Pine Flat trail shows off natural and man-made wonders

Pine Flat trail shows off natural and man-made wonders

The hike into Pine Flat is one of the more popular backpacks in the 180,000-acre Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

The trail is a moderate six miles and leads to a dreamy meadow adjacent to a remote section of the Wild & Scenic Illinois River. In the summer, Pine Flat is probably the only place in the Kalmiopsis interior where you might actually see a person, or even a group.

But with a high point of about 1,700 feet, Pine Flat can be all yours this winter or spring as the transient...

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5 winter trails to get you ready for summer trails

5 winter trails to get you ready for summer trails

If you want to cover ground next summer on the Pacific Crest Trail, or climb Mount McLoughlin, or explore any of the numerous high-elevation trails in Southern Oregon and Northern California, it's a good idea to go outside and get prepared.
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Hike among fragrant myrtles beside a world-class river

Hike among fragrant myrtles beside a world-class river

The Wild Rivers Coast is conifer country.

The towering firs and monumental redwoods define the Southern Oregon and Northern California coasts. But a very important tree to the area's history is often overlooked, and it's got a few names: Oregon myrtle, California laurel, bay.

Check out one of the only preserves of Umbellularia californica at Alfred Loeb State Park, spitting distance from Brookings.

This park in the deep southwest pocket of Oregon was originally purchased by....

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Hike to Thunder Rock Cove can crackle or calm

Hike to Thunder Rock Cove can crackle or calm

Samuel Boardman was Oregon's first parks superintendent, and he built a career on the vision of securing the future of public places.

A road engineer by trade, he went on to negotiate with private landowners to donate or sell their property below market value for the greater good.

The culmination of his career came with the Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor. The park runs 12 miles along the Southern Oregon Coast between Brookings and Gold Beach and is one of the most...

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A moderate trail in a rugged wilderness

A moderate trail in a rugged wilderness

The Kalmiopsis Wilderness is known for its challenging trails. By default of topography, the routes are steep, winding, loose and rocky. And by default of economy, largely unmaintained.

Most people don't want spend the little time they can budget suffering, which is inevitable on the primitive routes that penetrate the Kalmiopsis's 180,000-acre core. But it's possible to get a big bite of Southern Oregon's largest federal wilderness area in just about five moderate miles on a section...

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Sweet little taste of the North Fork Smith River

Sweet little taste of the North Fork Smith River

The North Fork Smith River spills from the rugged Kalmiopsis Wilderness high country through a remote gorge defined by a geologic anomaly. Boaters come from all around to float the North Fork when the water level is just right. That's not easy.

Because of the area's volatile hydrology, they can't depend on USGS flow readings from lower down on the Smith. So the North Fork is suitable to run, for most, only when a homemade gauge near Gasquet, California, reads 9 to 12 feet.

Local.....

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Musings on a strange Kalmiopsis meadow

Musings on a strange Kalmiopsis meadow

The old backcountry trails of the remote and rugged south Kalmiopsis Wilderness are the stuff of legend. Tall tales of Bigfoot, strange mountain men, ill-fated mining ventures and carnivorous plants abound, and at least in the case of the carnivorous plants, some of the bizarre old-time stories are actually true.
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