Old Growth Trail
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.
Located in the Lewisburg Saddle area of McDonald Forest, Old Growth Trail can be accessed from the 500 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 Old Growth Trail, follow the 580 Road to the entrance of Old Growth Trail, which will be on the north side of the road. Old Growth Trail can also be accessed from New Growth Trail, which connects to the western portion of the trail. Old Growth Trail is a hiker-only trail. Old Growth Trail 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. Snags are standing dead trees. Students and researchers study the ecology of these old growth reserves. Old Growth Trail is just under a half of a mile in length with a 50 foot gain in elevation. Although the area surrounding Old Growth Trail was logged historically, the trees in the valley where the trail is located were not harvested due to the steepness of the valley. Although steep, the trail has been developed with rails, stairs, and bridges to make it more accessible. This trail provides visitors with the opportunity to marvel at some of the biggest trees within McDonald Forest. Interpretation is located along this trail and provides further information regarding old growth forests. Other 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. The old growth characteristics observed along the trail are typical of the locations spotted owls inhabit. Currently, the spotted owl is listed on the threatened species list. A hike along this trail offers visitors the rare opportunity to explore an old growth forest community. Make time to hike this trail and immerse yourself in the wonder and awe created by big trees!
Trail description by: Oregon State University College of Forestry