one you won't find in the books or on the maps, and it's a fun and interesting hike. East of Sweet Home is the gold mining region of Quartzville. After major mining efforts ceased, the three Aho brothers from Gresham continued to dig their mine tunnels and extract gold. In 1976 all three brothers were killed in one of the tunnels when their dynamite went off prematurely. At least that's the official story.
Two of their mine tunnels are accessible via a reasonably maintained trail. There is a third tunnel but I have not been able to find it. It is not a long hike, about 2 miles round trip, but has about 850 feet elevation gain. In addition, we will hike down to the ruins of their cabin site, for which there is only the faint shadow of a trail. When you see what all they did, it's fairly impressive. Also when you see the mess they left behind.
At the trail head there is crumpled and tossed concrete bridge that was washed out in the 1969 flood. It is also impressive.
On the way back we will take a short detour and drive around to the site of Quartzville, and witness the results of a modern-day con man. It is a short walk on level ground.
Not very difficult, a little steep in places, especially dropping down to the cabin site. Think of it as a 2 mile hike on a Stairmaster. No, it's not that bad. There is very minor rock hopping as we have to climb up the creek bed for the first 100 feet or so.
- Get to Sweet Home any way you can. Continue through town on Hwy 20.
- East of Sweet Home, turn left on the scenic Quartzville Hwy to Green Peter Lake.
- Drive exactly 29 miles until you see the washed-out concrete bridge to the left across the creek (the last 3 miles are single lane so drive carefully).
- Cross the good bridge and park. There is a nook immediately left after the bridge which is the trail head of the unmarked and difficult-to-find trail. It is also a designated campsite, so if it is occupied there is ample space on the right shoulder of the road as it bends to the right after the bridge.
Leave Fred Meyer ~9am. From Albany, Sweet Home is about 35 minutes. From Sweet Home, the trail head is about an hour, depending on how many pontoon boats you're following up the Quartzville Hwy. The goal is to begin hiking no later than 11am. We should be back to the cars by 2pm.
Due to the limited parking at the trail head, carpooling is highly recommended. We will meet at Fred Meyer in Albany for carpooling. We can also pick up add'l folks in Sweet Home at Safeway. As usual, tip your driver with gas money if you can.
Kids & Dogs
Not a dog-friendly hike, parts of the trail are steep and narrow. Kids 10-up would do OK, but the cabin site has exposed nails and probably some broken glass.
What you need
Mostly decent shoes.