9.2 miles, 700ftgain/1834ft loss, fitbit data: 23,750 steps. Up and at em, and on the trail by 7:30am, for we have a long drive ahead of us. Back around the lake, we take the Broken Top trail again, but this time, at mile 4.15, we turn right onto the Soda Springs trail, which will take us back to the trailhead. Again, we run into lots of trail runners, no doubt up early to avoid running in the afternoon heat. The Soda Springs trail starts out nice and level, and near the trail junction, affords breath taking, wide open views across to Broken Top and the South Sister, all in one panorama. Very beautiful, for sure. After that, it begins a downhill descent, first through switchbacks across hillside meadows, with lots of flowers before descending into the firs below.
“…not even worthy of a picture…”
Now, it just becomes a mindless slog through trees back to the car. We came this way to complete a loop, thinking there might be something interesting to see, like the Soda Springs falls that was noted on the map. But, when we reached the falls, at mile 6.5, I was hugely disappointed. There were bigger and prettier falls on the way in, on Fall Creek, than this. It just kind of squeezed it’s way around a giant boulder here in a bed in the creek ,not even worthy of a picture…The slog continues over trail that noticeably doesn’t get the foot traffic the way in did, and we understand why, as there isn’t much to see. Unless you’re into trees, then there are lots of those. At mile 7.6 we come to a huge meadow with the stream running along its edge, and the way to the car now is mostly flat. As boredom and sore legs and shins begin to set in, we’re both ready for the hike to be over.
At mile 8.2 the trail skirts a lava field, providing something interesting to look at to break up the monotony…Then, finally, we emerge out of the trees, into a completely full parking lot.
So proud of Maria, this is her first 3 day trek, and she did excellent! All those countless hours in the gym have really paid off, hope she’s looking forward to the next one!
“…Raw and colorful with the different layers of striation, and varied ribbons of color…”
A great hike for introducing someone to backpacking for the trails are good, and well maintained, easy to follow and the first two days, lots to see. It is definitely worthy to trek over and see Broken Top, a very scenic and beautiful example of what’s to love about Central Oregon. Raw and colorful with the different layers of striation, and varied ribbons of color, some so vibrant it’s hard not to think of them as having been painted.
A worthy hike, but if I were to do it over again, skip the Soda Springs trail….Unless you’re into trees…Lots and lots of trees…