Last weekend was phenomenal. The weather was perfectly Autumnal, with cool mornings and wonderfully warm afternoons. And we had the element that makes my heart swoon: sunshine. So much sunshine. It was glorious.
In hopes of celebrating the sunshine, we went out for a new hike. We’ve discovered that we’ve knocked out a lot of the local hiking around Eugene. And while I’m not against repeats, I was craving something new. And on a clear day like this, we really wanted to do something with awesome views, as those will be a bit limited in the coming months. You can check out everything exciting we’ve done since moving to Oregon under our “explOregon” tab.
After exploring a few options from William Sullivan, we opted for hiking Patterson Mountain. The trouble with using good ol’ William’s website is that he only includes an intro to each hike, and you need to consult his books to get the rest of the information. We don’t own any of his books, and I had to return all of the ones I checked out from the library during my William Sullivan binge a few months ago, but I figured we’d be fine without his advice.
Turns out I was wrong.
First of all, he doesn’t give you a clue where the Patterson Mountain trail begins, so after a bit of Googling, I found some excellent directions here. From Eugene, head south on I-5 to 58, and take that to Dexter. From Dexter, continue east on 58 for about 12 miles. Turn right on Patterson Mountain Road (between mile posts 24 and 25). The gravel road starts here. Go 5 miles to Patterson Saddle Intersection, and go left towards Holland Point Junction. Then keep right onto 1714. Stay on this road for 3.2 miles. Then stay left heading onto 5847, followed by a quick left onto 555. The Lone Wolf Trail Head is .4 miles farther on the left.
It took us about 30 minutes coming from South Eugene to get to the road leading up Patterson Mountain, and then another 30 minutes to drive up the gravel logging road. Warning: this road is pothole city (much like every road in Eugene, much to our poor car’s dislike), so be prepared to do a lot of creative maneuvering to keep your tires alive.
Once we made it to the trailhead, or what we’re assuming was the trailhead for Patterson Mountain, as it wasn’t actually labeled, we started what was supposed to be a 4.6 mile hike. In the end, I think we hiked somewhere in the area of 6 or 7 miles, mostly because I was in charge of planning this trip, so things were bound to go wrong.
We hiked through the forest for a while before coming to a split in the trail with this sign:
Now, I read a lot of trail descriptions that night before, and I vaguely remembered reading something about a shelter, so I assumed we should take the trail to the left.
Turns out I was wrong.
We hiked the path to the shelter, which was pretty neat. It’s in a area that looks like it could have been a little campground or something, with a little creek babbling nearby. We continued for a while from there, but we weren’t going uphill at all, which we figured had to be incorrect, as we were supposed to come to a point with views of the Cascade Mountains eventually. So after about an hour of walking in what we’re assuming was the wrong direction, we turned back and followed the path back to the trail split sign and tried the other option.
That’s the direction you want to go, folks. That’s where you get your view.
We hiked the wonderful Oregon woods for a while before coming to a spectacular view of some snow-covered Cascade Mountains. The mountains got their first snow of the season a few weeks ago (when those of us on the valley floor were wallowing in the rain), and goodness, there’s nothing better than a snow-capped mountain.
From this viewpoint, we continued hiking for a while, but got the feeling that this trail wasn’t going to take us back to our starting point, so we turned around and headed back the way we came. So if you do this yourself, I’d recommend just turning back after the awesome views, mostly because I have no idea where you’ll end up otherwise.
All in all, it was a lovely day to wander through the woods.