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"The Barlow Road ... Barlow Creek"
Includes ... Barlow Road ... Barlow Creek ...
Image, 2013, Sign, Barlow Road, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Barlow Road sign, Foster Farm, Eagle Creek, Oregon. Image taken May 4, 2013.

The Barlow Road ...
The Barlow Road was a part of the Oregon Trail. The road was authorized by the Oregon Legislature in 1845, and by September 1846, it made its way around the south side of Mount Hood. This 80-to-110-mile road provided an alternative to the dangerous and expensive route that used rafts to transport wagons down the Columbia River. The Barlow Road began at The Dalles, Oregon, headed south through Dufur and Tygh Valley (which some folks consider the start of the Barlow Road), then turned west at Gate Creek and generally followed the White River before it headed north through Barlow Pass and Government Camp. It then passed through "Tollgate #5" near today's Rhododendron and continued to the community of Sandy, where it turned west and ended up at Oregon City.

Follow the Barlow Road ... (east to west)

Following Barlow Creek

Overview ...

(to come)

USFS Road #3530 ...

USFS Road #3530 is not maintained and not recommended for ordinary cars. High clearance is a must. Plus, of summer 2013, Road #3530 was washed out from Devil's Half Acre Campground to Barlow Pass.

Alternative routes around Road #3530 are USFS Road #48 which connects Tygh Valley and Wamic to Highway 35 and Mount Hood, and USFS Road #48 to USFS Road #43, which connects to Highway 26 and Mount Hood.

Image, 2013, Sign, USFS Road 3530, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Information sign, USFS Road #3530. Image taken June 5, 2013.
Image, 2013, Rock Creek Reservoir, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Map detail, USFS Roads #48 and USFS Road #3530. Map from information panel about the Barlow Road, Rock Creek Reservoir, Wasco County, Oregon. Image taken June 5, 2013.

Barlow Creek ...

Barlow Creek is a tributary to the White River and enters the White at RM 36.

Barlow Creek Crossing ... (original route/USFS Road #3530)

After crossing the White River the Barlow Road route follows the west bank of the White and then the west bank of Barlow Creek, crossing to the east bank of Barlow Creek approximately 1/4 mile above its junction with the White. The road then heads north following the east bank of Barlow Creek, with the White River located to the east.

(T4S, R9E, Sec.13, elevation 3,002 feet)
(45.13.00N, 121.36.51W)

Excerpt from the Barlow Road National Register of Historic Places Nomination Report, 1992:
"... At White River Station the Barlow Road probably followed the present route of Forest Road 3530 a mile north to Barlow Creek. Some emigrants may have stayed close to the margin of the stream or even driven their wagons up the bed of White River. The annual freshets which sweep down the river from the glaciers and snowfields on Mount Hood have obliterated old traces of that route. The distinct trace of the Barlow Road ascends Barlow Creek through an increasingly dense forest and makes a prominent turn at Klinger's Camp. ..."

Image, 2012, Cadastral Survey detail, Barlow Road crossing Barlow Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Crossing Barlow Creek, 1882. Map detail, 1882 Cadastral Survey of T4S R9E, showing the Barlow Road crossing Barlow Creek in Section 13. Cadastral Survey map courtesy U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2012.

Barlow Crossing Campground and Barlow Creek Campground ... (original route/USFS Road #3530)

Two USFS campgrounds are located along USFS Road #3530 just north of the White River Station Campground. The first one is the Barlow Crossing Campground. The Barlow Road passed through today's Barlow Crossing Campground as it followed the west bank of Barlow Creek. The second campground, the Barlow Creek Campground, is located 1.5 miles further north.

Barlow Crossing Campground: (T4S, R9E, Sec.13, elevation 3,002 feet)
(45.13.00N, 121.36.51W)
Barlow Creek Campground: (T4S, R9E, Sec.11, elevation 3,084 feet)
(45.14.06N, 121.37.40W)

USFS Road #48 and #43, Barlow Crossing Campground:

The Barlow Crossing Campground can easily be reached from USFS Road #48 and Road #43. From Wamic, go about 20 miles west on Forest Road #48, then another half mile on Road #43, crossing the White River, before turning right (north) on USFS Road #3530.

