Briggs Creek Trail (near Merlin, Ore.)

Rating (Out of 5): 3.5

Location: Near Grants Pass/Merlin, Ore.

Distance: 8 miles round-trip

Difficulty: Easy/moderate

Camping: Yes

Quick hit: A fantastic trail past old mines, along a gorgeous creek in old-growth forest.

The trail begins at Sam Brown Campground, near the picnic shelter in a parking lot on the right. There is no official trail marker, but it's fairly easy to find. The trail hits a few creek crossings that can be tricky in winter and spring when the water is high. The trail follows the creek for most of the way, taking brief breaks on old forest service roads, and passing a few old chrome mines.

At about the 3 mile mark, Briggs Creek splits the trail. The only way to cross is to either ford the creek or bushwhack about 70 yards downstream to a large tree that has fallen across the river and makes a pretty good bridge. After about 4.5 miles, the trail hits another ford which makes a good turn-around spot for a pretty solid day hike. There used to be a cool looking abandon cabin here, but it apparently burned down in the recent forest fire.

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 Route 25 (Briggs Valley Rd.) and go 13.4 miles to Sam Brown campground sign. Turn right after sign onto Forest Rt. 2512 and go 0.2 miles to campground sign. Turn left at sign into campground.

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

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