Lookout Creek

Lookout Creek 

Willamette National Forest 

Difficulty: Moderate-Strenuous
Distance: 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet
Best time to go: June-August

About this Hike

The Lookout Creek Trail is located in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest – where research about old-growth forests and forest management has been going on for decades. This 3.5 mile trail is one of the nicest examples of a classic old-growth forest in the Cascade foothills along Lookout Creek, where the trail rolls up and down through towering forests and into cool, mossy groves.

About this Area 

Lookout Creek is an amazing example of a western Cascades old-growth forest, so it’s no surprise it’s part of ongoing research within the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest... Old-growth forests like these are rare after decades of over-logging of our National Forests. Forests like those at Lookout Creek store amazing amounts of carbon - important in this age of climate change - and help filter clean, cold water. Lookout Creek is part of an 8,000 acre unroaded area that includes the ridge above it to the south, and spills down the other side towards the town of McKenzie Bridge. Timber sales have historically and recently been proposed within this wild, never-before-logged area, which Oregon Wild has worked to fend off to keep the area intact. While the ancient forests of Lookout Creek are safe for now, many other forests in the Blue River watershed are still in need of protection. 

Getting There

1. From Springfield, drive east on Highway 126 for 44 miles up the Mckenzie River. 

2. Once you reach the town of Blue River, drive an additional 3 miles and turn left near milepost 44 onto Road 15 at the “Blue River Reservoir” pointer. Continue on this road for 4.3 miles. 

3. Directly opposite a large boat launch, turn right at the fork onto Road 1506. Continue on this for 2 miles of  pavement and then 5 miles of gravel until you reach a large intersection. 

4. Go right at the fork to continue on Road 1506 and the trailhead for Lookout Creek will be immediately on your right. 

Photo by Lauren Hillestad