Dobbin Trail #1913 (a.k.a. Art Garrett Trail) - Wallowa Mountains, Cove, Oregon

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3.79 miles (6.1 km)

Total Elev. Gain:
1,152 ft. (351 m)
Total Elev. Loss:
-116 ft. (-35 m)

Max Altitude:
6,421 ft. (1957 m)
Min Altitude:
5,319 ft. (1621 m)
by Brian Sather — Updated 5 months 1 week ago · Posted Tue, Aug 1, 2017
I would say don't confuse this with the other Dobbin trail on the other Dobbin Creek a few drainages away, but that goes without saying in the redundant naming game of the mountains in Northeast Oregon. We could avoid this confusion by going with the "Art Garrett Trail" but the official status of this name seems to be resting on an unofficial looking sign nailed to a tree at the start of the trail. Other than that, I can't find anything about who Art is and why the trail has his name, nor can I find any official indication that is the real trail name. Several years ago I ran into an old guy roaming the trail near there, who indicated he had been hiking all of the trails around there. Perhaps that was Art, inspired by the definitely-official Jim White to get a trail named after himself. A couple books have listed "Art Garrett" as the trail name, but maybe because the authors went by what was nailed to the tree at the start. If that is all it takes to get a trail named after you, I've got a few ideas. Name issues aside, I really like this trail. It takes off from the Lakeys Hole Trail and follows Dobbin Creek to its beginning (kind of). What I especially like is how the trail matches the gentle and serene nature of the creek itself, and gives you several encounters with the water you follow. There are several meadows along the way where the water ripples and meanders like a good high alpine brook. There is only one steep section where the trail decides to aggressively get up to a bench but then it is back to mellow again for the rest of the way. I'm down with the trail retaining at least the word "Art" in the name because I think this is a well-created trail. Higher up, trail users decided to stick with the creek all the way to meadow it flows out of, to connect with the Lodgepole Trail there to make a natural loop from Moss Springs. This is a cut-off trail though, as the official trail crosses and leaves the creek about 3/4 of a mile from the top and follows an annual stream directly up to Cartwheel Ridge Trail. There you can go right to Lodgepole or go left and head up Cartwheel Ridge to the Crib Point Trail or Lackeys Hole Trail higher up. The trail junction at the very top at Cartwheel Ridge Trail is very difficult to find. There is no marking and no clear junction. While Cartwheel Ridge is well defined as a trail, you'll have to keep a look out for this trail entrance which is just to the north of a small meadow, less than a mile from Deadhorse Flat. I think the old trail used to go through the meadow but now it goes along the side of it and becomes more established and clear to follow rather quickly. It is just the entrance that is hard to find. I did find a flag attached to a tree branch that had been cut and laying on the ground. The trail is not as well maintained between the Dobbin Creek crossing and Cartwheel Ridge. The cut-off trail to Lodgepole seems to get more usage and if you are on that trail you can easily miss the creek crossing because it is all one continuous trail on the ground. Trail Notes
  • 0.0 mi. Trail starts just before crossing Dobbing Creek on Lackeys Hole Trail.
  • 3.0 Trail split. Very important to watch for an flat meadow where the trail comes very close to the creek, keep looking left for an opening and clear trail cuts on the opposite side of the creek. The official trail continues there after crossing creek. If you stick with the established trail you will miss this unmarked junction and end up going on the alternate to Lodgepole Trail. The bypass to Lodgepole is used much more. If you come to a meadow where the trail climbs steeply along a cascading Dobbin Creek to the left, you have gone too far.
  • 3.8 Arrive at Cartwheel Ridge trail near a meadow.

 Difficult intersection — 45.221520, -117.638390
 Upper Dobbin Trail Intersection — 45.215390, -117.626830

Dobbin Creek
Start of Art

After the first crossing of Dobbin Creek the trail heads uphill.
Steeper uphill section.

Trail kind of disappears across this meadow.

Another Dobbin crossing, with some pristine clear water.
Trail stays mellow through some meadows.

If you're here, with dobbin to the left cascading through the rocks, you've missed the turn to stay on official Dobbin Trail. You're now on the cut-off to Lodgepole.
Cut-off trail meets Lodgepole here in the middle of his meadow. This view is looking back at the trail, where Lodgepole comes in from the trees on the right and Dobbin comes in from the far left of this meadow.
Lodgepole trail is in the woods with some tree blazes straight ahead.
In this meadow the official Dobbin trail crosses Dobbin Creek. This image is taken after crossing the creek, looking back at where the main trail comes in and follows fairly close to the creek.
Official Dobbin Trail heads into the opening in the trees across from these old downed logs.
Official top part of Dobbin Trail is an old road.
Difficult to find, Dobbin Trail takes off into the woods here, on the north side of a meadow. Cartwheel Ridge Trail can be seen on the far left of the picture.
This meadow is where the Dobbin Trail starts at the upper end, but it stays in the trees just right of the meadow. This image taken from the Cartwheel Ridge Trail.