March 17, 2013.
Hardesty Mountain Trail> Goodman Creek Trail > Eagle’s Rest Trail and back
13.5 miles | 2100′ ele. gain | 6 hrs.
Numerous trailheads dot the main road heading east from Eugene towards Oakridge. From Portland, it’s a bit of a haul, but from Corvallis, this is a fairly short drive. So we decided to explore the Goodman Creek Trail from Hardesty Trailhead.
Sunshine filled the morning. This was a welcome change from the past few days. We began on a muddy trail that passed through a corridor of tall trees. The trail had many ups and downs, getting us warmed up pretty quickly. We veered onto the Goodman Creek trail and began to spot the early bloomers: Indian plum, trillium, and what I think was snow queen.
Walking through the forest was pleasant and scenic. The creek rushed along calmly as the trail alternately veered towards it, then away, and back again. We crossed the stream twice, then started to gain a little more elevation. A few boggy areas were dotted with skunk cabbage. The moss and lichen on the ground and in the trees seemed to glow green. The moisture in the air settled on the surface of all the vegetation, making everything glisten.
It started to snow. I zipped up my rain shell and we pressed on. Eventually we passed by a stout 3-sided shelter that could comfortably sleep 4 or more people. From there, we knew we didn’t have much further to go.
The snow fell a little harder now as we made the final push to the top. We crossed a road and another parking lot, noting that some people could choose to hike to the viewpoint with little effort at all! The summit area was open and rocky. Manzanita clung to the clifftop. We savored a few minutes of views at the top before a couple of ladies joined us there. We sat to eat lunch, but the chilliness of the air bore through our skin and soon forced us to get moving.
On the way down, we passed several pairs of hikers who seemed to have no idea where they were, how long the trail was, or where they were going. “Is this a loop?” someone asked, 4 miles up this out-and-back trail. It’s hard to believe more people don’t get lost out there. Yikes.
Eagle’s Rest was a wonderful viewpoint hike with lots of access options. I thought the first few miles of trail was the prettiest, so taking the longer option was the way to go. The grade never got very steep, the forest was always lovely, and the flowers were just starting to bloom. Sure, the trail was muddy, but at least it wasn’t raining.
Since the trails around Oakridge are popular with mountain bikers, I’d avoid this trail pretty much most of the year. We only saw two mountain bikers near the end of the trail as we were walking out. They were on a short viewpoint spur so we didn’t really get in each other’s way paths. It was perfect.