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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation September 23, 2017


8/8/2017 11:49:00 AM
A visit to Roaring Spring
Roaring Spring emerges from a hillside north of Camp Sherman. photo by Craig Eisenbeis
+ click to enlarge
Roaring Spring emerges from a hillside north of Camp Sherman. photo by Craig Eisenbeis

By Craig Eisenbeis


When a friend recently asked me what I knew about Roaring Spring near Camp Sherman, my answer was, "Nothing" - so we decided to do something to remedy that. It took a fair amount of Googling and map research to locate even the general area. As it turned out, that information was only good enough to get us close. But that was fine; we are always up for a little exploration.

Roaring Spring is about a half mile northwest of Sheep Springs Horse Camp, which is three miles due west of Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery on the Metolius River. All maps we found had the words "Roaring Spring" on the north side of the 200 Road, which leads to Sheep Springs. The first thing to understand, however, is that - despite the location of the words - the spring itself is on the south side of that road.

To begin narrowing down the location, we parked at the junction of the 200 Road and Road 1230. Theoretically, Roaring Creek crosses Road 1230 here, but the creek was anything but roaring. Even in this wet year, it was completely dry. We had read that the spring was just off the Metolius-Windigo Trail, so we located the trail crossing and followed the trail southeast.

Eventually, we could hear water in the creek; so we dropped down off the trail to investigate. We found the creek just fine; but, as it turned out, we missed spotting Roaring Spring by about 100 feet. So, we continued on down the trail until we reached the junction that connects the main trail to the Sheep Springs Horse Camp.

We walked up to the horse camp and saw that the camp host was in, so we decided to ask for directions rather than continue to wander aimlessly. This camp caters solely to an equestrian clientele, and the host proudly touted the camp's virtues. Sheep Springs (the waters) are none too impressive, however, consisting of a swampy area filled with alders and willows at the edge of the campground.

The camp host seemed mildly amused by our unsuccessful quest to find Roaring Spring but confirmed that it was, indeed, worthy of discovery. As we had already concluded, we had passed the spring along the Metolius-Windigo Trail and would have to retrace our steps. In the end, we managed to log a couple of miles in a search that might have covered only a few hundred yards.

Like many of the Cascade springs in our area, Roaring Spring suddenly emerges - seemingly from nowhere. The nature of our Cascade volcanic landscape is such that the Cascade snowmelt is carried underground, sometimes for many miles through sub-surface aquifers.

Unlike the Head of the Metolius or the Head of Jack Creek, where a full-fledged stream bursts forth, Roaring Spring is much less ostentatious - and scarcely roars at all. It just sort of leaks from all over a hillside, coming together in a burbling little stream that instills some life into the otherwise dry stream bed of Roaring Creek.

Actually, there is so much green moss and other vegetation where the water surfaces, that the spring is easier to hear than it is to see. Maybe that's why it is thought to roar. In any event, braving a mosquito or two, we pulled out our lunch snacks and sat on a log where we could watch the picturesque little spring gurgle its way down the slope.

If you would like to be spared our wanderings and find your way straight to the spring, read on; otherwise, skip to the last paragraph. The secret to finding Roaring Spring is simple. If you don't hear Roaring Creek flowing, you are too far west on the trail. If you're traveling east and the stream is sounding fainter, you've gone too far east. Our initial intuition had proved correct; and, when we emerged from finally finding the spring, we were in exactly the same spot where we had first searched!

To discover Roaring Spring for yourself, travel west on Highway 20 from Sisters for nine miles and turn right (north) onto the Camp Sherman Road (Road 14). Follow the road about 4.5 miles into Camp Sherman to the stop sign and continue straight onto Road 1410 for another 3.5 miles and turn left on Road 12 to Road 1260. From there, it's about a mile to the 200 Road where you turn right and go another mile, where you will arrive at Sheep Springs. The Metolius-Windigo Trail parallels the 200 Road on the left (southwest) side. You can pick up the trail there or at the junction of Road 1230, which is less than a mile ahead. The last few miles of road are gravel.









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