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20th November 2008
The following fine letter appeared in the 11/20/08 edition of the Eugene Register-Guard.

Devilís Staircase is Stunning

Last weekend, I made my first trek into the proposed Devilís Staircase Wilderness (Wassen Creek). What a spot!

Iíve hiked to almost every remote backcountry part of this state, and I havenít had my breath so completely stolen away from me in a long time.

After an epic, four-hour bushwhack through thick woods and incredibly steep terrain, we descended, scratched up and fully drenched, into a towering grove of 8-foot to 10-foot diameter trees. There were cascading waterfalls, fern thickets that came up to my shoulders and wildlife that I didnít even know existed. Ever seen a foot-long salamander? It was like being in some lost and forgotten world, less than two hours from Eugene.

If you have a good GPS or if youíre skilled with a map and compass, I highly recommend that you check out this area ó sandwiched between the Umpqua and Smith rivers. And if you make it out alive, I guarantee youíll have stories to tell your grandkids.

For those of you who are less inclined to risk it all but who enjoy knowing that truly wild places still exist in our backyard, I encourage you to get involved and help us protect this special place forever. For pictures, information and ways to help, go to

There arenít many places like it left in Oregon. Oregonís congressional delegation should act to permanently protect this rare and beautiful forest forever.

Daniel Kruse
Legal director
Cascadia Wildlands Project
GPS Devils Staircase
Comment by Pre on 3rd July 2009
Can anyone provide a GPS cordiance for the Devils Staircase.
Directions to Devil's Staircase
Comment by Andy on 20th November 2008

No guided trek is scheduled presently. However, there will be several up-coming as weather permits. They will be posted on the website's calendar, in addition to whatever other local publicity we can generate.

If you are interested in getting there yourself, here are our standard directions:

Directions from Eugene

Take I-5 south.

11.5 miles south of Cottage Grove, take Exit 162 (Elkton/Drain). Head west (right) on Hwy. 38.

In 37.8 miles, turn right on Wells Creek Road.

In 2 miles, bear left at a junction onto 21-9-10 (Wassen Lake Road).

Travel 21-9-10 for 7.9 miles. Watch out for ice, fog, frost, boulders and sheer dropoffs. Donít turn off 21-9-10.

Turn left on 21-10-12.1. Watch out for muddy ruts and steep slopes where you can easily become stuck. Watch also for fallen trees and branches. Donít turn off 21-10-12.1.

Travel 21-10-12.1 for 5.3 miles. Park near the spur road to the left. Walk this spur road for .2 miles to a landing and disembark downhill following a boot trail and flagging.


This route can only be traveled by a high clearance car like a Subaru or a pickup. In wet weather, only a four-wheel drive truck will be able to negotiate the route. Your vehicle will be scratched by vegetation. In all conditions, only drivers with experience on BLM logging roads will successfully negotiate the route. These directions supplement and do not substitute for a map. You need a good map of the area.

Hiking in the Wassen Creek drainage is extremely difficult if not dangerous. Even experienced hikers can easily become disoriented. Only the most experienced hikers with outstanding orienteering skills, armed with good maps, GPS devices, emergency supplies and traveling in a group can be expected to avoid serious injury or death. We are not kidding.
Guided Treks?
Comment by H Hutchinson on 20th November 2008
Is there a guided trek available? I'm not navigationally "skilled," but I am articulate and excel at communicating the beauty and necessity of preserving our natural treasures.

I would also enjoy the experience of seeing what must be incredible. Good on you for making the public aware.