Hiking The Oregon Timber Gulch Trail: The Best Sights on The Road and Where to Find Them

If you’re looking for a trail in Oregon that is scenic, yet easy to traverse, Timber Gulch Road has you covered. It’s a family friendly path that isn’t too strenuous and that you can get through at your own leisurely pace. If you need to get out and get some fresh air and maybe get your legs moving, this is perfect for you. 

 

 

Timber Gulch Road: What You need to Know

If you want to hike on Oregon’s Timber Gulch Road, you’re going to want to prepare yourself. Because of that, it’s essential you know the finer details of the hike so that you don’t wear yourself out or come unprepared. Even though Timber Gulch Trail is fairly easy to traverse, it’s still important to properly prepare.

Here’s what you need to know about the trail’s difficulty.

  • It’s a simple in and out hike; you’ll get to your destination and then walk back on the same road. The trail starts at Timber Gulch Trailhead and ends in Timber Gulch itself.
  • There are no fees or regulations.
  • All things considered, this trail is considered fairly easy. Just make sure you have good shoes, plenty of water, and maybe a couple snacks.
  • The trail is family friendly, so if you want to take kids on the road, it should be fairly easy for them to follow along as long as they have good shoes.
  • Late spring to early summer is probably the best time to visit. Just after everything has dried up but it’s still cool enough so you won’t have to worry about heat exhaustion. There’s very little shade on the trail, so you’re going to want to be in the right conditions for it. Get out early and drink plenty of water.
  • The distance is 1.4 miles in length.
  • The elevation gain is 375 feet, with the highest elevation point being 3,555 feet.
  • It’s not a crowded trail, so if you’re worried about too many people being around to dampen the atmosphere of a fulfilling hike, you won’t have to worry too much.
  • You need to watch out for rattlesnakes. Snake bites are rare, but they do happen. You should become familiar enough to recognize rattlesnakes, and keep your headphones out so you’re able to properly listen for that telltale rattling.

 

How to Find Timber Gulch Trail

If you’re trying to find out where the hike starts, you’re going to need some directions. That’s because Timber Gulch Road isn’t actually all that popular. The trail is unmarked, but you can still recognize it for what it is from a distance.

Timber Gulch Trailhead is located along Leslie Gulch Road, which is a dirt road. It has a pull-off parking area that only has room for a few cars; as previously stated, it’s not too popular, so it won’t be crowded. You should be fine, especially if you’re coming any time other than the weekend, where popularity is at its peak.

If you want to get into specifics, you can find the location at these GPS coordinates: 43.304795, -117.290538.

You can find Timber Gulch on the eastern side of Oregon, just 20 miles away from the border with Idaho. It’s a little bit of a drive if you’re from one of the nearby cities.

The trailhead is 2 hours away from Boise, ID, 1.5 hours west of Musing, ID, and 1 hour north of Jordan Valley, OR. If you’re heading to Timber Gulch from the east, you can find Leslie Gulch Road by following McBride Road. Once you’ve found the road, you’re going to want to reset your odometer. The pull-out will be a good 11.7 miles out and to your right on an unmarked trail. You’re going to pass two other trailheads before you get there: Upper Leslie Gulch and Juniper Gulch, both of which are good hikes in their own right. If you need to use the restrooms, you can find some back at the Juniper Gulch.

It’s easy to know when you’ve gone too far, as Leslie Gulch Road comes to a dead end at Slocum Campground, which is a few miles away from Timber Gulch Trailhead.

 

What to See on Timber Gulch Road

Timber Gulch cliffs, Timber Gulch road

More than any other trail on Leslie Gulch, you’re going to find rhyolite, the beautiful intrusive orange rock that’s known for being a part of the ancient Mahogany Mountain Caldera. The orange rock isn’t the only thing to see, though.

