Pine Bench via Bradley Trail

Trailhead Location: 43.3038, -122.4882
Parking Fee: No
Location: Oregon
Land type: USFS Wilderness
Length: 9.4 mi.
Elevation Gain: 2665 ft.
Highest Point: 2700 ft.
Loop/OnB: Out & Back
Year Round: Yes
Best Month: 3
Popular: No
Waterfall: No
Lake: No
Stream: Yes
View: Yes
Old Growth: Yes
Backpacking: Yes
Fishing: No
Bicycles: No
Dogs: Yes
Horses: Yes

The Hike

Slowly gain elevation through a dense forest after leaving the small parking lot. The trail soon leaves the forest to come out into a clearing and the elevation begins to drop. After a short while you pass the deep orange mud of Soda Springs, getting a little of that mud on your shoes. This isn't a spring you would drink from.

Take notice of the flora as you hike along. In May you'll see wildflowers, among them patches of Yellowleaf Iris. Before bending down to touch, smell and take photos keep your eyes open for Poison Oak which is abundant along this hike.

After climbing through an area of intense burn you'll reach the almost perfectly flat Pine Bench. Take note of the large tree's, but fairly sparse undergrowth. Frequent lower intensity fires have kept the landscape relatively open for centuries. On the west side of the bench the forest opens up even more and supports a healthy population of Ponderosa Pine.

There a few nice areas to camp on the north side of the bench as you approach a natural spring. Take in the views of the gorge below and the opposite ridgeline while filling up on water. As you continue past the bench you enter a heavily burned stretch with many snags. Keep your eyes peeled for woodpeckers. Finally you will arrive at Boulder Creek, where, if you'd like to continue you'll have to ford the creek. There is one nice very small campsite that makes a better spot for lunch as you listen to the creek. Enjoy the wilderness, likely all alone, before turning back.


Evidence in the area suggest that the large flat forest, known as Pine Bench, was once periodically burned by Native Americans as a means of hunting.

The Bradley trail was named after Bill Bradley, a pioneer who used the trail in the early 1900s as a trade route to the east side of the Cascades. Most of the trail was destroyed by road building and timber harvest in the years since, leaving just this short section still maintained.

The Boulder Creek Wilderness was established in 1984. Twelve years later in 1996 the Spring fire burn about 16,000 acres. In 2008, the larger Rattle Fire burned about 20,000 acres, even shutting down highway 138 for an extended period of time. In 2017 the area burned once again, showing us that this landscape is no stranger to wildfire.


1,420 acres (5.7 km2) of the Boulder Creek Wilderness is designated the Umpqua Rocks Special Interest Geologic Area due to some basalt and andesite monolithic spires. These geologic formations we formed some 30 million years ago. Now days they are popular formations for rock climbers.