A busy weekend provided us with a good excuse to cross the short hike to Bohemia Mountain off our to-do list of featured hikes. We had been putting this one off due to the 2:30 hour drive time just to reach the trailhead for what was listed in Sullivan’s “100 Hikes/Travel Guide in the Central Oregon Cascades” as a 1.6 mile hike. For a hike that short we would typically look for a longer option or additional hikes in the area to do the same day. This weekend a short hike was perfect though, in particular one south of Salem. We were going to be celebrating our nephew Tyler’s second birthday that afternoon in Lebanon so a quick hike in the morning was perfect. It was also supposed to hit triple digits in many areas so a long hike would have been hot even in the mountains.
We were still looking at 1.6 miles being a little too short so we decided to park approximately three quarters of a mile from the trailhead at a small pullout below the Musick Guard Station just before a fork in Road 2460.
We chose to park here so that we could hike down the road to the left to the ghost town of Bohemia City, once the center of the Bohemia Mining District, which formed after the discovery of gold in the area in 1858. A nearly level .6 mile walk down the rough (and private) road led to the old post office.
Bohemia Mountain from the road.
While the old post office is on federal land the road is private (no unauthorized vehicles) and so is much of the surrounding land where some mining still occurs so exploration here should be kept to a minimum.
Old mining structure from the road near the post office.
No miners were seen but I did spot a pika nearby.
We returned the way we’d come after visiting the post office keeping our eyes out for wildflowers. Despite it being mid-August we spotted quite a few different varieties even though most were well past peak.
Paintbrush, pearly everlasting, and some type of fleabane
Blue head gilia
After getting back to the road junction we started up Road 2460 (Sharps Creek Road) and took a quick look at the Musick Guard Station. Although not posted anywhere at the site the Umpqua National Forest Website still lists the Guard Station as closed due to COVID-19.
We then continued up Sharps Creek Road .7 miles to Bohemia Saddle and the official Bohemia Mountain Trailhead.
Mountain parnassian butterfly on pearly everlasting.
A lone lupine still in bloom.
Signage at Bohemia Saddle
The trail itself starts approximately 100 yards up the road to the left on the right hand side.
Sign marking the start of the trail.
The trail climbs steeply up Jackass Ridge just over three quarters of a mile to the broad, flat rocky top of Bohemia Mountain. It was already in the mid 70’s as we made the climb which fortunately was at least mostly shaded as it stuck to the west side of the ridge.
Starting up Jackass Ridge
Paintbrush and fleabane
The rocky ridge provided shade during the climb.
A lingering anemone.
There were a couple of openings to the east where views could be had of the Cascade Mountains. Between haze and the position of the Sun we didn’t get the clearest views.
The Fairview Peak lookout tower to the left with the Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor in the distance.
Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor in the distance.
Nearing the summit.
Mt. Bailey and Mt. Scott in the distance.
Mt. Bailey and Mt. Scott
Bohemia Mountain summit
There was a lot of space to explore up on the summit and despite the conditions we were able to identify Cascade peaks from Mt. Jefferson in the north to Mt. McLoughlin (barely and only with the naked eye) to the south.
Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack
Mt. Washington and the North & Middle Sisters
Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor
Mount Yoran and Diamond Peak
Tipsoo Peak, Howlock Mountain, Mt. Thielsen, Mt. Bailey, Mt. Scott, Hillman Peak and The Watchman.
We could also see Bohemia City’s post office below between the mountain and Fairview Peak.
Fairview Peak lookout
We returned the way we’d come, stopping to eat a few ripe huckleberries along the way.
A lot more yet to ripen.
We also found a few ripe thimbleberries.
We kept our eyes out for more pikas and while we didn’t see any others we did spot an alligator lizard and a lot of butterflies.
We were right on schedule for the birthday party when we started our drive to Lebanon but then things went off the rails. During the drive to the trailhead FR 2212 crossed two saddles, Helena Saddle (7.5 miles from FR 22) and Champion Saddle (8.3 miles from FR 22). At Helena Saddle we had forked right and Champion Saddle left but as we drove back we mistook Champion Saddle for the earlier saddle and forked left onto Champion Creek Road (BLM Road 2473). It took us a bit to realize we were on the wrong road. It became apparent when the road conditions became far worse than anything we remembered on the drive up and we also passed a sign that this road was not maintained. That sign at least gave us a fair amount of certainty that we knew which road we were on because we had passed the other end of the road on FR 22. It was signed for the Bohemia Mines but also warned that the road was not maintained and to use FR 2212. Call it stubbornness or stupidity but we were far enough along on the road that we just kept going and it kept getting worse. We did pass a couple of other vehicles parked at pullouts so at least in theory it was passable. Our Subaru Outback managed to make it through in one piece (which is more than I can say for our nerves) but it was not fun. It certainly isn’t a road that I’d take unless I was specifically looking to do some 4wd driving. Our little wrong way expedition added about 40 minutes to our drive so we were fashionably late to the party. Luckily Tyler didn’t seem to mind and we had nice visit before continuing home. Happy Trails!
Flickr: Bohemia Mountain