Bear Pass 1509

Total Miles
26.2

Elevation

1,402.05 ft

Duration

1.75 Hours

Technical Rating

4

Moderate

Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall

Trail Overview

Bear Pass was most likely named for the black bears that inhabit this area. Bears have been spotted along this route, so take precautions when entering. Bear Pass is located in the 1.6-million-acre Willamette National Forest in Central Oregon. As you travel down this road, you will see scenic views of Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters, Mount Bachelor, and the Cascade Mountain Range. This route is an easy gravel road. There are areas with rocks in the road, narrow areas due to fallen trees, and trees that overhang the road. Dispersed camping is found all along this drive, is first come first serve, and is primitive with no running water or restrooms. Cell phone service is attainable but very limited in the WNF. The WNF has over 300 species of fish and wildlife, including the northern spotted owl, deer, bald eagle, Chinook salmon, bull trout, black bear, cougar, southern red-backed vole, elk, and wolverine. Douglas-fir is the main tree species in this forest and is a viable resource for this area. Many of the trails in this forest are old logging roads so there is plenty of free firewood that can be collected and used for personal use, but this requires a permit from the US Forest Service. About halfway through this trail, you will come to the Gold Hill Trailhead which is a 3.8-mile hiking, biking, and horseback riding trail. There is a parking area, well-labeled signs, and a map. Tibbitts Trailhead can be found by accessing the spur trail 1509877 which is clearly marked with a hiking sign off Bear Pass. Tidbits South takes you on a 1.3-mile hike to the Tidbits Mountain which sits at an elevation of 5,115 feet. This trail is best enjoyed during the late spring, summer, and early fall. The winter brings a lot of snow which closes most of the roads to vehicle traffic.

Photos of Bear Pass 1509

Bear Pass 1509
Bear Pass 1509

Difficulty

This route is an easy gravel road, however, there are 500-foot or more drop-offs, no guard rails, and falling rock in many areas which can be large boulders as well. Use extreme caution when coming around blind corners. There are places to pass but not much room in some areas due to the severe height of the drop-offs.

History

With approximately 400 lakes in the Willamette Forest, you are bound to enjoy one of them. Here is a book on the history of the WNF: https://foresthistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/HISTORY-OF-THE-WILLAMETTE-NATIONAL-FOREST.pdf.

Technical Rating

4

Status Reports

Gold Mine
Jun 15, 2024
4x4
Obstructed
Deep Snow
Paul Mulhern
May 26, 2024
4x4
Obstructed
Downed Tree
coming from 126, large impassible group of downed trees blocking the road right at milepost 11
Andrew Metcalf
May 02, 2024
2019 Toyota 4Runner
Obstructed
Deep Snow
Gate was open but heavy snow prevented me from getting very far. Snow is very slick

Access Description

From Highway 20, take the Blue River Road 15 to Bear Springs Road 1509 and take a right.

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