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|DOIN' THE DOUG - TRAIL GUIDES|
Santiam Wagon Road Trail System
Photos above (top) and to the right, courtesy of Thomas De Keyser.
| This page covers several trails or trail sections,
all a part of the old Santiam Wagon Road. The beginning and the end
of this group of trails are outside the boundaries of the proposed
National Monument, but portions of all the segments are within the
area of the National Monument.
The Santiam Wagon Road was one of the original paths across the Cascades developed for non-Native Americans. The road is perhaps unique because it was built and used to transport stock and goods from the Willamette Valley across the Cascades to the mine towns of Central Oregon.
The abandoned road (now the trail) runs along the South Santiam River, with several access points off Highway 20.
| Along the trail, especially near the river, you can see big leaf
maples and other moss encrusted trees.
Some segments have been restored for hiking and biking. The restored segment runs for over 19 miles. It is accessible at several places in addition to those listed below, including Forest Road 2000-245 (Burnside Road) 32 miles east of Sweethome off Highway 20, turn right and travel on spur 245 for 1.3 miles; and the Lost Prairie Picnic Area: 38 miles east of Sweethome off Highway 20.
The Forest Service site Santiam Wagon Road lists several segments reproduced here.
There are several campgrounds along the South Santiam River. In several of these campgrounds there will be a bridge or other opportunity to cross the River and intersect the Wagon Road Trail.
|Mountain House Segment
Length: 3.3 miles
The western trailhead is just east of the Mountain House former restaurant (now a private residence) 23 miles east of Sweethome on Highway 20. This trail starts outside the proposed DFNM, and travels along what is probably the most intact piece of the original wagon road. Most of the trail passes through relatively old second-growth forests, near to the mature river edge of the South Santiam River. This segment ends at a Forest Road that is identified by a derogatory name for a creek not used here.
Length: 3.3 miles
This segment goes east along hillsides of second growth timber, with some patches of old-growth. The eastern segment follows the original route of the Wagon Road. This segment of the Road caused problems in the first transcontinental auto race in 1905, when the cars had to drag tree trunks to slow the cars as they descended Sevenmile Hill.
The trailhead is at the eastern end of the segment. From Sweet Home travel east on Highway 20 for 30 miles, then turn right on spur road 2000-024. Sevenmile Campground is part way along the spur. The spur ends at the trail head. Turn right on the trail for this segment.
Sevenmile Trailhead to Tombstone Pass
Length: 4.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
This segment travels along parts of the old Wagon Road and some on newer logging roads. The trail passes through second and third growth trees.
You may catch views of Iron Mountain and Green Mountain along this segment.
This trail goes along the Santiam River and then Sevenmile creek to the east (up river) trailhead at the end of spur road 2000-024. About halfway along the trail, this trail is joined by a trail that takes off south of the House Rock campground.
The Ranger District recommends this segment for bike riders because of the logging roads that branch off to give more riding opportunities.
The trailhead is the same as for the Forest Road to Sevenmile segment. From Sweet Home travel east on Highway 20 for 30 miles, then turn right on spur road 2000-024. Sevenmile Campground is part way along the spur. The spur ends at the trail head. Forest Service site
The Sevenmile campground is on spur road 2000-024 about half way between Highway 20 and the trailhead, which is at the end of the spur road 2000-024.
The western trailhead of this segment is on the south side of Highway 20, just past the Menagerie Wilderness area (to the north of Highway 20). The trail segment “ends” at the trailhead just past the Sevenmile campground.
The Santiam Wagon Road Trail continues as the
Sevenmile to Tombstone Pass section (FS 3413)
Length: 4.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
This moderate to easy trail section, also referred to as the Snow Creek Section, runs along former segments of the Santiam Wagon Road and newer spur roads. Young conifer forests dominate the setting as the trail ascends to Tombstone Pass. You will be rewarded with occasional views of Iron Mountain and Green Mountain. This segment crosses the Tombstone Pass area.
Tombstone Pass to Hacklemen Creek Road
Length: 6.5 miles
This developed route uses existing forest roads to tie back into the original wagon road location east of Lost Prairie Campground. The Forest Service notes that this segment offers the most manageable terrain for vintage vehicles and wagons.
You can catch views of Three Fingered Jack to the south and the Old Cascades to the north.
From Sweet Home travel east on Highway 20 for 35 miles to the Tombstone Pass SnoPark.
Hackleman Creek Road to Fish Lake
Length: 2.2 miles
On this segment, you experience an intact portion of the Old Santiam Wagon road that passes through mature forests in the Hacklemen Creek area.
The trail passes through Fish Lake Guard Station. The Guard Station was a major stopover for early travelers on the wagon road. The last part of this trail segment passes outside the area proposed for the National Monument.
From Sweet Home travel east on Highway 20 for 40 miles, then turn right onto Forest Road 2672. Follow the road signs to the trailhead.