Oregon Desert Trail (Seg. 8): Abert S to Colvin Timber
ElevationAscent: 5,523' 1,683 m
Descent: -3,706' -1,130 m
High: 7,613' 2,320 m
Low: 4,697' 1,432 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 42% (23°)
Popular runs nearby
Oregon Desert Trail (Seg. 9): Colvin Timber to Plush
25.6 mi 41.2 km • Point to Point • 1,682 ft Ascent 512.64 m Ascent
Oregon Desert Trail (Seg. 10): Plush to Hart Mt. HQ
47.1 mi 75.8 km • Point to Point • 3,453 ft Ascent 1052.53 m Ascent
Oregon Desert Trail (Seg. 7): Paisley to Abert South
52.6 mi 84.7 km • Point to Point • 6,580 ft Ascent 2005.7 m Ascent
9.2 mi 14.8 km • Loop • 2,061 ft Ascent 628.18 m Ascent
Oregon Desert Trail (Seg. 6): Diablo North to Paisley
34.5 mi 55.5 km • Point to Point • 2,299 ft Ascent 700.71 m Ascent
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“The trail transitions from mixed conifer forest to open sage and juniper, and finally pine forest.”— Renee Patrick
Here the ODT follows the trail toward Swale Trailhead and Vee Lake to the north. The trail climbs through forest and open meadows along the slopes of Twelvemile, McDowell, and Crook peaks (see photo). Hanks Spring (WB122; murky water September 2011 and June 2013) is tucked into some dead pine trees on Twelvemiles north slope. As the trail goes along Crook Peaks east slope there are terrific views of the Coyote Hills and Hart Mountain to the north and east. The trail descends to the beginnings of First Swale Creek (WB125, creek water here) just before crossing a gravel road to the Swale Trailhead (WB126).
The trailhead itself is set back from the main gravel road, and the trail continues north above the First Swale Creek drainage and soon enters an area that was burned in a fire a few years back, which left many blown down trees across the trail. Through this area the trail tread can be hard to find, but in 2012 the Forest Service had marked the trail with orange flagging. After crossing two dirt roads (WB127 and WB128) the trail descends to cross Honey Creek (WB129), where exposed lava walls create a beautiful little canyon. After climbing away from the creek to the north, the trail passes through pine forest regrowth on an old roadbed, and there is a good view of the Fort Warner site to the southeast (see inset). The trail winds to the west and passes a marshy area and later several large rock cairns that lead to the south end of Vee Lake (WB131, see photo). After traveling around the east side of the lake the trail arrives at the small Vee Lake Campground (WB132; two free sites, pit toilet).
The ODT takes the brushy two-track road west from Vee Lake (WB133) until just after it crosses Little Honey Creek and turns north on a decommissioned road (WB135, creek water here). After about a quarter mile on this old road, the ODT turns west and heads cross-country uphill through thick forest to reach another overgrown two-track road at the edge of a large meadow (WB137). Heading northwest around this meadow, the ODT turns north and crosses a small creek (last reliable water until sources near Colvin Timbers) just before merging with a more defined two-track road at WB138. The ODT takes this road to the northwest, crosses Forest Road 3615 (WB139), and continues cross-country north-northwest through pine forest that soon opens up into sage and bunchgrass.
While one may want to head immediately to the rim for views, the ODT stays just east of the rim until WB141 to avoid the thick stands of mahogany. The trail crosses a barbed wire fence at WB140, and does pass through some mahogany after reaching the rim at WB141, but from there north the views get better and better. There are some cairns along this stretch of cross-country. The ODT crosses another barbed wire fence at WB143, and then reaches a prominent point (WB144) where there are amazing views of Lake Abert to the north, Hart Mountain to the east, the Warner Mountains to the south, and the Chewaucan Valley to the west. Here the ODT turns east and descends gently past a grove of aspen to meet up with a two-track road near Priday Lake (WB145; warm, semi-clear, marginal water July 2012). The ODT follows this two-track less than a mile to the north to Colvin Timbers (WB146; see inset).
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We need help with the following missing trail information:
Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background
Land Manager: USFS - Fremont & Winema National Forest Office