Given that the trail isn’t that popular and is unmarked, it’s not too well maintained. However, in the spring, when the flowers bloom, it becomes stunning. You’ll find wild rose, Oregon sunshine, and balsamroot growing amongst the rabbitbrush and sagebrush. It’s around here, within the spring bloom, that you’ll find some flowers that you don’t lay your eyes on too often. This includes desert paintbrush and threadleaf phacelia. The spring bloom is good for several photo opportunities, as well as just a chance to admire the beauty of the trail that you find yourself walking.

Things only get more beautiful as you continue. As you continue and descend across the walsh and enter into the north branch of the canyon, you’ll find yourself passing through two rhyolite pillars, which are stunning in their own right.

Through the trail, you’re going to find yourself taken up to an awe-inspiring rhyolite amphitheater that is set up against a sheer 250-foot wall. The trail will follow down to the base of the big wall, where you’ll be able to get splendid views down the valley.

This is where most people tend to stop and turn back, having had their fill for the day, but if you keep going, you’ll be rewarded by some more amazing sights. If you consider yourself fairly adventurous and want more exploration, you’ll find a natural arch at the northern end of the valley, where you’ll find honeycombed boulders and faces. You’ll find a backcountry loop that isn’t officially considered part of the trail. It’s a steep hike around, following a wall and along a ridge, but soon you’ll find yourself looped into a trail down into Juniper Gulch. If you parked your car in the space near the Timber Gulch Trailhead, you’re going to have a bit more of a walk ahead of you. If you’re up for it, though, you’ll be able to see the beauty of two trails in the same trip. Just know that Juniper Gulch is a little trickier to navigate.

There is one more thing worth seeing, though.

 

The Best Spots in Timber Gulch

Rhyolite rock formations eroded into honeycomb shapes
Rhyolite rock formations eroded into honeycomb shapes

The Owyhee Canyonlands sure are a sight to see, and as canyonlands often do, Timber Gulch has its own unique formations. This comes in the form of the cathedrals of rock you can find along the trails.

You’ll find many stunning formations all around the canyonlands, with Juniper Gulch being the most popular way to see them. The problem? Juniper Gulch has always been a bit challenging, especially for bigger groups and younger climbers.

That’s one of the great things about Timber Gulch Road. You get to see similar amazing sights you would see in Juniper Gulch, with the bonus of Timber Gulch being a much easier area to traverse. There’s no tricky steep climbs or scrambling to do with the hike. The soil is a bit looser, so it can be a little slippery here and there, but it shouldn’t be a problem as long as you have good shoes.

When you get into Timber Gulch, you’ll find yourself amazed by the rhyolite formations, coming in all kinds of shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown. If you’re there in the late spring or early summer, these monuments to nature’s power will be surrounded by carpets of green and beautiful flowers.

You’ll find many wonderful sights in the gulch’s natural amphitheater. If you’ve never been inside an amphitheater before, you’ll be surprised that nature is able to build something so amazing on its own, to where humans would copy its design in the future. The sounds truly carry around, so if you find yourself alone, why not give a shout? These places are fairly rare, but have fantastic acoustics.

Leaving the amphitheater and going further up the trail leads up to the base of a sheer cliff where you can truly get a good look around at the valleys. They’re a sight to behold, and they’re all backed by honeycombed rhyolite that truly defines Timber Gulch as a wonder of its very own.

Around here is when you can go back, but many like to sit in the shade of the cliff and take in the sights. After all, it’s one of the only places in the gulch where you can actually sit down for some shade. Canyons in general aren’t well-known for their shade.

Of course, in this spot, you can take in the quietness found in a place so far removed from the city. It’s where you can truly appreciate being in the middle of a creation forged by nature millions of years before our time. Everything is ancient, yet stunning all the same.

After that, you can head back down the trail. Keep your footing; as stated before the soil can be a little loose. Make sure that you take some pictures. Or, if you want the sights to be a big fresher in your memory, just come back another time! Bring friends, bring family, bring any hiking buddies you like to travel with; places like Timber Gulch deserve to be seen and admired as some of nature’s finest creations.

