Craft Cabin Trail

Craft Cabin Trail follows Pine Creek

Hike Rating: Moderate
Hike Length: 5.0 miles roundtrip (variable)
Elevation Loss: 230’
Trailhead Elevation: 4,930’
Best Season: June through September;
after spring runoff has subsided
Driving Access: Any vehicle, with care

Plus Points
• Small, intimate stream canyon with a new aspect around every bend
• Old growth ponderosa pines on streamside terraces
• Scenic rock formations (eroded tuff bluffs) throughout canyon
• Wildflowers in spring and songbirds throughout summer
• Potential bald eagle sightings overhead
• Great opportunity for solitude, as only 10-15 parties visit per year

Minus Points
• At least three calf-deep stream crossings, so wear suitable footwear
• Trail is not cleared every year, so expect to crawl over a few wind-thrown trees
• Cow activity seems to increase the further south one goes down the canyon

Download (PDF, 687 KB): Photos of Craft Cabin Trail
Download (PDF, 592 KB): Topo Map for Craft Cabin Trail
Download (PDF, 524 KB): Road Map for Craft Cabin Trail

Trail Notes
Map of Craft Cabin Trail
For the first half mile after leaving the trailhead, the path gradually descends through a ponderosa pine forest to a large, open sagebrush flat along Pine Creek. It then passes through a wooden fence stile into the stream canyon itself. In the next half mile, the trail fords the stream in two places as it travels through grass meadows, mature ponderosa groves, and then a rocky narrows in the canyon.

After one mile, the canyon widens considerably and stands of old growth ponderosa begin to appear again on the streamside terraces. Numerous large, wind-thrown and broken off trees occur in this section. Look for bald eagles overhead.

Entering Pine Creek canyon, Craft Cabin Trail
The trail continues for miles along alder-lined Pine Creek. There are occasional views here of canyon cliffs and rock bluffs. Cow activity seems to increase the further one travels down the canyon, though cows were absent in June 2011 when we last visited. Streamside meadows at the 2.5 mile point (just before the fourth stream crossing) can make a good lunch spot and hike turnaround.

Road to Trailhead
The trailhead is in a remote and seldom-visited part of the Malheur Forest. However, the access roads are all good and suitable for any passenger car. From gravel Road 28, turn east on Road 2850 and drive 2.2 miles to a “Y” where Road 2855 branches off to the right (east). Follow Road 2855 for 2.2 miles, where dirt Road 121 branches off to the left. Follow Road 121 downhill for 0.9 miles to a junction, where you turn right on dirt Road 125. It’s then just a short 0.3 mile drive downhill to the trailhead and parking area.

Camping Options
The nearest developed campground is the Rock Springs Campground, about 20 miles north of the trailhead on Road 28. This is a small, pleasant forest camp next to a wet meadow. It's recently been refurbished with a new vault toilet, new tables and fire rings, but no drinking water. It has 14 diverse camping sites that can accommodate anything from tents to large travel trailers. The fee is $6.00 per night in 2011.

Another option is the Idlewild Campground on Highway 395 about 20 miles north of Burns and about 22 driving miles from the trailhead. This is a large, developed camping complex, with 25 sites that are just a few hundred yards from the highway. It features paved parking aprons, vault toilets and a potable water supply. It can accommodate any size camping rig, for a fee of $10.00 per night in 2011.

Agency Contact: Malheur National Forest, Emigrant Creek District, (541) 573-4300

DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, but the authors do not guarantee that it is either current or correct. The reader assumes full responsibility for any use of this information, and is encouraged to contact local federal land agencies to inquire about current conditions before traveling.

Page last updated: 12/20/11