Klinger's Camp ... (original route/USFS Road #3530)

(T4S, R9E, Sec.2, elevation 3,199 feet)
(45.14.40N, 121.37.52W)

Excerpt from the Barlow Road National Register of Historic Places Nomination Report, 1992:
"... This site lies to the northeast of the Barlow Road where it makes a bend deep in the forest. ...   Although identified in more recent secondary accounts as a historic site on the Barlow Road, this location probably bears an erroneous identification of such association. ...   This site, a small clearing in the forest, lacks documented association of emigrant use of the road. ..."

Grindstone Campground ... (original route/USFS Road #3530)

The Grindstone Campground is located on USFS Road #3530 on the east bank of Barlow Creek. Historians can not verify whether it was a part of the original part of the Barlow Road or not.

(T4S, R9E, Sec.3, elevation 3,291 feet)
(45.14.50N, 121.39.32W)

Excerpt from the Barlow Road National Register of Historic Places Nomination Report, 1992:
"... In T4S, R9E, Sec.3, SW 1/4, W.M., the Barlow Road passes through an opening of about an acre in the forest. In the twentieth century this site has carried the name Grindstone, presumably because of its assiciation with a grinding stone for sharpening tools. None of the overland diaries for the Barlow Road identify this location. The cadastral surveyors reported no opening in the forest in 1882 when they worked in this area. ...

John Beard, horseback traveler of the Barlow Road in 1947, camped at Grindstone ...   Beard spent Sunday looking for signs of emigrant use of the road and noted: "We found real blazes on two giant firs. They were so deep that they miight well have been made by Barlow and Rector when they scouted out the trail over a hundred years ago". ..."

Following USFS Road #3530 ... (original route/USFS Road #3530)

(T3S, R9E, Sec.33)

Excerpt from the Barlow Road National Register of Historic Places Nomination Report, 1992:
"... In T3S, R9E, Sec.33, W.M., Forest Road 3530 twice crosses Barlow Creek near the center of the section. These crossings lie southeast of Devil's Half Acre. A heavily brushed-in but visible trace of the Barlow Road lies on the east side of Barlow Creek and runs parallel with Road 3530 which is on the west bank between the crossings. Although blocked by fallen logs and nearly impenetrable thickest of vine maple, these ruts are discernible and are indicated on the cadastral plat of survey. The old trace off the Barlow Road becomes synonymous with Forest Road 3530 at the lower margin of Devil's Half Acre. ..."

Fort Deposit ... (original route/USFS Road #3530)

In October 1845 with winter coming on, the Barlow and Palmer wagons stopped in a meadow on the east side of Barlow Creek. Here they made the decision for three men to scout ahead. The rest of the emigrants waited. The three men climbed the slopes of Mount Hood to look for a route west. When the men returned to camp a decision was made that much of the gear would be left and the families would go back to The Dalles to either wait out the winter or find a way to travel down the Columbia River. A cabin was built and two men stayed to protect the supplies. This location became known as "Fort Deposit". Some historians believe that today's "Devils Half Acre Campground" is the location of "Fort Deposit". Current research however suggest today's campground is located north of the Barlow Road camp.

Excerpt from the Barlow Road National Register of Historic Places Nomination Report, 1992:
"... Long a site of speculation and research, Fort Deposit was the place where the initial emigrant party of 1845 cached wagons and goods before setting out on horseback to the Willamette Valley. While precise identification of Fort Deposit is impossible, evidence suggests that it was probably the clearing at the eastern base of Barlow Pass, a site approximately one mile northwest of Devil's Half Acre [NOTE: see ADDENDUM below]. The Barlow Road ascends to the headwaters of Barlow Creek and, at this level acre deep in the forest, turns to the west to make the steep ascent to Barlow Pass a half mile to the north. ...

On July 10, 1976, Russell E. Ofstad, using a metal detector, examined the clearing at the eastern base of Barlow Pass, a site where Barlow Creek Trail No.485 meets Trail No.670 at the trace of the Barlow Road. Excavating where he found indications of metal, Ofstad recovered parts of a heating stove, an axe head, sideboard irons, an ox shoe, ox harness rign, horseshoes, a hub ring, harness buckles, knives and forks, coins, bolts, a harmonica, and other objects of material culture. Ofstad concluded that he had found the site of Fort Deposit. ...

