Beaver Loop is a pleasant, level outing which is easy to follow and and has many distractions for younger hikers. There is ample opportunity for wildlife and best of all it is close to town.
Although this trail runs alongside Highway 20 you'd scarcely know it. An occasional car might drive by with cross country skiers but silence generally rules the day. A note to those who may be concerned with following the trail: there is a local who stomps out many trails in the area after each storm so that they are well defined. There are also trail markers, semi-official 'Atlas Snowshoe' markers and the old-school metal-can-top-nailed-to-the-tree type marker.
This no-elevation-gain trail winds through the woods following the Forest Service boundary for a half mile before making a sharp left and heading towards the river. Over the next half mile, note the incredible diversity of trees in this lush ecosystem. Cedars, cottonwood, a variety of pines, and spruces will light up your day.
There are numerous spots along the trail where the riverbank opens up and the gurgling of Early Winters Creek calls to you. The bank is steep and can be undercut by the water, so be cautious, but enjoy the views. Black and white tones have never looked so good. After another half mile, evidence of beavers can be found. A black cottonwood, 100 feet tall and 2.5 feet thick is slowly being taken down by the resident population. When looking for signs of these beavers keep in mind that alongside streams they frequently live in burrows under the stream banks instead of in the traditional lodges.
The trail now quickly turns back towards the roadway. At 1.65 miles, you will reach the summer time parking lot. Another 0.1 mile and the roadway will be in front of you. In winter, sometimes a trail parallels the road back to your car and sometimes not. Feel free to make your own or gives the kids a rest and walk the 300 yards on the road.
WTA Pro Tip: Hot chocolate, coffee, or draft beers await you at the Mazama Store just five miles down the road afterwards.
Hiking Beaver Loop
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 48.5968, -120.4511 Open in Google Maps