Taylor Creek Trail (near Merlin, Ore.)

Rating (Out of 5): 3.0

Location: Near Merlin, Ore.

Distance: 6.5 miles one-way; 5.5 miles round-trip to Minnow Creek Trailhead

Difficulty: moderate

Camping: Yes at Tin Can Campground

Quick hit: Taylor Creek Trail — also a popular mountain biking trail — is a long trail, following paved Forest Service Road 25 that dives into the area’s pretty forest, following the creek itself.

The best place to start the hike is Lone Tree Pass, the highest of the multiple trailheads at 2,600 and located at a sign and gravel road with places for parking. The trail is a long one, so you can either set up a shuttle and hike the entire 6.5 miles or pick a section and do an out-and-back.

The most scenic section for an out-and-back runs from Lone Tree Pass to the Minnow Creek Trailhead. This section of trail drops steeply (and requires a steep hike back up) through a lush and beautiful forest. The trail eventually reaches Taylor Creek itself. If the water is high, turn back at the first crossing — where you’d have to get your shoes wet or continue to Minnow Creek Trailhead, a parking area that interrupts the trail.

Directions: From Merlin, follow Merlin/Galice road about 9 miles to Briggs Valley Road 25, and turn left. Follow this paved road to multiple Taylor Creek trailheads along the road's left side.

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