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Horsepasture Mountain Wildflower Hike

This is a fairly easy hike to the top of Horsepasture Mountain. Wildflowers are in bloom and from the top you can see the peaks of the Cascades including the Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mt. Bachelor.

From trailhead to the top and back is 2.8 miles and 900 ft elevation gain so this is a relatively easy one and we can continue afterwards on a hike along Ollalie Ridge if some people need a bit more hiking. Here's a map from Eugene to the mountain:

http://maps.google.co...

Meet 8:45 am in Albertsons parking lot at 3075 Hillyard for a 9am departure.
http://maps.google.co...

Please bring a lunch, sunscreen and appropriate clothing for unpredictable weather. We will need to arrange carpools on the morning when we know who exactly is coming. I have a pdf of the hike map. Just ask if you would like it and I will email it to you. sandor.lau(at)gmail.com. [masked]

We should return by approximately 4pm.

I have posted this to both the Hiking and Camping group and the Book and Social Club so you can get an idea of some of the other people coming by checking out the Eugene Book and Social Club page.

Here's the description from William Sullivan's 100 Hikes in the Oregon Cascades which is available at the Eugene Library and many fine booksellers:

Horsepasture Mountain
Difficulty: Moderate
2.8 miles round-trip
910 feet elevation gain
Open late June to early November
Use: hikers, horses, bicycles
Map: Three Sisters (Geo-Graphics)

Mountain views and wildflower meadows highlight the relatively easy climb
to this panoramic former lookout site perched on a crag between the Three
Sisters and the McKenzie River Valley.

Horsepasture Mountain was named by early forest rangers. While riding the
Olallie Trail from McKenzie Bridge to lookout towers on Olallie Ridge, rangers
often camped at the (since vanished) Horsepasture Saddle Shelter and let their
mounts graze the nearby peak's meadows. Indians, too, once visited this area,
drawn by the huckleberries that still ripen on Olallie Ridge each August. In fact,
olallie is the Chinook jargon word for "berry."

To find the trailhead, drive Highway 126 east of Springfield 50 miles to
McKenzie Bridge. Immediately after crossing the village'S river bridge, turn
right onto paved Horse Creek Road 2638 for 1.7 miles. Just after the Horse Creek
Group Campground turn right onto Road 1993, follow this one-lane paved route
for 8.6 winding, uphill miles, and park at the second hiker-symbol sign on the
right, at the Horsepasture Trailhead.

The trail begins amid a patch of coneflowers-odd brown blooms in the
sunflower family, but lacking petals. After just 80 yards, turn sharply left at a
4-way trail junction in Horsepasture Saddle. This path traverses Douglas fir
woods with white woodland blooms in early summer: vanilla leaf, bunchberry,
fairy bells, and star-flowered smilacina.

After 0.7 mile you'll enter lush meadows with white beargrass plumes, purple
aster, goldenrod, coneflower, and the boat-shaped leaves of hellebore. If the trail
seems faint at times in the meadow foliage, just keep going onward and upward.
The trail's 4 switchbacks are so clear they're hard to miss. When you reach the
summit's cliff-edge crags, you'll find 3 large anchor bolts marking the lookout
tower's site. The Three Sisters dominate the horizon to the east, with conical Mt.
Bachelor to the right and ghostly Mt. Hood far to the left. Below, displayed like
a volcanology exhibit, ancient High Cascades lava flows funnel down the great
flat-bottomed trough of the McKenzie River Valley toward the blue horizons of
the distant Willamette Valley.

Other Hiking Options
For a longer, relatively level hike from the same trailhead, go straight on the
Olallie Trail 3.2 miles. This route contours along Olallie Ridge to a viewpoint of
the Three Sisters just beyond Taylor Castle's saddle. If you've arranged a car
shuttle, you can continue another 2.8 miles along the Olalhe Trail to the Pat
Saddle Trailhead, described in Hike #68.

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  • Bill B

    Great hike with incredible clear sky views.

    July 11, 2010

3 went

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