36. McLain Gulch
Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. pp. 164-165.
What to Expect: An extremely rugged climb to a spectacular canyon overlook and pristine basin
Distance: 4 miles round trip
Elevation Range: 2,861-4,961 feet
Drinking Water: Yes
Best Times: Summer, fall
USGS 7.5' Map: McLain Gulch
Oregon Map Starting Point: Halfway
From Halfway, drive 9 miles east on OR 86 to North Pine Creek Road. Drive north 5.6 miles to North Pine Rest Area (Roadside Park on quad map). At the restroom, a dirt way goes east 0.1 mile to the creek, a good car campsite. Park between the road and the creek and out of sight of both. Wade the creek (summer is better as the roaring spring flow has diminished) and walk northeasterly 0.5 mile on an unimproved ex-road. It then turns southeast into an ex-four-wheel-drive trail that follows the stream bottom and peters out after 0.6 mile. Con- tinue cross-country due eastward and ever upward 0.5 mile on open slopes to the saddle at Homestead Ridge at 4717T on the quad map. Down and to the east is upper McLain Gulch, which has a fine riparian area of rushes, sedges, rose, and willows. It is so steep that no livestock have ever defiled it. Camping sites are available, or this can be done as a long day hike. It is not that long a distance, but it is extremely steep.