Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gale's Creek is Open !!

Gale's Creek is Open !!

Gale's Creek

Gale's creek trail (which for unknown reasons I think of as Gaile's creek trail) is open again !! It has been closed for a couple of years because of the wash outs that happened the same year that we lost our “biggest Sitka Spruce in the world” out on Route 26. They have been doing a lot of work on this trail. Last month I was out doing a pack test and the trail was closed because of blasting. And I could hear the explosions every so often. WoW !!

What I believe to be a blasted Trail

So I hiked out around 4 miles (to just before the steep climb out of the canyon and into the other watershed). It was very nice. An easy and beautiful hike.

To properly enjoy this hike, you have to understand some of the history of the area. Tillamook Forest (wherein resides Gale's Creek) was a vast untouched wilderness until the late 1800's. You couldn't even get to the coast (and Tillamook) except by primitive roadways (wagon train). But the Lumberman knew profit when they saw it and they came and did their thing. So everywhere you hike or look you can see massive examples of lumber work. Everything from 100 year old stumps, to burned remains, to current machine grid clear cuts.



The notch you see in many of these logs was where the lumber men inserted a long board. They could stand on this board to get up high enough to saw the tree above the gnarly parts caused by the roots.

see how much large the stump is than the live tree?

THe stumps become planters

Intersection of Gale's Creek Trail
And Storey Burn Trail

So, here are some pictures of some stumps along the way. These must have been cut from the old forest. Notice how they are 2x or 3x the size of the live trees. They were cut before the Tillamook Burn forest fires began. These fires occurred on a regular basis in the early 1900's . Gale's creek had been a center for logging and log transport. A huge fire was started there, reputedly by the friction of a giant tree being drug (by Steam Donkey) across other trees. Of course, the Steam Donkey's themselves were nothing but wood fired steam engines belching fire and cinders, so there was plenty of ways to light a fire.

Nowadays you can still find plenty of remnants of the logging era. Especially lengths of wire roap, used to build arial skyways to pull the logs to the road. For that matter, much of the trail we are hiking today is obviously overgrown logging road.

See how this looks wide like an old road?

You spend half you time up on the hill side with a nice view of the River.

A nice stand of Alder. Now thats different

Ah, there is the Clear Cut. 

I think a fun thing to do would be to camp at the Gaile's creek camp and then do as much of the trail as you can do. There are 2 trails to access from here. The Gale's creek trail to Bell Camp road, and the circular trail that intersects with Storey Burn road.

Both are fun. Both have plenty of water. Bring a flower identification book. :)

Lots of Maiden Hair Fern



Columbine was just coming out. Only a few plants on the trail


  1. I found our blog this morning and have been reading it all morning. I love your pictures and descriptions. I have a young son who is old enough now to try some longer hikes and you have inspired me to try Gales Creek this summer
    Thanks for sharing

    1. Marlena,
      thank you for commenting. I am glad you enjoyed my ramblings.
      Another thing that is great to do with children in the Gales Creek Area is the Forestry Center. Just down the road a bit more toward Tillamook. It is free and has great exhibits and some nice little hiking trails.

      happy hiking,

    2. HI Jon
      We stumbled upon the Forestry Center last summer and loved it. Thanks for all the great ideas and such wonderful pictures,
      Happy Hiking