Ever since the gigantic Biscuit fire in the summer of 2002, finding a family-friendly hiking trail in the Illinois Valley Ranger District has been a little more difficult.

Ever since the gigantic Biscuit fire in the summer of 2002, finding a family-friendly hiking trail in the Illinois Valley Ranger District has been a little more difficult.

Nearly a third of the district's trails have been partially or completely closed while officials try to determine the best and most economical way to restore them. The Grayback interpretive trail, in the Grayback campground near Cave Junction, is one of those special areas untouched by the furious flames.

Originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the trail takes its charm from the huge pines which cover the area at the junction of Sucker and Grayback creeks.

The 1-mile trail begins at a handicap-accessible restroom in the campground. It follows Grayback Creek across Highway 46 to an old CCC Guard Station with signs that recount the area's history. Bring binoculars for the wildlife viewing opportunities you'll find, as the trail loops back across a hill overlooking a tiny meadow. After that brief warm-up, head for the trails in the Oregon Caves National Monument, which is just seven miles away.

The trail is open year-round, but the campground isn't open until Memorial Day. For current information, contact the Illinois Valley Ranger District, 541-592-4000.