 

Timber Gulch: Current Weather

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Timber Gulch, OR
11:53 am, Mar 2, 2024
light snow 33°F
Low: 20° High: 33°
light snow
Humidity Humidity 61 %
Pressure Pressure 999 hPa
Wind 9 mph SSW
Wind Gust Wind Gust 14 mph
UV Index UV Index 1.84
Precipitation Precipitation 0.04 inch
Dew Point Dew Point 22°
Clouds Clouds 100%
Rain Chance Rain Chance 98%
Snow Snow 8.88 mm/h
Visibility Visibility 6 mi
Air Quality Air Quality Fair
Sunrise Sunrise 6:24 am
Sunset Sunset 5:38 pm
Weather Condition Comport Precipitation
Day Condition TemperatureTemperature PrecipitationAmount Rain ChanceRain Chance Wind HumidityHumidity PressurePressure
Today 12:00 pm
snow snow
20° | 33°°F 0.04 inch 98% 12 mph 61 % 999 hPa
Tomorrow 12:00 pm
light snow light snow
18° | 29°°F 0.03 inch 82% 7 mph 74 % 1010 hPa
Monday 12:00 pm
light snow light snow
21° | 32°°F 0.02 inch 61% 6 mph 63 % 1014 hPa
Tuesday 12:00 pm
light snow light snow
24° | 31°°F 0.03 inch 77% 9 mph 64 % 1014 hPa
Wednesday 12:00 pm
light snow light snow
23° | 34°°F 0.03 inch 78% 11 mph 46 % 1018 hPa
Thursday 12:00 pm
overcast clouds overcast clouds
21° | 31°°F 0 inch 11% 4 mph 70 % 1019 hPa
Friday 12:00 pm
scattered clouds scattered clouds
23° | 34°°F 0 inch 0% 8 mph 68 % 1027 hPa
Saturday 11:00 am
snow snow
25° | 34°°F 0.03 inch 82% 10 mph 70 % 1024 hPa
1 to 8 of 0 results
Weather Condition Comport Precipitation
Day Condition TemperatureTemperature PrecipitationAmount Rain ChanceRain Chance Wind HumidityHumidity PressurePressure
Today 11:00 am
light snow light snow
32° | 0°°F 0.02 inch 45% 8 mph 62 % 999 hPa
Today 12:00 pm
light snow light snow
33° | 0°°F 0.03 inch 72% 9 mph 61 % 999 hPa
Today 1:00 pm
light snow light snow
32° | 0°°F 0.04 inch 96% 12 mph 61 % 999 hPa
Today 2:00 pm
light snow light snow
32° | 0°°F 0.04 inch 90% 8 mph 60 % 999 hPa
Today 3:00 pm
light snow light snow
32° | 0°°F 0.03 inch 86% 6 mph 58 % 999 hPa
Today 4:00 pm
light snow light snow
32° | 0°°F 0.03 inch 86% 5 mph 60 % 999 hPa
Today 5:00 pm
light snow light snow
29° | 0°°F 0.02 inch 49% 5 mph 68 % 1001 hPa
Today 6:00 pm
light snow light snow
24° | 0°°F 0.02 inch 40% 4 mph 76 % 1002 hPa
Today 7:00 pm
overcast clouds overcast clouds
22° | 0°°F 0.01 inch 33% 3 mph 78 % 1004 hPa
Today 8:00 pm
broken clouds broken clouds
21° | 0°°F 0.01 inch 30% 2 mph 78 % 1004 hPa
Today 9:00 pm
broken clouds broken clouds
20° | 0°°F 0.01 inch 26% 2 mph 78 % 1005 hPa
Today 10:00 pm
broken clouds broken clouds
21° | 0°°F 0.01 inch 16% 3 mph 78 % 1005 hPa
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