Oregon

Mohawk Recreation Area

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The Mohawk Recreation Area includes a network of roads through interspersed BLM and private land in the Coburg hills northeast of Eugene. This is a fairly well-used area, being among the nearest public lands to the Eugene/Springfield metropolis. Some of the roads are paved fairly high up into the hills, and the main gravel roads are smooth and well maintained. There are many dead-end spurs which range from slightly more challenging to virtually impassible. Most of these spurs terminate with a fairly nondescript campsite in the woods, however a few offer some suprising picturesque scenes.

Thanks to the relatively narrow range of hills and the high amount of logging activity, whether you explore the more eastern or more western roads, there are frequent vistas to take in. On a clear day, the east side roads may reward you with excellent views of the Mohawk Valley as well as the Three Sisters and other Cascade peaks. Following the more western routes, you'll find roads carved into steep hillsides affording huge panoramas of the Willamette Valley and the Coast Range beyond. I didn't take many pics on my recent excursions through this area but will be heading back up there soon for more photos, to give you a better idea of what to expect.

Because this area is so close to a population center, it does seem to have a higher number of sketchy vans and dilapidated RVs camped out on the less-frequented roads. It's also pretty common to hear gunfire from time to time as target shooting is generally permitted on BLM lands unless otherwise prohibited by signage.

Head northeast out of Springfield on Marcola Road, and follow your nav to McGowen Creek Road, which will take you up into the hills. It's possible to work your way north through the hills and eventually find your way down Shotgun Creek Road, which will bring you back to Marcola Road - a nice loop to avoid backtracking with plenty of sideroads to explore along the way. If you want to get into some more serious terrain, this is where you'll find a few different staging areas for the Shotgun Creek OHV Trails . From what I've read, these are mostly motorcycle and ATV oriented trails, but there is a Jeep trail or two; from videos I've seen, these are likely beyond what the average stock softroading vehicle can handle.

There is quite a bit of private land interspersed with the BLM land, generally timber harvest use. Keep an eye out for signs indicating private property. In many cases roads may be passable, but please be don't venture onto the lands themselves, and be aware that you may encounter gates locking off roads that appear on your nav.