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High Cascades Hiking Oregon Trip report Waldo Lake Area

Lillian Falls and Joe Goddard’s Old Growth Trail – 8/31/2019

As we continue to move closer to our goal of completing all of the featured hikes in William L. Sullivan’s 100 Hikes series of guidebooks (post) we have begun narrowing down the specific editions to base our progress off of. (For various reasons the featured hikes are a little different with each edition.) For the central cascades region we have decided to focus on the 4th edition from 2012. A few of the remaining featured hikes from that book are not part of the 100 hikes in the 5th edition as was the case with Lillian Falls.

It’s not always evident why Sullivan removes a hike from featured status and moves it to the back of his book (or removes it all together), but we thought it might have something to do with what he describes as “dangerous” potholes on the road to the trailhead. I checked with the Middle Fork Ranger District on the status of the road and the ranger there indicated that the road was fine for a high clearance vehicle but needed to be driven carefully. That sounded reasonable enough to us so we headed for the Black Creek Trailhead for the second hike of our long Labor Day Weekend.

We had planned on stopping at the short Joe Goodards Grove Trail first as it is located 1.6 miles before the Black Creek Trailhead on FR 2421 but we missed the unsigned turn (we saw the road but didn’t realize it was the one we wanted) and by the time we realized it we decided it was just going to be easier to do the longer hike first then end the day with the nature trail. We parked at the end of FR 2421 and took the unsigned Black Creek Trail into a second growth forest.
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Less than a quarter mile from the trailhead we arrived at a signboard where we filled out a wilderness permit.
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Just beyond the signboard we crossed a small stream and entered the Waldo Lake Wilderness
IMG_7881Looking back at the stream.

A few old footbridges remained as we passed through old growth above Black Creek.
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20190831_074449Not many flowers left but this one reminded us of fireworks.

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The trail climbed gradually for just over a mile to a switchback along Nettie Creek where we could hear the roar of Lillian Falls just upstream.
IMG_7946Nettie Creek at the switchback.

We honestly weren’t expecting much from the falls which was described as a 150′ series of cascades. The drops visible from the switchback were nice enough and about what we had expected to see.
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Working our way up alongside the cascades though revealed a much more impressive sight than we were prepared for.
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Lillian Falls was a worthy goal on its own, but at just over 2.5 miles round trip it was too short of a hike to justify the nearly 5 1/2 hours of driving to get to the trailhead and back so after thoroughly enjoying the falls we continued up the Black Creek Trail.
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The trail veered away from Black Creek as it began a relatively steep climb up a a ridge along Nettie Creek. We leveled out a bit .7 miles from Lillian Falls passing through a section of forest with rhododendrons.
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We crossed Nettie Creek on stones .4 miles later.
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The trail continued its fairly level grade as it passed through more forest before arriving at a rocky hillside where it turned north and began to climb again.
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The open hillside provided a view west and to a lesser extant south to Fuji Mountain (post).
IMG_7960SW view

IMG_7963Looking south

IMG_7967Fuji Mountain

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Just before reentering the forest there was a short section of narrow tread where the hillside appeared to be slide prone.
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There had been a dry creek bed below the trail but as we reached the trees we began to hear running water, faintly at first, but then suddenly there was a full creek in front of us flowing through the forest.
IMG_7972Klovdahl Creek

After briefly leaving the creek to pass around a small hill the trail crossed Klovdahl Creek.
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A fairly steep quarter mile climb followed as the trail gained 275′ via a series of switchbacks. The trail then leveled out a bit again. Instead of rhododendron this section was full of huckleberry bushes and a sooty grouse.
IMG_7978Grouse on the Black Creek Trail.

IMG_7981Huckleberry bushes along the trail.

