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Help me plan an amazing 1st Oregon trip
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Matt Keenan

Locale: In the Mountains in the clouds
Help me plan an amazing 1st Oregon trip on 04/23/2013 20:13:23 MDT Print View

Gonna be going on a road trip up to Eugene, with a lady friend early to mid June, we re going up to visit a friend. They're both down to backpack but neither of them have any experience, with it, so its up to me to plan the trip. I d like to do a two nighter like 15-20 miles something near eugene would be preferred but not necessary so hit me with any suggestions. Also I really don't know the conditions of Oregon in June, bugs weather ect. so any insight on that would also be very welcome. Oh and this is my first time backpacking with girls so any suggestions as far as things to bring that will make them fall in love with me/ make their trip experience more enjoyable (mostly the second one) would be very welcome. Thanks for your time.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Help me plan an amazing 1st Oregon trip on 04/23/2013 20:27:32 MDT Print View

June - snow level maybe 5000 feet so nice alpine areas are more difficult

Nice lower elevation hikes in Bull of the Woods and Opal Creek. field guide has some detailed descriptions. and trip reports as you get closer to see current conditions

June can be bad for mosquitoes and those obnoxious black flies. Make sure and bring long pants/shirt and DEET.

You want two women to fall in love with you? hmmm...

wine? cheese and crackers?

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: 1st Oregon trip on 04/23/2013 20:31:25 MDT Print View

I'm sure others will have more recent info, since it's been 30 years since Ihiked there but...

from Eugene, head up the Mackenzie river until you get about to the top. Park. Hike left towards Mt. Jefferson, or right towards Three Sisters! Enjoy!

Re: Women: Go at their pace, not yours! Don't push!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: re: 1st Oregon trip on 04/23/2013 20:37:38 MDT Print View

I don't know about the McKenzie River. You must mean McKenzie Pass, but the road will probably be blocked by snow and if you get to any of those alpine trails, there will be a lot of snow. Not a good choice for novice hikers you want to get hooked on backpacking.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: Re: re: 1st Oregon trip on 04/23/2013 22:15:43 MDT Print View

Actually, Jerry, I believe he is talking about the McKenzie River Trail. It's a 26 mile one-way trail used by mountain bikers. There is a commercial shuttle that can take you from your car at the bottom to the top of the trail and you can walk the 26 miles essentially downhill.

See for details.

I agree that the PCT at McKenzie Pass should still have snow going either north or south from the Dee Wright Observatory,

Nelson Sherry

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Help me plan an amazing 1st Oregon trip on 04/23/2013 22:25:23 MDT Print View

The two mountain passes out of Eugene are Willamette Pass (southeast) and McKenzie Pass (northeast). The old McKenzie highway will likely be closed into June or July (maybe open June this year), but the Santiam Pass cutoff from McKenzie is open year round.

Bugs will probably be pretty bad everywhere except maybe the coast (50 miles west of Eugene) in June.

Lots of the Diamond Peak wilderness area (on the south side of Willamette Pass) may well be open to relatively snow-free hiking by this June.

I don't know how much snow there will in up toward the Green Lakes basin north of Willamette Pass in the Three Sister's wilderness, but it would be a beautiful area to go if it is open. Call the ranger stations to get better ideas on when trails might be clear.

Also, there is a fair amount of hiking around the Waldo Lake area (down the hill toward Eugene from Willamette Pass) that might be lower elevation and more horrid bugs.

Women, well, my wife would say to make sure there is good bug protection (a full net enclosed tent, not a tarp), privacy (a tent, not a tarp), good food, low miles, and good weather. In other words, keep and eye on the 10 day weather forecast, and plan accordingly with a willingness to bag the trip for something else if the weather is bad.

That all being said, you can always make the trip a test! I sometimes wish I'd stuck to my guns and insisted on falling in love with a woman that passed all my tests in that she loved cooking glorious meals, would marry me on the top of a mountain, ski, climb, and backpack with me regardless of weather and etc. Alas, our heart seldom follows our ideals, and in the end, it's probably just as well.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: re: 1st Oregon trip on 04/23/2013 23:22:04 MDT Print View

McKenzie River Trail parallels highway, not treally a good backpack. Great views of river which is a very blue-green color.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
McKenzie River et al on 04/23/2013 23:33:54 MDT Print View

Back in the day, the McKenzie River trail was for hiking, not biking! What I meant was, follow the McKenzie River (via I can't remember which road out of Eugene, but the river goes right through Eugene) until you get up to the pass (I think it joins Hwy 20, but dang, this was 30 years ago!). Then go left or right (north or south) to the aforementioned beautiful places.

Yup, snow in June, even July sometimes it's still lingering.

I used to live off the South Santiam River, and loved every minute and mile of it!

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Help me plan an amazing 1st Oregon trip on 04/24/2013 05:55:53 MDT Print View

I know you are looking at backpacking options but I wanted to throw another option into the ring; if this doesn't work for you then we can chalk this up as yet another reason advice is free.

If the ladies are truly excited about backpacking then by all means go for it. If they are enamored with the idea but don't have much experience to work with, I'd keep the focus on short but sweet hikes where it is more camping centric. You get the best of all worlds where you can stop and smell the flowers as you are hiking and still have some quality time in camp where you can focus on enjoying each other's company. If you hike five miles into camp and the ladies have more in them, then you can set up camp and find a side trail to explore.

A 15 mile day to a BPLer is no biggie but many people have never tried this with a backpack and their feet/back aren't ready for that experience. Others are athletic enough that they will keep up like they've been doing it their whole life. I'm assuming that your friends are the latter but I just wanted to throw that out there for consideration.

"Near" to me is within a few hours and to others it's within a 1/2 hour. Don't know what your range is but it's only fair to consider the coast since it's within a reasonable driving distance and is so wonderful.

You will only be 1.5 hours away from Florence (sea lion caves) and 2 hours away from Newport. There are some nice opportunities for hiking/backpacking, tide pools, and perusing art/kite shops and ice cream parlors. If you like beer, the Rogue brewery in Newport is fun to visit; they also have a nice aquarium. While cold, the Oregon coast is a lovely place to visit and people travel there from all over for a romantic getaway. Almost all of these towns will advertise hiking opportunities on their websites. I've been on the beach in a hoodie sweatshirt in August so pack accordingly.

Either way have fun and good luck on your adventure.