Big Pine Interprevative Trails (Merlin, Ore. area)

Rating (Out of 5): 2.5

Location: Near Grants Pass/Merlin, Ore.

Distance: 0.6 miles to Big Pine Tree, many trails

Difficulty: Very easy

Camping: Yes

Quick hit: The Big Pine Loop Trail is a place to pay homage to everything pine. The four easy, looping trails take you among the type of evergreen forest that helps define Oregon's landscape.

The Big Pine tree itself, which provides the campground its name, is located .3 of a mile from the trailhead.

Throughout the looping trails of Big Pine Campground are a number of signs that help explain the forest ecology. The signs also explain the flora of this old-growth forest and the local weather patterns that allow the pine trees to grow so large.

The Sunshine Loop (.52 of a mile), true to its name, takes you into open areas in the pine canopy. Challenge Loop (.75 of a mile) takes you past a few small rivulets and around some downed trees, but still isn't much of a "challenge."

The area is ideal for a family outing. None of the looping trails are longer than one mile and there are plenty of benches to stop and rest.

Directions: From Merlin, OR, at intersection of Merlin, Galice, and Pleasant Valley Roads, take Galice Rd. 8.5 miles to Forest Rt. 25 sign. Turn left at sign onto Rt. 25 (Briggs Valley Rd.) and go 12.4 miles to campground on right.

For more info: http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/pacficnw/siscmp.htm#sam_brown

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