Above Cougar Reservoir: King Castle Trail

A new hiking buddy and I decided to head up to Cougar Reservoir for a good day hike. Originally, the plan was to drive further along the reservoir and start at the Echo Trailhead and hike up to Castle Rock. On the drive there, we discovered a closer trailhead (a trail named King Castle). The drive ended up being <60 minutes door to TH.

Hike = June 28, 2024.

The trail

Trail conditions were great! Soft forest duff cover almost the entire way up. The entire trail except the last 100 yards or so is under heavy tree cover – reminded me of Fuji Mt. At the trailhead, a MTB couple was getting a shuttle to the top for a ride down, but we never saw them again, nor any other hikers. The trial, however, is a mixed use trail, and one needs to expect MTBs.

This is a close-in drive from Eugene, and gives access to all the trails on the east side of the reservoir via the Castle Rock trail. This trailhead will get used in near future for sure.

Looking Out

At the top of the rock, of course there is a communications tower.

From the top, the recent Holiday Fire is clearly visible. This photo looks west down the McKenzie River valley – all that isn’t green was burnt.

Looking east, however, is a completely different view. Snow is melting fast, and the low snow on North Sister is remarkable.

Flowers and friends

Flowers were blooming at different spots along the way, ground cover, bushes, and fungi. These were some of the more odd.

With the flowers, several friends came out at the top of the rock to get a lunch with us.

Data Geek Corner

We started around 8:00am and the trail winds upward through quiet middle aged forests with very soft trails. For the most part, it’s up and then down. We went almost 14 miles, but seemed much faster.

  • Carbon Karma: 2 hours driving = 6 hours hiking objective
    • Actual: 5.0 hours moving
    • Bank: -1 hours
  • Hike times: start 8:00 end 13:00 (rounded)
  • Length: 13.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2,711
  • Pace: 22:42 min / mile, stopped time 21m:39s
  • Weather: Sunny, 55-75 degrees
  • Description: trekking poles, non-solo, smallest gear kit – out / back (up / down)

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