Oregon

Lost Creek - Bear Creek

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Heading off from the south shore of Lookout Point Lake, this excursion along National Forest and BLM roads curves through logging sites, up over ridgelines, and down along some pretty little creeks. This primarily Douglas fir rainforest is occasionally broken up by stands of big leaf maple, but wherever you go, you'll be met by the typical dense undergrowth of western Oregon wilderness. On a misty morning it can be a dreamy and ethereal drive, but this heavily forested area permits few views. Each curve you go around generally brings you yet another scene composed largely of trees, ferns and moss, except where recent logging activity grants you a more topographical glimpse of the steep and dramatic hills you're traversing.

The main routes are well-maintained gravel and there are a surprising number of paved roads, but exploring the unmaintained spurs and side roads can prove to be challenging and require a reasonably high-clearance vehicle, not to mention an acceptance of unavoidable pinstriping - the forest encroaches on these routes far faster than any infrequent passing vehicles knock it back. I found few surprises down the assorted spurs I checked out...most ending at extremely private but largely unremarkable dispersed campsites. Overcoming the obstacles of the spur roads themselves was generally more rewarding than whatever I found at the end of these roads.

The creeks are charming, with clear waters tumbling over dark basalt. It's worth it to stop, get out of the car, and stroll along the creek a bit, enjoying the soothing gurgle of the water, breathing in the pleasant, pungent scent of the forest, and just capturing a serene moment of the wilderness solitude.

It's also interesting to observe, over the course of a single drive, the various stages of growth and harvest in these timberlands. Completely barren recent clearcuts. Areas still raw with stumps but with scattered splashes of green, freshly replanted seedlings.  Hillsides replanted five to ten years ago, already dense with bushy young Doug fir. Towering stands of second growth that are ready to be logged again. 

I began my excursion of this area by heading south off Hwy 58 on NF 5833/Goodman Creek Road, which is along the south shore of Lookout Point Lake and, coming from Eugene, is just before you get to the Eagles Rest Trailhead pullout. (While this road does initally follow Goodman Creek, I believe most of my creek encounters were with Lost Creek and Bear Creek, thus my name for this excursion). As you work your way southwest along the twisting roads, you'll eventually go from National Forest to BLM lands. There are many little roads twisting through here and the route possibilities are endless, including, it appears, arriving along the north shore of Dorena Lake, but my time was too limited to stray that far. I eventually found myself coming down out of the hills and into (rural) civilization along Bear Creek. Bear Creek Road can be followed down to Cloverdale Rd in Creswell, where you can hop onto I-5 to zip back up to Eugene.