US Forest Service Guided Hikes
Numerous guided hikes are planned throughout the year from early spring through early December; each hike is based on a theme or specific attraction to meet a variety of interests. Whether you enjoy birding, rock hounding or identifying flora and fauna, there is a guided hike designed for you!
A partial list of special interest guided hikes are mentioned below, for specific topics, dates and reservations please visit the National Recreation Reservation System website at www.recreation.gov or call 877-444-6777 and inquire about hikes offered in Sweet Home or call the Sweet Home Ranger District at 541-367-5168.
- Over the River and Through the Woods Scenic Byway Tour: A series of easy 1/2 mile hikes in several locations as you weave your way through the Cascade Mountains; learning about cultural history and native flora and fauna.
- Cascadia Cave: Visit Cascadia State Park and hike a 2.4 mile loop to one of the most visually impressive archaeological sites in western Oregon. This cave is an American Indian petro glyph site considered to have the largest concentration of rock engravings in the state.
- Birding in Your Parks Series: visit different locales such as Sunnyside and Riverbend County Parks or Cascadia State Park to learn birding techniques and identification of resident and migratory species.
- Lean Your Lichens, Mosses, Wildflowers or Mushrooms: Hike specific, you will learn how to identify common species and why these organisms are important as environmental indicators. You will also explore habitat characteristics and conditions that produce the amazing array that return each year; includes identification of edible and non-edible as well as traditional uses.
- Outdoor Preparedness: Learn basic skills needed to survive an outdoor emergency including shelter building, signaling and how to start a fire (even in the rain!)
- Rock Hounding: Learn about the origin and identification of rocks. A rock hammer, hand lens and rock identification book are recommended.
- Winter Snowshoe Treks: Held in March, experience winter in the high elevations and learn about ecology and wildlife in an area shaped by a series of volcanic eruptions. Ability level specific, exact routes depend on snow conditions.
Guided hikes can be evaluated based on the trail ratings described below:
Easy: Trail is fairly level, may have short up or downhill sections; trail surface may be gravel or dirt. Hike distance is approximately one-half to two miles.
Moderate: Trail can be moderately steep with long up or downhill sections; surface may be uneven gravel or dirt. Hike distances are from one to seven miles in length.
Difficult: Trail can be steep and have numerous sections of elevation gain or loss over long distances; surface may be uneven and rocky. Hike distances are four to six miles long.
Most hikes are a half day long and participants should plan on beginning/ending at the Sweet Home US Forest Service office located at 4431 Hwy 20. Pre-registration is required due to limited space; to register for a guided hike visit the National Recreation Reservation System website at www.recreation.gov or call 541-367-5168