Coral Root Orchids in the Coastal Mountains

As followers of my blog know, I enjoy hiking in the Coastal Mountains. It is verdant and beautiful country.

In early June I returned to the trailhead at Gales Creek Forest Camp. You may remember several weeks ago I did the Storey Burn Loop from this trailhead and unfortunately encountered many trailrunners engaged in a 50K race.

This time I followed the Gales Creek Trail all the way to a trailhead on Bell Camp Road on the crest of the Coastal Mountains, roughly seven miles from the start. Along the way I met one mountain biker, and two lost hikers. Thankfully, I was able to reorient the hikers so they could successfully return to the trailhead almost five miles to the south.

To my delight, there were many spotted coral root orchids in bloom along the upper trail. There were also several tall wispy waterfalls along the way.

A superb way to enjoy 6 1/2 hours on a pleasant spring day.

Spotted Coral Root Orchid

Pleasant stretch of trail

Garter Snake

Monkey Flower

Wispy waterfall


Inside-out Flower

Old wooden bridge on a long-abandoned logging road




Categories: Oregon Coastal Mountain HikingTags: , , ,


  1. I always enjoy John’s posts. The photos are outstanding!

  2. Excellent pics of your trip, John. A surprise to see the blooming coral root — ours haven’t even come above ground here yet in Alberta. Youth-on-age? What an intriguing name. Never seen that plant before. The inside-out flower (clever name) reminded me of shooting stars (tho’ they don’t have as many petals as yours — I wonder if they’re related?)

    • Thanks Sally.
      Youth-on-age is a member of the saxifrage family. It’s a very common spring flower in the rain forest-type environments of the Columbia River Gorge and the Coastal Mountains.
      Inside-out flower belongs to the barberry family. It’s truly a strange looking flower. Even thought it looks something like a shooting star flower, shooting stars belong to the primrose family.

  3. Such a beautiful stretch of trail, John. I love the verdant ferns in such abundance, the cheerful wildflowers, and the lively waterfall. This trail is brimming with life, so lovely.

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