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A walk along a piece of Oregon's history between Pipe Fork and Panther Gulch Road.

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Point to Point

2,463' 751 m


2,242' 683 m


1,667' 508 m


1,616' 493 m



Avg Grade (5°)


Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Historical Significance · Wildflowers

The trail is open all year but can be hot and dry during the summer months.

Need to Know

There is limited roadside parking at and near the northern Panther Gulch Trailhead. There are no amenities at this trailhead and no potable water along the trail. Carry adequate amounts of water with you. As of 2021, there is no direct road access to the southern trailhead at Pipe Fork. This trailhead can be accessed from the end of Bureau of Land Management Road 39-5-23.6 (East Fork Road). There is extremely limited (1-2 vehicle) parking at the end of this road.


In the mid-1870s, J. T. Layton built (using Chinese labor) a 21 mile long ditch to bring water from upper Williams Creek (Pipe Fork) to his mine in Ferris Gulch. Along the way, the ditch crossed what is today Panther Gulch Road. Several years ago, the Bureau of Land Management, in cooperation with local volunteers, restored the trail along side this ditch north from Panther Gulch Road to the Chinese Wall (Layton Ditch Trail (North)). Plans were then laid to restore the ditch trail south from Panther Gulch to its start at Pipe Fork. Although this restoration is still a work in progress, the trail is currently relatively easy to follow between these two points - but in a few spots you may have to search some for the trail's continuation.

The ditch was graded at about 14 feet per mile (0.5 inches per rod), so you hardly notice that you are hiking "uphill" as you go south toward its source at Pipe Fork. About a mile south of Panther Gulch, the ditch is cut by BLM Road 39-5-2 and you have to negotiate a slope before picking up the trail again.

At 1.6 miles, the ditch has been obliterated by a combination of natural erosion and road-building, so a trail has been built down and around this lost section. After a little less than a mile on this diversion, you get back to the ditch.

At 2.7 miles, you pass another future site of a trailhead and a kiosk, before turning north to go around the ridge between Panther Gulch and the East Fork of Williams Creek. The ditch is filled-in along here but reappears fairly soon.

At 3.8 miles you pass another future sign site and continue south along the west side of the ridge. This is the one of the few places where this trail offers a view of anything other than itself and forest. From here south, much of the ditch is still intact but sections of it had been obliterated by old roads so, for some short distances, these old roads became the trail.

At 5.5 miles, you pass a gravel road (BLM 39-5-14.2) coming up from the northwest. At some point in the future, a trailhead and a kiosk will be placed along it and its connector road (BLM 39-5-23.1). These stretches of old road do, occasionally, afford you a view of Big Sugarloaf Peak to the south. In it's last mile, the trail is unimpacted by roads and runs alongside a still evident ditch, just like it did back in the day. The trail ends in the forest above the East Fork of Williams Creek (site on another planned trailhead).


Shared By:

BK Hope

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The ditch trail near its end at Pipe Fork
Aug 29, 2021 near Williams, OR
The ditch trail (with the ditch itself filled in) as it goes around the ridge above Panther Gulch
Aug 29, 2021 near Williams, OR
The ditch trail just south of Panther Gulch.
Aug 29, 2021 near Williams, OR



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Jan 31, 2018
BK Hope