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2017 Alder Springs Clean-up and Trail Maintenance

Difficulty Rating: 3 of 5 May 19 (Friday PM) to 21 (Sunday PM) Located on Whychus Creek, Alder Springs is a true oasis in the high desert and a popular hiking destination. Join ONDA’s Central Oregon Coordinator, Gena Goodman-Campbell, some “spring cleaning” of the Alder Springs trail, as well as opportunities for hiking and exploration. Click HERE for photos from previous work trips to Alder Springs. Click HERE for more information and to register.
When May 19, 2017 04:00 PM to
May 21, 2017 04:00 PM
Where Whychus-Deschutes
Contact Name
Contact Phone (541) 330-2638
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Alder Springs is one of the hidden gems of Central Oregon's high desert, and is included in ONDA's Whychus-Deschutes wilderness proposal. At its source, Alder Springs gushes out of the base of a cliff into a lush canyon, dumping over 60 cubic feet per second of water (more than flows from the head of the Metolius) into lower Whychus Creek. Whychus Creek provides prime spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead as they return to our watershed and is crucial winter range for mule deer and other wildlife. The Alder Springs trail is an incredibly popular recreation destination, with hundreds of visitors coming to enjoy this oasis in the high desert every year, putting pressure on the fragile ecosystem. As Alder Springs increases in popularity, more attention is needed from those who love this place to ensure that it remains wild and healthy.

CLICK HERE to see a map of the general location of this trip.

Hiking Alder Springs
Volunteers hiking in on the Alder Springs Trail.
Photo: Robert Tilley


This trip will focus on preparing the Alder Springs area to weather the busy hiking season.  All tools and training will be provided, so while there is no experience necessary, volunteers need to have a good base fitness level and be accustomed to working safely with tools such as shovels, handsaws and loppers. This trip will involve lots of bending over and some light lifting. Volunteers will help with light trail maintenance using shovels and other trail tools, clearing fast-growing brush that is encroaching on the trail with loppers and handsaws, campsite clean-up, removing noxious weeds, and other necessary maintenance activities. ONDA will provide all tools needed for the work (gloves are provided but we encourage volunteers to bring their own to ensure a good fit).

Alder Springs Trail Work
Volunteers receive training on improving the tread on Alder Springs Trail.



  • Hiking with incredibly scenic views
  • Opportunities for off-trail exploration
  • Terrific fishing
  • Mandatory crossing of Whychus Creek carrying packs and tools
  • Rattlesnakes and other wildlife encounters



  • Friday, May 19th: Meet at 4 PM PST to caravan/carpool 5 miles in to the Whychus Crossing Campground. After setting up camp and cooking dinner (each trip participant is responsible for their own meals), we will have a brief overview of the work for the weekend and what to expect on our first day.
    • Saturday, May 20th:  Up early for breakfast, then carpool to the trailhead. To reach our work site for the day, we will pack our tools and daypacks in up to 3 miles one way.
    • Sunday, May 21st: Awake early for hiking and exploration, then back to work to complete any remaining trail maintenance. We will plan to return to the parking area by 4PM.

      Crossing Whychus
      Volunteers fording Whychus Creek on the Alder Springs Trail.
      Photo: Robert Tilley

      This trip will involve car camping at an undeveloped site on Whychus Creek, which includes ample flat tent-sites, but no toilets or potable water. Participants need to have a tent capable of handling cold temperatures, rain, and wind... or the ability to sleep comfortably in their own vehicles. Volunteers should bring water for the trip and ONDA will bring extra water to share.

      DIFFICULTY RATING: 3 OUT OF 5: Alder Springs is located in a steep canyon, and though the trail is relatively gradual, it can be rocky and uneven at times. There is a mandatory creek crossing through cold and rapidly moving water that is typically about knee deep for an adult of average size, but could be higher during spring flows. Water shoes and/or trekking poles are recommended for the crossing, though it can be done barefoot by those with tough feet!


      Participants are responsible for their own food as well as transportation to and from the trip. Participants will need their own tent or the ability to sleep in their cars; a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, cookware, stove, lanterns and headlamps are also required. Sturdy off-trail ankle-high boots are recommended for this trip.

      A full packing list will be provided by the trip leader three weeks before the trip.

      ONDA will provide the gear for the work, excellent guidance in the field, and a few group camping items to make things more comfortable (chairs, tables, dishwashing bins, campfire materials, water, shade/rain tarp, "groover" camp toilet etc.)

      This trip will be led by ONDA Central Oregon Coordinator Gena Goodman-Campbell,
      Group size will be limited to 10 participants.
      This trip is offered free of charge.


      An ONDA registration application and medical form is required for this trip. Click HERE for the form. You only need to fill this form out once per year: You can join additional 2017 trips by e-mailing the trip leader directly.

      You will receive a confirmation e-mail within 10 working days of submitting the form.  The confirmation e-mail will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full and so your name has been placed on the “wait list”.  Six weeks before the trip starts the trip leader will send out an RSVP e-mail to make sure everyone is still available to participate.  Three weeks before the trip begins, the trip leader will send out an e-mail with additional information, maps, driving instructions, car-pooling options etc.  However, if you have any questions in the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact the trip leader at the e-mail address above.

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      Oregon Natural Desert Association
      50 SW Bond Street, Suite 4,
      Bend, OR 97702
      Tel: (541) 330-2638

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