Buck Rock Tunnel 10-3-20

Photos by Barry and Liz

After a few postponements, we finally set out to search for the old abandoned Buck Rock Tunnel on Saturday morning. The Fab Four of Liz, Barry, Darryl and Rich made up the scouting party.

Driving
This is a local hike just a 13 mile drive from Rite Aid to the TH. Up Highway 66 just past Emigrant Lake to a right onto Buckhorn Springs Road. Then another right in a quarter mile onto a dirt road (39-2E-34, aka Emigrant Road), and about 2 1/2 miles up to parking on your left.

Hiking
From parking, cross the road and walk around a yellow pipe gate and head up an old fire road a 1/2 mile to a Y intersection. Take the Y branch to the left 1 1/2 miles to the east tunnel entrance.

We found this hike to be a real adventure as the old tunnel project dates back some 137 years and the approaches were overgrown and required some uphill bushwhacking. The east entrance to the tunnel went steeply down into  dark pit only about 50 feet deep. After two attempts to enter which included a fallen rock the size of a football, we decided to seek out the west entrance.

We started our search for the west entrance by scrambling up the hillside next to the east entrance to a road trail about 100 feet above. We meandered on that hilly trail for about an hour before we came around to the area that had the approach to the west tunnel entrance. Along the way, we caught a glimpse of the Buck Rock summit.

We made 3 or 4 failed attempts to find the entrance until we persevered and kept on climbing up through forests and shrubs to a rise on top that was the actual trail to the Buck Rock west tunnel entrance. A lot more work had been done on this side of the tunnel, with an entrance about 20 feet high and blasted about 150 feet into the rock. The tunnel project was abandoned when the railroad ran out of money and the Chinese tunnel crew walked out.

We took pics inside the tunnel, then had our lunch outside the entrance. We followed the trail down to the forest road and completed the loop back to the Y. We hiked 6.5 miles with about 850 feet of delta. The best parts of this hike were when we were on forested hill tops with views of the Cascades.

On the way back,  we took a refreshing break at an outdoor table at Caldera.

Rich

Ashland Hiking Home

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