Oregon Wild Hikes: Hardesty Mountain
Two suggested hikes near Hardesty Mountain- Eugene’s backyard wilderness!
Hardesty Mountain - Sawtooth and South Willamette Trails
Willamette National Forest
Difficulty: Sawtooth Trail – difficult; South Willamette Trail - easy
Distance: Sawtooth Trail is approximately 9 miles; South Willamette Trail is out and back
Elevation Gain: Varies
Season: Late spring, summer, early fall
Maps: Basic Forest Service map online; contact Willamette National Forest for additional info
About the Hike
Eugene’s backyard wilderness, the Hardesty Mountain/Mount June area has many options for hikers. Here are variations on two scenarios:
1. The Sawtooth Trail traverses the ridge between Hardesty Mountain and Mount June. It’s about an 8 or 9 mile round trip, so be prepared. You can start at either the Hardesty Mountain end (off of Road 550, see below), or the Mount June end (off of Road 941, see below) with side trips to the top of both mountains if desired. The view from Mount June is spectacular, but the old lookout site at the top of Hardesty is overgrown and not worth it unless you just have to climb mountains. The trail goes up and down through mostly 100 year old forest that naturally regenerated after a fire, and it offers good views along the way, mushrooms in the fall, and plentiful wildflowers in the spring.
2. The South Willamette Trail sticks closer to Highway 58 and offers some classic low-elevation old-growth. Start out on the Eula Ridge Trail, but take the first right to enter some great old-growth. After about 1.5 miles and the 3rd trail bridge, the trail descends into a canyon of spectacular Douglas-fir and western red-cedar. Enjoy as far as you like and then return the way you came.
The Hardesty Mountain area is a 7,000 acre inventoried roadless area – one of those Oregon Wild works so hard to protect and would like to see permanently protected as wilderness some day. During the Salvage Rider days of the mid-1990s, the Judie Timber Sale was planned on the flanks of Hardesty Mountain. Oregon Wild fought hard against this sale and, though some units were cut and a road was partially built into the roadless area, no roadless units were logged. There are no current plans for logging in the area.
From Eugene, take Hwy 58 toward Oakridge.
To get to the Hardesty Mountain end of the Sawtooth Trail, take Hwy 58 to a right turn onto Patterson Mountain Road, between milepost 24 and 25. Follow this road (aka Road #5840) for 5.1 miles to the summit, then bear right onto Road 550. Follow this unimproved road 1.7 miles to trailhead on the left.
To get to the Mount June end of the Sawtooth Trail, take Hwy 58 to Dexter Dam and turn right at a sign for Lost Creek. After 3.7 miles, turn left onto Eagles Rest Road. Follow for 7.8 miles to a fork, and keep left on Road 20-1-14 for 2.6 miles of pavement and then 3.5 miles of gravel. Turn left onto Road 1721 for 0.1 miles and turn left onto Road 941 for 0.4 miles to the trailhead on the right.
For the South Willamette Trail, drive Hwy 58 to just past milepost 24 and park by a sign for the Eula Ridge Trail.