The Lewisburg Saddle Trail Area includes the New and Old Growth Trails to the northeast of the parking area, and the Alpha and Ridge Trails to the southwest. The Old Growth and New Growth Trails are a short hike from the trailhead on the 580 Road, and allow visitors to experience and learn about two very different forest types as they traverse through an old growth stand and a younger, more intensively managed stand. The Alpha and Ridge Trails are particularly popular with the mountain bikers and are accessed via the 600 Road.
Alpha Trail can be accessed from the 600 Road gate at the Lewisburg Saddle. The Lewisburg Saddle gates are located along NW Sulphur Springs Road between NW Lewisburg Avenue and NW Soap Creek Drive. The Lewisburg Saddle gate is home to an information kiosk with brochures, as well as a port-a-potty. To access Alpha Trail, follow the 600 Road west to Ridge Trail. Once on Ridge Trail, follow it to Alpha Trail. Alpha Trail is a multiple-use trail open year-round to hikers, bikers, and equestrians. Due to a large landslide that occurred during a January 2012 storm event, Alpha Trail no longer connects with the 620 Road. A fence has been constructed a short distance away from the landslide in order to keep visitors safe. Alpha Trail now connects the 810 Road to Ridge Trail. This trail is four tenths of a mile in length with a 94 foot gain in elevation. Although this trail is short, it climbs steeply and has many technical features, making it a favorite among mountain bikers. Research related to the third installation of College of Forestry Integrated Research Project (CFIRP) is located along Alpha Trail. This research began in 1989 and is ongoing. The research seeks to determine the effects of clearcuts, partial overstory harvests, and small patch cutting within a Douglas-fir forest. Fauna of interest along this trail include tall bugbane, an uncommon native wildflower. Tall bugbane flowers in the early summer and can reach heights of three to seven feet! Alpha Trail also passes through an old growth reserve. Old growth reserves located within McDonald Forest are low-elevation coniferous forests containing some large, 200+ year old Douglas-fir trees, as well as snags and fallen trees. Students and researchers study the ecology of these old growth reserves. Stop by and enjoy all the opportunities Alpha Trail has to offer!
Trail description by: Oregon State University College of Forestry