Abbott Butte trek lifts the spirit

Abbott Butte trek lifts the spirit

If walls could talk, oh, the stories that the Abbott Butte fire lookout tower could tell.

The long-retired lookout is a remnant of a different era when a Forest Service flush with funding and purpose invested in administrative and recreational infrastructure on public lands and kept a sharp eye out for wildfire from remote peaks offering sweeping views.

Most of those old lookouts are long gone, but the Abbott Butte tower is still standing, although admittedly with a tilt that...

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Trail tenders

Trail tenders

MARIAL —  While working in the summer of 2005 as a caretaker of the famed Rogue River Ranch along the Wild and Scenic Rogue River, Gabe Howe explored a handful of old spur trails off the Rogue River National Recreation Trail.

"You could see even then how these trails hadn't gotten much maintenance," Howe says.
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Easy is good

Easy is good

The question I've been asked more times than any other is, "What are the best easy hikes in Oregon?"

It's not a simple question to answer, because some people love mountains and others love coast; some want massive trees and others want high desert. Plus, what's easy for one person might not be for another, and the location of the best easy hikes are often spread far and wide across the state.
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Scenic byway showcases colors of the Cascades

Scenic byway showcases colors of the Cascades

When my wife and I took a four-day trip to Central Oregon last week, our main goal was to see autumn colors. What we didn’t expect was the manifold forms those colors would take along the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway, the 130-mile loop from Sisters into the high Cascades and back.
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Scenic with a capital 'S'

Scenic with a capital 'S'

The historic Sterling Mine Ditch Trail is Southern Oregon's first state-designated scenic trail.
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New trails could garner scenic designation

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is taking applications for trails to be nominated as scenic or regional, as well as bike paths for the Scenic Bikeways program.
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Visiting Oregon Caves via Mount Elijah

Visiting Oregon Caves via Mount Elijah

The winds had shifted and pushed the smoke from the forest fires south. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and the day beckoned. We gathered that morning to load our gear into one pickup and then ourselves into two other vehicles. The plan was for Tom Gilley and Tom Murphy to transport our overnight gear to the Oregon Caves, where we would meet up with them after a long hike.

Those of us traveling to the Sturgis Fork trailhead agreed to meet at the Applegate Store before turning up.....

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View from the Butte

View from the Butte

Bear Basin Butte Lookout sits high atop a narrow mountain ridge. As my wife and I walk the steep path up to it, lizards scurry through the manzanita bushes. Swallows dip and glide overhead.
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Oregon's Top 5 wilderness areas

Oregon's Top 5 wilderness areas

Oregon has 47 wilderness areas. On the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964, outdoors writer Zach Urness shares his 5 favorites.
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Trails less traveled

Trails less traveled

The latest hiking book focused on Southern Oregon is called "Hiking Oregon & California's Wild Rivers Country," and it stands out from several other recent offerings in two important ways.

First, Illinois Valley author Justin Rohde has chosen the wild Illinois, Chetco and Smith rivers as his territory, a region that features many trails less traveled, several on U.S. Forest Service or BLM land that you won't find on official maps or in other guides.

Second, Rohde has made use....

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Backpacking is glorious in the

Backpacking is glorious in the "Oregon Alps"

EAGLE CAP WILDERNESS — As we stood on the top of Oregon’s largest wilderness area, looking down upon mountains that spread across the horizon like rows of jagged teeth, we decided the only way to celebrate was swimming in a lake partly covered by snow and ice.

From the moment we’d entered the backcountry of the Wallowa Mountains it had been hot, and during the 3,400-foot climb to our campsite at Ice Lake — and the even steeper trek to the 9,826-foot summit...

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Craig's Creek Trail delivers on its promise

Craig's Creek Trail delivers on its promise

The main attraction of the Smith River National Recreation Area in Northern California is, no surprise, the river itself. Its deep fishing holes, pretty beaches, and challenging rapids bring thousands of people each year to the remarkably green waters of this wild, undammed treasure.
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A solo summit of South Sister

A solo summit of South Sister

South Sister towered over me at 10,358 feet tall, and I couldn't stop staring at its reddish slope covered in patchy glaciers.
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Pilot Rock trail gets overhaul

Pilot Rock trail gets overhaul

ASHLAND — Alex Relph eyes a pile of basalt chunks that have sloughed off Pilot Rock over the centuries, creating a cache she'll use in the first planned route to this iconic feature of the Siskiyou Mountains.
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Tearing up the Trail

Tearing up the Trail

The 5,000-foot elevation drop from Northern California's Marble Mountains to Seiad Valley is a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail where nature gave Joe McConaughy all it had.
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Southern exposure

Southern exposure

The best part of writing a book about Southern Oregon is the chance to feature those wonderful places few people have heard of, let alone visited.
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Boomers on the Trail

Boomers on the Trail

For more than 20 years, my wife, Barbara, and I had dreamed of hiking the trail along the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River. In May, we made that dream a reality.
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Five years later, a trail re-emerges

A hiking route through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness is open for the first time in a dozen years, thanks to the efforts of volunteers from the Siskiyou Mountain Club who worked for almost five years to clear the Trans-Kalmiopsis Trail.
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A trip to the summit on a gorgeous day

A trip to the summit on a gorgeous day

It was the first day of summer, and we were being treated to an explosion of colors on top of Marys Peak near Corvallis. Brilliant purple and red wildflowers carpeted the meadows and clung to scant pockets of soil in an area known as the rock garden.
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Blossom by boot

Blossom by boot

Blossom Bar is a Class IV rapid on the Wild and Scenic stretch of the lower Rogue River that has taken the lives of numerous boaters over the years.
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June 22, 2014

'Meet me on the trail'

May 25, 2014

It's the small things

April 20, 2014

Wilderness guide

February 02, 2014

Lost in the City

January 26, 2014

Castles in the sky

January 17, 2014

Tree lovers' heaven

January 03, 2014

Snowshoes on the Mountain

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