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Backpacker Magazine – August 2001

Hiking Oregon's Bull Of The Woods Wilderness

If overpowering stillness is your thing, try the old-growth forests in Oregon's Bull of the Woods Wilderness.

by: Rhonda Ostertag

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EXPEDITION PLANNER: Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Oregon

DRIVE TIME: The wilderness is a little more than an hour (70 miles) southeast of Portland.

THE WAY: From Estacada, drive 25 miles southeast on OR 224 to the junction of Forest Service Roads (FR) 46 and 57. Follow FR 46 south for 3.4 miles and turn right onto FR 63. Continue to FR 6340, then to a signed trailhead on FR 6341. The required Northwest Forest Pass ($5 for a day pass, $30 for the year) is available at the Estacada Ranger Station (see Contact below).

TRAILS: Bull of the Woods Wilderness contains some 75 miles of trail, with numerous route options. For a good weekend loop, start on the Pansy Lake Trail, hike over Bull of the Woods summit, then combine the Welcome Lakes and Mother Lode Trails to return to the trailhead (about 20 miles total).

ELEVATION: The wilderness ranges between 2,400 and 5,700 feet.

CAN'T MISS: A clear-day view from any summit in the wilderness.

CROWD CONTROL: Avoid Twin Lakes and the Bagby Hot Springs area, both of which receive heavy use.

SEASON: Lower elevations can be hiked from late spring through late fall, but prime time in the Cascades high country is July through September.

GUIDES: Hiking Oregon's Central Cascades, by Bruce Grubbs (Falcon Publishing, 800-725-8303; www.bookstore.com; $16.95). A Forest Service Bull of the Woods Wilderness/Salmon- Huckleberry Wilderness topo map ($3) is available from the Estacada Ranger District (see Contact below).

WALK SOFTLY: Bull of the Woods is in such pristine condition that one local ranger suggested it might be best to keep it a secret. Help preserve the wilderness by not making new fire rings or campsites and keeping all impact to a minimum.

CONTACT: Estacada Ranger District, Mt. Hood National Forest, (503) 630-6861; www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood.


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