A lot of people have been asking me about the hike I went on recently so I thought I should get the info up for everyone.
First off, the access road to this trail is complete shit. It is clearly not maintained and has large rocks and areas washed away by water. You’ll need a high clearance vehicle.
To get here: From Sisters, go through town.. veer left taking Hwy 126 towards Redmond (like you’re going to Smith Rock), after about 5 1/2 miles, turn left on Holmes road and follow to the end turning right onto a continuation of Holmes Rd (weird). Go for about 7 miles and turn left onto Road 6360- there will be a sign for Alder Springs Trailhead here. Follow this gravel road for about 5 miles and turn right at a sign for Alder Springs TH. Follow this road until the end (about a mile) and there’s a small parking lot and signs marking the trail head.
This area is known for rattlesnakes and ticks. Also no bathrooms, so just be prepared for that. Don’t ask me for help with any of these things because you’ll prob die. I saw a rattlesnake on my way back up the trail and froze and backed away, went 25 feet off trail to completely avoid it and maybe cried a little. Also my history with ticks is short but a complete failure. I am however pro at peeing outside, but not sure how I can help you there.
Anyways, back to it. This is an out & back trail. The trail is clear and well marked. Near the beginning of the trail there is a detour to go down to “the old bridge site” that dead ends. Continue straight and the trail is flat for a bit and then descends down into the canyon. Make sure you have plenty of water as there is very minimal shade, and your elevation is gain on the trek back out. You’ll pass quite a few rock formations on your way down into the canyon, and there are a few little nooks/caves you can explore or rest in the shade. But snakes. Once you make is down to the creek you’ll have to cross to continue on. In spring it’s about knee deep and I read in the fall it’s only ankle deep. Do rattlesnakes swim? I don’t want to know. Across the creek is a grassy meadow where you can camp and wade in the springs. Continue straight through on the trail that follows the creek for a little ways. You gain a little elevation for a nice view and then back down to meet up with the creek. At the end of the trail there are large Ponderosa trees and large boulders at the Deschutes River. The trees provide nice shade on the boulders for eating lunch or a nap. There are nice smooth rocks at the rivers edge as well so you can stick your feet in to cool off. The current is a little too rough to swim but there are some calmer areas to wade in.
I wouldn’t recommend this during the summer, but this is a great hike for spring or fall. Leave early to avoid the heat and you can easy spend a better part of the day laying in the Ponderosa Pine’s shade and playing in the river before heading back. I went on a week day and only saw 4 people on my hike, so fairly lightly trafficked. Hike is about 6-7 miles round trip, and fairly moderate when considering the heat and a elevation gain on the trek back… and snakes.