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Schroder
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PostSat Feb 06, 2021 5:01 pm 
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The Mineral Butte Road 6334 was in good shape and drivable only 15 years ago with no major creek crossings other than the one near the bottom, unlike the roads up Salmon Creek.
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Steve Erickson
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PostMon Feb 08, 2021 8:45 am 
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If we are discussing what I call the Mineral Butte road, or Salmon Creek road, I am fairly certain that the last time it was logged was probably in the late 1980's or early 90's. I have been up and over Mineral Butte on several occasions. Looked into Elk Basin and hiked that country many times. Never dropped over into Gulch Lakes but have been into Gulch Lakes from the Silver Creek side. Last time I was up Salmon Creek the logging road that would take you close was heavily overgrown. I opted to leave the road and hike the timber up.
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Jordan
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 12:02 am 
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Schroder wrote:
The Mineral Butte Road 6334 was in good shape and drivable only 15 years ago with no major creek crossings other than the one near the bottom, unlike the roads up Salmon Creek.


That is probably the one. Thanks

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Jordan
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 12:08 am 
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Steve Erickson wrote:
If we are discussing what I call the Mineral Butte road, or Salmon Creek road, I am fairly certain that the last time it was logged was probably in the late 1980's or early 90's. I have been up and over Mineral Butte on several occasions. Looked into Elk Basin and hiked that country many times. Never dropped over into Gulch Lakes but have been into Gulch Lakes from the Silver Creek side. Last time I was up Salmon Creek the logging road that would take you close was heavily overgrown. I opted to leave the road and hike the timber up.

Thanks for the input.  That's the one.  I'm planning on making a trip this summer up and over Mineral Butte headed to Hard Pass and really just wanted to know if I could drive to the top of the road still or not.  Also, how the terrain is on top and how far someone can walk that ridge without getting into anything too technical.

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Sky Hiker
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 5:55 am 
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Fill out a trip report when you get back. That area is some pretty steep country. I think you will find a trip report about it if you search for the lake near there.
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Steve Erickson
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 9:31 am 
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Can't drive up the road anymore. It is gated below. Even if you could you would not be able to go very far on the road as it is not only overgrown about a mile plus past the gate but the road is washed out at that point.
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Jordan
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 2:06 pm 
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Steve Erickson wrote:
Can't drive up the road anymore. It is gated below. Even if you could you would not be able to go very far on the road as it is not only overgrown about a mile plus past the gate but the road is washed out at that point.

The Mineral Butte road is gated? Or are you talking about the Index-Galena road?

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Bruce Albert
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 3:52 pm 
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I'm pretty sure the Mineral Butte road has a gate in the vicinity of the first switchback where it leaves the Salmon Creek drainage and begins its climb.  In any event it will be found to be impassible to motor vehicles not long past that point.

This is unfortunate.  Besides an excellent approach to Mineral Butte itself, the upper reaches of that road once provided an excellent venue for late summer picnics, Stihl vs. Husky debates, and other such shenanigans. Many a full moon was howled at from that landing so high above Silver Creek.


If a bit of thread drift is permissible here, the heyday of logging was also the heyday of road access in the western Cascades. The land managers were generally too busy selling timber to trifle with recreational users, the roads and their upkeep were paid for with timber dollars, and the ubiquity of gates brought on by a consortium of risk managers and unacceptable social elements was years in the future. Many, many approaches were blessedly shorter then, at a time when, paradoxically, I was physically capable of much longer walks.  That distance/fitness axis has for me now teetered one hundred and eighty degrees, and so on a strictly personal and selfish basis I really miss a lot of those drive-ups. So it goes.

As a new and more enlightened world order fell into step, roads were declared to be in some respects evil, and many more dollars could then be found for their eradication than for their upkeep.

Whatever.  Times do change, but an awful lot of cool places places that were once a short and reasonable drive now require an awful lot of hoofing...this as pressure on the overall outdoor resource is skyrocketing in the face of an ever increasing population. Raise your hand if thrashing on foot up grown-over roads is your idea of a great day out. But, hey, as you notice that roads everywhere are becoming shorter, fewer, and less passable, take heart in the fact that you have those really cheap car tabs.
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timberghost
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 4:40 pm 
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Who's to say these gates cant remain closed and hike in, mountain bike, horse in to reduce pressure in other places. I would love to see places like this opened up to people who might not have the energy to fight the brush.  Clear the over grown road out. Only down fall is people cutting the locks or ripping out gates. Thread drift.
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Nancyann
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 5:32 pm 
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Thanks for your perspective and pictures, Bruce Albert! You are correct about the location of the gate, and not only is it impassable to cars beyond that, it is becoming increasingly impassable to humans as well. It doesn’t have to be that way though, all it takes is some sharp  saws, loppers, clippers and a few people who have the time and energy to use them. smile.gif
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timberghost
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 7:09 pm 
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up.gif  up.gif same could be said to old rd to conglomerate pk.
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Bruce Albert
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 10:21 pm 
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The old road that branches off the Sunset Mine road right?  That would be a great candidate. Last maintenance I'm aware of on that road was when logging was done in about 1979. An alternate approach is up Howard Creek, major parts of which are...bushy.

Koehring Skooper, abandoned along the way, and for sale cheep.  Stiil there in all probability.

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Nancyann
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 10:41 pm 
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Yes, it is still there as of three years ago. Kind of startling to be walking up the old road and see that thing upside down off the side of the steep embankment! This road is worse than the Mineral Butte Road (to me anyway) because a creek has taken over much of it. What a mess..
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puzzlr
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 11:14 pm 
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Bruce Albert wrote:
the heyday of logging was also the heyday of road access in the western Cascades. The land managers were generally too busy selling timber to trifle with recreational users, the roads and their upkeep were paid for with timber dollars, and the ubiquity of gates brought on by a consortium of risk managers and unacceptable social elements was years in the future. Many, many approaches were blessedly shorter then, at a time when, paradoxically, I was physically capable of much longer walks.  That distance/fitness axis has for me now teetered one hundred and eighty degrees, and so on a strictly personal and selfish basis I really miss a lot of those drive-ups. So it goes.

Well said!

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GC99
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PostWed Feb 10, 2021 12:49 pm 
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That Skooper has been cut up pretty good by the tweakers. They tried to haul it out in pieces but couldn't get it up to the road.
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