Trail Exploration

Sunshine has been an enigmatic force on the North Coast lately. I’ve been falling prey to the ‘sucker holes’ (little patches of blue sky peaking out between the clouds and fog) and leaving the house with too few clothes, only to return chilled and wet with fog. But, there have been a few brilliant days bringing sunshine and warmth. I got in a few ‘treadmill’ swims in my back yard swimming hole where the river is at just the right current speed for me to swim against for as long as I desire. But the fog is teasing us and only giving us glimpses of summertime glory.

Saturday was indeed one of the glory days and I got a crack of 4:30pm start on a hike up Craig’s Creek Trail.

South Fork Smith River from Criag's Creek Trail

The Craig’s Creek Trail follows the north bank of the South Fork of the Smith River for a couple miles then heads up Criag’s Creek drainage, makes a hairpin turn and drops down the drainage till it flows out into the Smith. Though you can only see the Smith from one spot on the trail you can hear it the whole way- it’s a tease. The trail was under the canopy of young forest and laced with poison oak. The redeeming features were the mellow grade (good for running) and nice swimming spot where the trail ended at the confluence of the Smith and Craig’s Creek.

Confluence of Craig's Creek and South Fork Smith River

Sunday I ditched the fog completely by heading east into the Siskiyou Wilderness. I met up with my mountain climbing buddy, Feral, from Cave Junction OR and we made our way up to the border of the Smith River National Recreation Area and Siskiyou Wilderness to hike Doe Flat trail to Devil’s Punchbowl.

I was sold on this hike when I saw a photo of the destination: the closest resemblance in this area to an alpine Sierra setting. From the trail head we saw a prominent feature of the Klamath mountains: Preston Peak.

Preston Peak, Siskiyou

A few highlights from the trail:

Mariposa lily

Mariposa lily with pollinator

Granite Peaks

Granite peaks above small lake on route to Devil's Punchbowl

Succulent flowers

Feral and Haven

Pretending like we can't smell each other

Devil's Punchbowl

Devil's Punchbowl

2 thoughts on “Trail Exploration

  1. That Devil’s Punch Bowl hike looks lovely – how far is the trailhead from you and how long is the hike? Think maybe we could fit it in this weekend? Can’t wait to see you and check out the area!

    • It’s about 10-11 miles round trip and listed as 1.5 hours from the Gasquet Forest Service Visitor Center. You can see more info about the trail and it’s cool trees at:

      Click to access punch-web.pdf

      They call parts of it strenuous, but it’s really just about 1 mile of switchback steep hiking. The rest is pretty rolling.

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