Taylor Creek Trail (Southern Oregon) 07-Nov-2016

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

A few weeks ago, our local paper, the Medford Tribune, ran a story (here) about how the Forest Service, in collaboration with numerous volunteers (and with some artful grantsmanship), had been able to replace five bridges on the Taylor Creek Trail (USFS #1142).  This was a near miraculous story given that trail building (and even trail maintenance) too often seems but a distant memory.  So, of course, we had to see this miracle for ourselves.  Taylor Creek is a popular hiking and mountain biking trail in Summer (because it’s shaded and goes along the creek), in Fall (because of the colors), and in Winter and Spring (because it’s too low for snow).  We managed to miss almost all of the Fall colors and so, again, focused on the mushrooms, which were numerous.

There are several trailheads strung out along the Briggs Valley Road (Forest Road (FR) 25), which is 8.5 miles west of Galice and 12.1 miles west of I-5 (Exit 61).  The first trailhead is 3.1 miles up the Briggs Valley Road but, after hiding the bike at the Big Pine Campground, we returned to park at Spur Road 023.  This is a popular mountain biker trailhead and also one that would involve less uphill for me on the bike return part of this hike & bike. Spur Road 023 quickly connects with the Taylor Creek trail, which soon reaches the creek,

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Connecting with Taylor Creek just before Bridge #1

and soon thereafter crosses the first of the five new bridges. It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen a new bridge and it’s an impressive structure! We were much taken with the arched laminated main beams. It even smells new – like the inside of a woodworking shop. Ahhhhh…

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

The first of the new bridges on the Taylor Creek

For about the first four miles, the trail is mostly level and undulates only a little as it runs along above the creek,

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek trail

passes a junction with the Burned Timber Interpretive Trail (USFS #1148), and then crosses Burned Timber Creek,

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Burned Timber Creek

just beyond which a very short side trail gave us a view of the falls on this side creek.

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Burned Timber Creek Falls

We passed the site of the now closed Tin Can Campground, with its guard rail lined stretch of trail,

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Guard rails at Tin Can Campground (now closed)

and ambled on, mostly level, past the junction with the Minnow Creek Trail (USFS #1156), and on over the second new bridge across the main fork of Taylor Creek.

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

The second of the new bridges on the Taylor Creek trail

We continued ambling along, gaining some elevation but not much.

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Continuing along the Taylor Creek trail

We soon passed the third bridge, which crosses the South Fork of Taylor Creek to provide access to FR 25 and the China Creek trail (USFS #1130).

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

The third of the new bridges on the Taylor Creek trail

Soon thereafter, we crossed bridge #4, wandered through a dirt lot alongside FR 25, found the continuation of the trail, and then crossed the last of the new bridges.

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

The fourth of the new bridges on the Taylor Creek trail

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

South Fork of Taylor Creek

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

The fifth (and last) of the new bridges on the Taylor Creek trail

After the last of the new bridges, we passed two decrepid “camps” festooned with crap, junk, and derelict dwellings – possibly connected with all the mining claims posted along the creek. We think it’s way past time to repeal the now obsolete General Mining Act of 1872 and replace it with something more in keeping with the needs (and constraints) of the 21st Century.

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

A rotting camp alongside the Taylor Creek trail

After the last bridge, the trail swung away from FR 25 and started climbing up to Lone Tree Pass on two long switchbacks. Most of the 1,700 feet of overall elevation gain occurs in the 2.5 miles leading up to this pass.

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

The Taylor Creek trail climbs up to Lone Tree Pass

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Still climbing…

Southwest from the pass, we entered a drier type of forest, with more madrones in the mix.

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

The Taylor Creek trail southwest of Lone Tree Pass

This part of the trail gradually descends along the ridge and culminates near a four-way road junction just before Sam Brown Campground, about 0.5 miles down FR 25 from Big Pine Campground. About 0.6 miles before this end, the Big Pine Spur Trail (USFS #1154A) turns off to the west and goes directly back to Big Pine Campground.  Unfortunately, the (undated) USFS website said that this spur trail was temporarily closed due to hazardous trees.  Maybe not but we didn’t want to go a mile or so out of our way just to find out.  So, instead, we climbed up to the old road (FR 606) on the ridge above Big Pine Campground and then went directly downslope to the campground.  This was steep, but open, forest at first and then leveled off through some minor brush just before we reached FR 25.  After that it was a cold (yahoo!) bike ride down to the car and then a drive back to pick-up the LovedOne (we did this as a hike & bike but, because all the access roads are paved, it probably would have been easier just to use two cars). No views to speak of, but still an interesting hike (11.2 miles on trail; 8.3 miles on road with bike; 1,700 feet of elevation gain) and one worth doing just to see the NEW bridges (and probably worth doing again on a sunny day in early Summer).

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Our track along Taylor Creek, with bike return

And now, a medly of mushrooms…

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

Taylor Creek Trail Oregon

HOME

One thought on “Taylor Creek Trail (Southern Oregon) 07-Nov-2016

  1. Pingback: Taylor Creek Trail (Southern Oregon) 07-Nov-2016 — Boots on the Trail | Rogue Spirit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s