We kept waiting to reach a purported downhill to Waldo Lake which finally arrived about a hundred yards before arriving at a junction with the Jim Weaver Trail which loops around the lake.
IMG_7983Heading down to the Waldo Lake Trail (Jim Weaver Trail)

Across the lake we could see the distinct summit of Maiden Peak (post).
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To the right along the shore of Klovdahl Bay the remains of an attempted diversion tunnel for hydroelectric power and irrigation.
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We considered hiking the half mile to visit see the tunnel up close but opted instead to turn left and head north along the lake to visit Green Lake. Green Lake is part of a 5th edition featured hike that also includes Elbow Lake. We had visited Elbow Lake in 2013 as part of our Waldo Mountain hike. (post)

The trail climbed a bit in this direction as it veered away from Waldo Lake to pass several much smaller, unnamed lakes.
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IMG_7995First lake on the left.

IMG_7997Second lake on the left.

IMG_7998A third lake on the left that was set back in the trees.

IMG_7999First lake on the right.

IMG_8005Ducks at the lake on the right.

IMG_8014Dry pond on the right.

After 1.9 miles on the Waldo Lake Trail we came to a junction with the Koch Mountain Trail where we turned right at a pointer for Green and Waldo Lakes.
IMG_8017Wide trail junction.

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We passed by Green Lake opting to visit the shore of Waldo Lake first and followed this trail downhill a third of a mile to it’s end at the lake.
IMG_8020Dry creek bed along the way.

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We sat on the rocky shoreline here for a bit enjoying the view of Broken Top and Mt. Bachelor.
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Across the lake to the east were The Twins, a peak that we hope to hike later this year.
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After the break we headed back up to the Waldo Lake Trail but first detoured to visit Green Lake which was a few hundred feet off the main trail to the north.
It was a nice little lake, enough so that it warranted a second short break.
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It was close to 11am when we left Green Lake and headed back along the Waldo Lake Trail. There was a marked increase in traffic on the trail now, but after turning onto the Black Creek Trail again we didn’t see another person, but we did get a chance to watch a pileated woodpecker for a bit.
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We stopped again at Lillian Falls which was now receiving more light.
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We then returned to our car and drove back along FR 2421 the 1.6 miles to the unsigned road (now on the left). We parked at its end after a tenth of a mile and took an unsigned path to a nice footbridge over Black Creek.
IMG_8124Unsigned start of the nature trail.

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IMG_8129Black Creek

Once across the creek the trail passes briefly through a former clearcut before arriving at a sign announcing the Joe Goddard’s Nature Trail.
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Just beyond the sign the trail split marking the start of the loop.
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We went left here but in hindsight it might have been a little better to go right based on the direction the signs along the trail were facing. In any case after taking the left fork we quickly came to another fork where a footbridge crossed Louisie Creek near a picnic table.
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We crossed the bridge and followed a path past an impressive old growth cedar.
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The path appeared to end back at Black Creek although there were some faint trails in the area. This was a bit confusing because the trail that was shown on our Garmin maps appeared to be in this same area, but we knew that the location of trails on maps isn’t always correct so we crossed back over Louise Creek and continued on the clearer trail which crossed a dry creek bed.
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The creek bed was followed by a large old growth Douglas Fir that a sign put at 217′ tall and over 118 inches in diameter.
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Even though our GPS track was not matching up at all with the trail shown on the device the signage along the route we were following told us we were on the right path. We continued on the loop and came to a log that had been cut for the trail and subsequently marked with Joe Goddard’s birthday and the year “1776”. A little online research revealed that this tree dated back to the year 1340.
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It was an interesting little loop (.5 miles total from the parking area) and well worth the stop.
IMG_8166Another picnic table.

IMG_8167Another big Doug fir.

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We ended the day having covered 13 miles, 12.5 for Lillian Falls and Waldo Lake and the half mile at Joe Goddard’s Grove. We were a bit surprised that the only people we saw were along Waldo Lake given how nice the falls were, but perhaps their out of the way location and potholed road keeps them a bit less visited. The only negative on the day was Heather getting stung by a yellow jacket at Lillian Falls. Those things are just mean. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Lillian Falls and Joe Goddard’s Nature Trail

One reply on “Lillian Falls and Joe Goddard’s Old Growth Trail – 8/31/2019”

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