MYRTLE CREEK PACK TRIALS
The Myrtle Creek Trailhead is reached via paved forest service road. Parking at the trailhead is limited but can accommodate pickups with trailers. To reach the trailhead travel north from Burns on US Highway 395 approximately 16 miles to Forest Service road 31. Travel west on the 31 road to Forest Service spur road 3100-226. The trailhead is located at the end of the spur road. A Printable map of the trail is available at Myrtle Creek Trail, Malheur National Forest.
Myrtle Creek Trail is located on the Malheur National Forest about 30 miles north of Burns. The pack trial courses are centered around scenic Myrtle Creek as it flows through grassy ponderosa pine forest in a deep canyon. The trials use Myrtle Creek Trail, well-defined elk trails, and old logging trails and roads. Elevation at the trailhead is 5400 feet.
While the Basic and Advanced trials stay at lower elevations along the creek, the Master and Extreme climb to about 6000 feet. Despite what may seem like high elevations to some, this is not an alpine zone. All trials remain well within the ponderosa pine ecosystem.
The map at left shows topograpy and routes used by the courses.
The Myrtle Creek Basic Course follows a maintained hiking trail along Myrtle Creek from the trail head to the creek crossing and back. Lunch is generally taken at the flowery meadow near the crossing. Elevation loss and gain is 400 feet. Elevation at the trailhead is 5388 feet while the creek crossing lies at 5054 feet. The trail drops to the creek crossing via two inclines of about 190 feet each with relatively gentle grades of nine to fourteen percent. The course length is three miles.
The Myrtle Creek Advanced Course also follows along Myrtle Creek to the crossing and back but it continues farther as well as climbing away from the creek via the West Myrtle Trail. The entire length is on maintained Forest Service hiking trail. The steepest climb is about 0.2 miles at a 17% grade. The highest elevation reached is 5420 feet. Total distance is five miles with a total elevation loss and gain of about 850 feet.
The Myrtle Creek Master Course climbs out of the canyon and well away from Myrtle Creek. It uses cross country routes, old logging roads and elk trails as well as the forest service hiking trail. The route includes a visit to scenic Crane Flat and an interesting juniper scabland. The highest elevation reached lies at 6000 feet while the lowest is at about 4990 feet. The longest single climb is about 900 feet across a third of a mile at a 16% grade. Total distance is about 8.25 miles while total elevation loss and gain is just over 1500 feet.
The Myrtle Creek Extreme Course follows most of the Masters course, but when the Masters return to the trailhead via the Myrtle Creek trail, the Extreme candidates continue downstream along Myrtle Creek before crossing the creek and adding another hill climb. This final loop of the route is almost all either cross-country or on elk trails. The high elevation reached is the same as for the Master's at 6000 feet. The lowest elevation is about 4975 feet. The added long incline climbs 780 feet in about half a mile at a 16% grade. Total elevation loss and gain is just over 2500 feet while the total length of the course is about 10.5 miles
BECKY'S BACKYARD PACK TRIALS
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For more information contact Anne Sheeter at email@example.com or (541) 573-2628