A hidden gem: Eagle Rock near Lookout Point Dam

Cameron Bishop atop Eagle Rock and view of Lookout Point Dam, (Corps of Engineers photo)

Cameron Bishop atop Eagle Rock and view of Lookout Point Dam, (Corps of Engineers photo)

 

A commentary by Cameron Bishop, Willamette Valley Project

Since my arrival at Portland District’s Willamette Valley Project in 2006, I have had the great privilege of visiting nearly every corner of our property in the Willamette Valley.

Some of my best memories include finding the tastiest apples ever on abandoned orchard trees at Foster Dam, exploring a dewatered penstock at Lookout Point Dam and discovering a grove of partially submerged Bald Cypress trees in the Blue River pool.

One of my favorite places around the project, however – a place that has captivated me since my first visit – is Eagle Rock at Lookout Point Dam – first seen six years ago with my wife, Katie, while conducting an acoustic bat survey.

Have you ever wondered where all the rock came from to build Lookout Point dam? Well, it turns out most of it came from right across Highway 58, to the south — from an area identified in the Lookout Point Master Plan as Unit K: Eagle Rock.

The Eagle Rock Unit is a 300-acre parcel clinging to the north face of Eagle Rock Mountain. It was originally used by the Corps of Engineers as a staging site and for quarrying rock during dam construction in the 1950s.

The rarely visited area is now managed for wildlife habitat and dispersed recreation. An unmaintained road now offers intrepid hikers a forested 1.45 mile trail to the quarry atop Eagle Rock Mountain – where you feel like you’re in an amphitheater and the view to the east is breathtaking.

The hike gains about 800 feet in elevation and is well worth the effort.

Have you found any hidden gems like the Eagle Rock hike on project lands? We’d love to hear about them.

Eagle Rock trail map (Corps of Engineers image)

Eagle Rock trail map (Corps of Engineers image)

Directions:
There is only one way in and out of the site, and it is gated to restrict vehicle access. Park at the South Abutment parking lot at Lookout Point Dam and walk toward Oakridge on the Highway 58 shoulder. You will soon see a dirt road on the south side of Highway 58 heading southwest up the hill. Carefully cross Highway 58 and head up the dirt road. There is a gate about 50 feet from the highway. As you head up the road you will pass under a powerline right-of-way. A few hundred feet past this area, you will come to a fork in the road. Take the left fork of the the road which passes an abandoned gate and climbs a few switchbacks up to the old quarry site. The “road” is not maintained and you may have to scramble over a few trees and a rockslide or two.