From Devil's Half Acre Campground to the probable site of Fort Deposit to the summit of Barlow Pass the trace of the Barlow Road is closed to vehicle use and has strong historic and visual quality. The road passes through majestic stands of old growth Douglas Fir. The margins are lined with boulders laboriously stacked to the roadside. The segment from the level ground east of the base of the pass to the summit is cleared and used as a cross-country ski trail. Water bars, constructed by Boy Scout troups in the 1980s, have slowed erosion and helped preserve the road trace. ..."

ADDENDUM: Barlow Road National Register of Historic Places Nomination Report, 1992:
"... 1991 addendum, Fort Deposit (?) ...  I recently obtained the 1848 diary of Riley Root.

He wrote: ... "[September] 5th [Departing from Barlow's Gate] Over the rocky hills, 12 miles to camp, on a muddy arm [White River] of Deshutes, flowing from Mount Hood. Ten and a half miles to the arm, 1 1/2 up the same to camp. No grass for our stock.    [September] 6th, 3 miles up Deshutes [White River] valley, to Palmer's cabin. In consequence of having lost some of our cattle in the thick and impenetrable forest, our day's drive was short. A little below Palmer's cabin, are signs of a very rich bog iron ore."

Root's diary confirms that Joel Palmer's cabin for caching supplies was probably on lower Barlow Creek, possibly at its confluence with White River. In light of Palmer's diary of October 20, 1845, mentioning the erection of a cabin, it would appear that Fort Deposit, the cache and wagon yard, was not in T3S, R9E, Sec28. Ofstad, however, found an interesting array of artifacts at this site just east of Barlow Pass.

I have also worked with the Benjamin Cleaver diary. He wrote on September 10, 1848:

"we commenced our travel this morning up the Deschutes [White] River ... we soon left Deschutes & crossed quite a number of fine little Streams and the handsomest pine and cedar trees that I ever Saw. After traveling one mile we came to the old Barlow Cabin. ... at about 10 miles distant we had to go up & down over the Ridge Called the Summit from its being the dividing Ridge of the Kaskade Mountains."

Cleaver's diary seems to confirm even more firmly and specifically that the Barlow/Palmer cache was on lower Barlow Creek in 1845. I did not have copies of Root and Cleaver in 1979 or 1989. I consider these accounts important. ..."

Devil's Half Acre Campground ... (original route/USFS Road #3530)

Today's Devils Half Acre Campground is north of the location of "Fort Deposit".

(T3S, R9E, Sec.28, elevation 3,766 feet)
(45.16.26N, 121.40.47W)

Excerpt from the Barlow Road National Register of Historic Places Nomination Report, 1992:
"... Considerably more than a half acre, this clearing lies east of Barlow Pass near the headwaters of Barlow Creek. The Barlow Road enters the site from the southeast and follows along the eastern margin of the clearing. Forest Road 3530 then cuts across the clearing and ascends to Barlow Pass. The Barlow Road continues in a northerly direction and passes Devil's Half Acre Campground. This site, probably first improved by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s ...   [is located] to the west of the Barlow Road ...

Diaries of overland travelers in the 1840s and the 1850s make no mention of this site. Repeatedly emigrants reported that they had no available feed for their cattle and had to push on as quickly as possible to cross Barlow Pass and get to the fodder at Summit Meadows. The origin of the clearing near the headwaters of Barlow Creek was probably the result of forest fires, perhaps those caused by emigrants. ...   Some reminiscent accounts refer to Devils Half Acre as the Big Deadening. Decaying, burned stumps and logs in this opening confirm past forest fires and the probable origin of both the name and the presence of this grassy clearing. ..."

  • NEXT: Side Trip to Mount Hood
    • Mount Hood ...
    • From Joel Palmer's Journal ...

  • NEXT: Barlow Pass to Oregon Highway 35
    • Overview ...
    • Barlow Pass ...
    • USFS Road #3530 to Barlow Pass ...
    • Between Road #3530 and Road #3531 ...
    • Barlow Pass Sno-Park ...
    • Grave Trail ...
    • Territorial Stage Road ...
    • Pioneer Woman's Grave ...
    • Crossing the East Fork Salmon River ...
    • East Fork Salmon River ... "Rock Wall"
    • East Fork Salmon River ... "Marking the Trail"
    • Oregon Highway 35 and Highway 26 Junction ...

*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.

Lat/Long were obtained from plotting location on National Geographic's TOPO! program, 3.4.3, 2003.

Sources:    [See Barlow Road Sources]
October 2013