Rodda Paint PNW

 

On the way to Oakridge is the Hardesty Trailhead.  It’s located 15 miles west of Oakridge across Highway 58 from Lookout Point Lake, a reservoir on the Middle Fork of the Willamette River.  The Hardesty Mountain trail was built over 100 years ago for access to a fire lookout at the top.  The lookout is now gone, but the trails are still used for hiking, mountain biking, and trail running.

A 20-mile loop that summits Hardesty Mountain and Mt. June is the Hardesty Mountain – Sawtooth Ridge Loop.  This challenging offers 5500 feet of climbing, most of it on the way up to Hardesty.

Starting at the trailhead, climb among the old-growth trees on the Hardesty Trail #3469 for five miles and 3300′ of ascent to Hardesty Mountain.  The view is covered by some trees but look hard to find Lookout Point Lake.  The summit is .2 miles off the trail, so descend back down and take the Sawtooth Ridge Trail #1401 for 2.3 miles to Mt. June Trail.  This ridgeline is named after Sawtooth Rock located on the right side of the trail.

 

Hardesty Mountain Summit

 

Once at Mt. June Trail #1400, turn left for 1.1 miles to the summit of Mt. June.  At 3684′, this is the highest point of the loop and was where the fire lookout was located.  It’s also an out and back, so if the legs aren’t feeling it after the long climb, skip this part and continue right on Lost Creek #3462.  If you skip it, you may regret it later as Mt. June offers views of the Willamette Valley, the Coastal Range, Cascade Peaks, and on a clear day, the Crater Lake rim.  The out and back to Mt. June actually leaves the Willamette National Forest and into Umpqua National Forest.

Cascade Peaks from the Mt. June Summit

Once back to Lost Creek Trail, continue left for a tough descent of six miles to Eagle’s Rest Trail #3461.  Wildflowers will bloom late spring next to the trail.  Turn right as the trail turns to Goodman Creek Trail.  Follow it for another 3.65 until the Hardesty Mountain Trail.  Turn left and back to the trailhead.

 

Wildflowers on Sawtooth Ridge