Suggested Hikes: Crabtree Valley

Crabtree Valley: Crabtree Lake Trail

Difficulty: Moderate, requiring cross country travel
Distance: 2-6 miles, depending on access point
Elevation Gain: as much as 600-800 feet
Season: late Spring through Fall
Maps: You can find one at Nature of the Northwest

About the Hike

Some of the oldest and largest trees in Oregon - a truly spectacular forest great for fall mushrooms. The old growth surrounds Crabtree Lake that sits terraced inside a unique glacially-carved valley. The rock formations likely spared the Valley from fire, allowing the biggest trees to reach their current size and maturity. Given the remote location, you'll likely be able to enjoy the amazing setting all by yourself.

The Dirt

Crabtree has quite a history. The land was once owned by Willamette Industries and was on the chopping block in the 1970s and early 1980s. Dedicated efforts by former Oregon Wild staffers and many passionate forest advocates eventually moved ownership from private into public hands. However, public ownership doesn't always mean protection and Crabtree Valley isn't all off-limits to logging. Crabtree may be tucked away in a little pocket of the state outside Sweet Home, but the more people who see its amazing old-growth canopy, the less likely it will be that anyone will be able to cut it down.

Here's an account of finding big trees in the valley from author William Sullivan.

Getting There

Considering the labyrinthine BLM roads and the fact that Oregon Wild staff has had our own adventures getting to this magical place, it's best to contact our Western Oregon Field Coordinator, Chandra LeGue for directions She can be reached at 541-344-0675 or email [email protected].

Photo by Alan Hirschmugl.