This loop uses several different trails to take a tour of the Coastal Range crest ecosystems, from old growth mossy spruces, to recently cut wildflower meadows, to Douglas fir plantations. The trail includes the beautiful University Falls and crosses ATV or Motorbike trails and state forest roads several times. The elevation change is gradual enough to make the trail feel relatively easy for most of its length and it's a great way to spend an afternoon (4-5 hours) in the forest.
Rogers Camp Trailhead is a busy OHV area with a vault toilet.
Some areas areas are seasonally muddy, rocky, or root-y, but overall this would be a good trail for running.
To follow a loop on the Historic Hiking Loop begin at Rogers Camp Trailhead. The Nels Rogers Trail
begins here and heads uphill into the forest. This 1.6 mile trail passes through forest planted in 1949. After crossing Beaver Dam Road near the 1.3 mile mark, the trail reaches a steep switchback on the banks of the Devil's Lake Fork of the Wilson River. Continue down to Deyoe Creek Trailhead along a steep, rocky trail.
Cross the bridge on the state forest road and the Deyoe Creek Trailhead will be on the left. Visitors will travel through a dense, mossy forest and meet Beaver Dam Road, which marks the end of Nels Rogers Trail
and the beginning of the Wilson River Wagon Road Trail
The Wilson River Wagon Road Trail
follows a portion of the historic wagon route along the South Fork of the Wilson River. This trail crosses several motorized trails while climbing above Browns Camp. Wild strawberries skirt the trail in open areas, and other sections follow a path established by migrating elk herds. One mile from Beaver Dam Road, the trail descends and meets Old Saddle Mountain Road, where remains of an historic railroad trestle are present. Turn right onto the road and follow the signs 100 feet where the Wilson River Wagon Road Trail
continues to the left, across the road.
The trail levels out and crosses two additional gravel roads before it parallels a bubbling stream. Another 1.4 miles brings the Wilson River Wagon Road Trail
to University Falls Road and Gravelle Brothers Trail
. University Falls Trailhead marks the beginning of the Gravelle Brothers Trail
. This trail is named for the Gravelle twins, Elroy and Edmund, who spent countless hours helping to develop and maintain the Tillamook State Forest trail system.
To continue on the loop back to Rogers Camp Trailhead cross the road and take the Gravelle Brothers Trail
north. The trail begins with a short climb on rocky soil. As the trail levels off, it crosses two motorized trails, so be cautious. In 0.4 mile the trail drops down to a junction.
To reach the falls, look for the painted sign marking the way and continue 500 feet to the falls. University Falls is a great spot to cool off during the summer or to enjoy a peaceful lunch. The level of water flowing over the falls varies greatly throughout the year, from a rushing cascade that covers the entire rock face to little more than a trickle after a dry summer.
To finish the Historic Hiking Loop, return to the trail junction and continue on the Gravelle Brothers Trail
which is marked by a sign. Scorched stumps line the trail telling the story of the Tillamook Burn. Stay right and follow the old road grade to Rogers Camp. A right turn here leads quickly up to a gravel road. Follow the road to the top of the hill to the ODOT maintenance shed and proceed behind the cement barriers on this shared-use segment of the Elliott Creek OHV Trail.
Follow Beaver Dam Road 0.2 mile to Rogers Camp Trailhead.
This trail follows a portion of the historic wagon route along the South Fork of the Wilson River. Opened in 1893 as a toll road, this was the only route between Forest Grove and Tillamook. It was traveled by stagecoach and ox carts