All Results for: Buck Creek

Buck Check

I confirmed the Buck Creek area doesn't have much snow, but there is enough snow on the road to snowmobile, but no need to because it is driveable all the way to Buck Creek Campground. Some have been up there this week so it is pretty packed down and traction should be good as long as it stays cold. The inversion is going good so it is staying cold in the canyon but up top the snow has all melted off the trees and it is warmer snow. I ran into a lot of surface hoar up by Buck Creek Campground. Overall, nothing spectacular to report just that getting around with a vehicle and on foot is still possible at most elevations. Burger and China Cap didn't look much fatter and some ground was showing up high...  
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Snow Reduction

by Brian Sather — Posted Wed, Oct 18, 2017

Despite mine, and others, beliefs the mountain snow might be here to stay it has been coming off this week. Right now, it looks like a little refresh will come but might be followed again by some mild temps to maybe open up some high trails again next week. I observed the snow up on Burger and it is mostly disappearing. There was a little snow left on the road around Buck Creek Campground but it is mostly all gone now with the warm south wind that has been blowing off and on the last few days. Also, the tamaracks are now on up high!
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Squaw Creek Trail #1951 - Wallowa Mountains, Union, Oregon

This is an uneventful but awesome trail that shoots straight up Squaw Creek to the China Ridge Trail. The beauty is its simplicity marching through a low use area with direct access into a remote area. The climb is subtle and direct and makes good time getting up to some nice scenery. The trail is in good shape too. You stay in the trees on the west side of the creek until you cross the creek and the visuals open up as you work directly toward the saddle. There are some oddities about this trail though. The access is weird and there is no good parking space at the trailhead, let alone a good spot to turn a trailer around...  
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China Ridge Trail #1906 - Wallowa Mountains, Union, Oregon

China Ridge is a beautiful ridgetop trail with a nice view in all directions on the western side of the Wallowas. Burger and China Cap are the first peaks you get a nice look at, including the north wall of China Cap which is view-able on a good stretch of the trail after China Cap Pass. The trail serves as an excellent connector for a loop with Squaw Creek Trail and Elk Creek Trail or a more ambitious loop to North Fork Catherine Creek Trail. The trail starts off the Elk Creek Trail at a confusing intersection with no signage. The trail surface is in good shape given the limited traffic beyond China Cap Pass. Some use this trail to climb the peak and depart from the trail somewhere around or before the pass...  
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Tombstone Lake Trail #1943 - Eagle Cap Wilderness, Union, Oregon

The trail climbs wickedly right away on both ends of it, after you have already traveled several miles on other trails just to get on it, so by the time you get to Tombstone Lake you'll be digging your own grave. Once you set up camp though, you'll be over it. The lake is actually a series of lakes with interesting peninsulas and rock formations. It is a very nice alpine lake well worth the trip. Tombstone is definitely the prize, as the trail ignores Diamond Lake and completely disses Olive Lake. There some awesome waterfalls at the end of the trail though, more on that later. The trail starts off 7.5 miles into the Elk Creek Trail #1944, just after crossing Elk Creek after you've dropped down from Burger Pass...  
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Elk Creek Trail #1944 - Wallowa Mountains, Union, Oregon

This is a long up and over of Burger Pass that gives you a fill of the basics that the Eagle Cap Wilderness offers. At the pass you are greeted with a breathtaking view of the entire range. Then you descend past some lush meadows, Burger Meadow being the first. When the trail starts zig zagging down the flank of China Cap you actually hike over small waterfalls on the trail and then meet up with Elk Creek for a few crossings and then follow it straight down through the thicker woods to the Minam River. There you will find a sturdy bridge crossing the pristine Minam River and meet up with the upper Minam River Trail on the other side...  
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Buck Snowing

The rain immediately turned to snow from the sky when I arrived at Buck Creek in the morning and it stayed snowing some wet heavy snow through none and didn't appear to be letting up. The snow line was around 5,000'. It was just above freezing the whole time and the snow was softening into a creamy substance as I finished up a quick look around the openings above Buck Creek. ...  
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Three Degrees from Flagstaff

After an epic inaugural snowmobile day Sunday at Tollgate, we headed up to Catherine to check on the snow situation, to which we had mixed emotions. As we saddled up, the ODOT plow blew by without stopping in the Snopark as Brian tried to wave him in. There was adequate snow on the 77 Rd to get out to all the play areas. However, we were sadly disappointed to find 40 cm at the shelter. A few side hills were possible but the tracks were hitting the ground and stumps. At the top of Flagstaff Butte we found only 75 cm on the ridge. Our normal snow measurement spot looked bare with minimal snow, so we didn't even try to go there. We spent the rest of the afternoon going to Buck Creek...  
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Buck the Creek and Taylor not so Green

With a big winter storm approaching Sunday night, I decided to get out and check local snow before it hit. I tried getting up to Taylor Green to see if the warming shelter was in order but a slick road stopped me. Lots of people have been out driving on the road to Taylor Green (FS-77 RD) because it was a sheet of ice. However, there was 4" of snow where I turned around and more snow was coming down as I retreated. The SNOTEL was reporting 31° F around 2 PM. Since I was in the Catherine Creek region of the world, I went up to Buck Creek Campground to see what was going on there. I made contact with the local rednecks on their quads and side-by-sides...  
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South Fork Catherine Creek Trail

We don't have many mountain bike trails along a river in this region. Currently, this isn't one either, but it could be. This old road was scrubbed out and a re-vegetation process is under way along the South Fork Catherine Creek. Surprisingly, a singletrack trail has replaced it, but it is going to take some work to be rideable. The trail is mostly just above the old road and is a continuous track from start to finish, which would be a great downhill ride from the Sand Pass Trailhead area. I'm not sure how it got there since it isn't a official trail, but presumably it was formed by some free-range cattle or a cattle drives...  
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