Leaves are turning to different shades of red, yellow and orange in the mountains, adding some extra color to Central Oregon Nordic Club hikes on Sunday, Sept. 23.
And one weekend route was already colorful enough – the history, that is. One of two mid-morning Sunday hiking groups – with nine hikers — did part of a route near Fish Lake known as the Santiam Wagon Road. This was a pioneer route across Santiam Pass that was built in the 1860s, used to move livestock.
“Unlike other wagon roads that were built to bring settlers to the Willamette Valley, this road was designed to lead settlers and their livestock eastward to the rich pasture lands of Central Oregon and to markets throughout eastern Oregon and Idaho,” according to a U.S. Forest Service history.
Many access points can be found along Highways 20 and 126.
There were “fabulous fall colors and great hiking temps,” says hiker Shannon Bergstedt.
The other mid-morning group, with four hikers, walked around Clear Lake.
“The day started out a bit cloudy, but clouds soon burned off and we had a brilliantly beautiful day, with amazing colors of vine maple, lava rock, sky and multi-toned water,” says hiker Shari Hogshead.
(Santiam Wagon Road hike photos immediately below by Bill Martin, Greg Wheeler and Shannon Bergstedt)
Clear Lake hike photos (featured photo above headline and photos below) by Shari Hogshead