Buck Rock Tunnel 11-30-20

Photos and Track by Linda and Randy

Six hikers gathered Monday for another new local hike to add to your outdoors experience. The four at Rite Aid met two more at the trailhead.

The Buck Rock region of the Cascade/Siskiyou Monument has yielded ample hiking enjoyment for a few prime hikers and for the rest of the AHG post Covid. This area of many uphill trails through forests with views of surrounding mountains is just a short 9 miles up Highway 66 from I-5. A right on Buckhorn Road then a quick right up Emigrant Creek Road takes you to parking 2 miles up on the left, at 3100 feet. Walk across the road and around the gate to the Buck Rock Trail going up.

Monday's hike was to explore the east and west portals of the old abandoned Buck Rock railroad tunnel project. A split off trail to the left off the main trail takes you up through the woods for 2 miles to the hidden east portal. You'll need an experienced guide to find the tunnel entrance. This side of the project was barely started and is a 30 foot dark pit. Still the hike up is very nice. On our way there we got about 15 minutes of rain/snow and learned the word groppel which in Southern Oregon is called corn snow.

Next we headed to the more developed west portal. Out from the pit entrance and up a short route to join the main trail at a higher level. Another 2 mile hike around the base of Buck Rock summit brought us to the 300 yard trail marked by arrows up to the west portal entrance.

It seems the proposed train tunnel would have been an ambitious one mile long! But when the OR/CA railroad ran short of money and asked the Chinese workers to continue on half pay, that ended the project as the workers walked out.

We arrived at the twenty foot high west portal at noon. In time to explore this side that goes about 200 feet back, take lots of pictures and settle down for lunch inside the entrance that sheltered us from rain.

After lunch we had a mostly downhill hike back to the parking area through a steady mist. This hike was 6+ miles with about 800 feet of gain. We arrived at the TH at 10 am and returned at 1:30.

Good hike & Good company, Rich

Ashland Hiking Home

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