Harper Creek Trail

This trail is located in the Wilson Creek Area area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Wilson Creek Area trails list page..

Details At a Glance

Overall Difficulty: Most Difficult
Length: 6.0mi
Steepness: Hilly
Tread Condition: Very Rough
Blaze Color: Orange
USGS/USFS Number: 260
Allowed Uses: Hiking
Hikes That Use This Trail: Harper Creek Falls

Description

Although this trail is listed as "easy" in some publications, that's not really the case. It might be considered moderate if you only hike to the falls and back, but the whole trail is much longer than that. And the multiple creek crossings, sparse blazes, and route through wilderness study area makes the hike along this trail in its entirety take its toll.

Starting from the parking area on Brown Mountain Beach Road, the trail winds up some poorly-constructed switchbacks onto an eroded old road bed. The trail then merges with a less-eroded old road at the top of the climb, in a gap. There is an intersection with the Yellow Buck trail; continue straight, downhill. The trail is relatively easy going forward, except for a few places where erosion has made it a steep drop-off into the creek. The trail passes through a campsite as it approaches creek level, and then angles right, uphill.

From here, the path is co-signed as the Mountains to Sea Trail. Again, it follows an old roadbed with some washouts leading all the way down to the creek - these can be tricky to navigate. The trail veers uphill to the right again as it nears Harper Creek Falls. (Continue straight on the old road bed to reach the falls, requiring a steep rope-assist scramble to get to the base). After climbing past the falls, the trail follows the creek upstream on the right side to the intersection with the North Harper Creek Trail. The Mountains to Sea Trail leaves along that path.

The Harper Creek trail crosses the creek, and then proceeds to do so several more times as it goes up toward South Harper Creek Falls. This section of trail is remote and it can be difficult to follow at times, especially at creek crossings. As it approaches the base of the falls, it heads uphill on some switchbacks. There is an intersection with a side path connecting to the Raider Camp trail. The Harper Creek trail then climbs up past the settlement of Kawana before ending on Kawana Road.

All Photos from the Trail

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Trail Segments

Trails are often made up of several connecting paths which may have different characteristics, allowed uses, and seasons. This trail is divided into multiple segments as follows:

Harper Creek - Parking to Yellow Buck

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 0.2 mi

Harper Creek - Yellow Buck to Raider Camp

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 0.8 mi

Harper Creek - Harper Creek Falls to Harper Ck. Tr.

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 1.7 mi

Harper Creek - N. Harper Ck. to Raider Camp Conn.

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 1.5 mi

Harper Creek - Raider Camp Conn. to Kawana Rd.

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 1.3 mi

Harper Creek - Raider Camp to Harper Creek Falls

  • Allowed Uses: Hiking
  • Length: 0.3 mi

Intersecting Trails

  • Yellow Buck
  • Raider Camp
  • North Harper Creek
  • Harper Creek - Raider Camp Connector
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    Ratings

    Average Rating: 3.0 (rated 1 times)

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    Comments

    Annette said: We only hiked from the trailhead on Brown Mtn. Beach Rd. to the Harper Creek waterfall, which we considered a mix of average to easy difficulty. It's a well-used section of trail & quite busy on a holiday weekend. It apparently was so easy that a number of people noisily hiked back & forth at night on it, so don't expect to get good sleep if you're camping somewhere along the trail. Very nice waterfalls with opportunities for swimming, rock sliding & for the really adventurous cliff jumping into the pool. Mortimer campground is only about 1.5 miles from trailhead.
    Monday, July 7 2014 3:46pm
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