See Big Craggies Main Page.
To get to the trailhead, you have to find the beautiful little town of Brookings on the Highway 101 on the south Oregon Coast. From Hwy 101, just south of Brookings is the bridge over the Chetco River. On the north side of the bridge is North Bank Road that heads east up the Chetco River towards Loeb State Park. This is a good scenic paved road. Enjoy the beautiful views of the turquoise colored Wild and Scenic Chetco River on your drive.
Loeb State Park is 7.2 miles from Hwy 101. In another .5 mile the road narrows to one paved lane with turnouts. Right where the road narrows is a neat nature trail on the left that has some of the Oregon Redwoods. Stay on this one lane paved road until you cross a long single lane bridge and the road T’s. This should be about 15.4 miles from Hwy 101.
Turn left at this T towards Snow Camp Lookout. The road turns to gravel here and it is a wide good gravel road from here all the way to the trailhead. 2WD low clearance vehicles are okay. Stay on this main road that is occasionally labeled Road 1376. Keep following the signs towards Snow Camp Lookout.
At 28.1 miles from Hwy 101 and just past a marker for Milepost 21 there is a gate and the road is closed. On the left here is the trailhead for Snow Camp Lookout and parking for a few cars. There is an outhouse and picnic table here also. Park here. If you visit later in the year, the gate may be open. If it is open continue on another 1.3 miles to where the road takes a sharp turn to the left and a smaller branch road marked 460 continues straight ahead. Continue straight ahead another .5 mile to the end of the road.
The hike begins at the end of the road. If you parked back at the Snow Camp TH, walk the road to the end. Continue easterly through the brush at the end of the road and up the little ridgeline. Bear to the left after about 300 feet until you can see where dropping off the ridge to the left will be better than breaking brush on the ridgeline. You don’t need to gain any elevation at this point, so stay down off the top of the ridge and walk under the trees where the brush isn’t so thick.
If you are lucky you will find some flagging tape left by others that lead in the general direction that you want to go. Try to follow these red and orange little flags.
There isn’t anything that qualifies as a trail here. Sometimes there is almost an animal track that will lead you through the brush. Your goal is to continue heading east following the contours up and down on the north side of the ridgeline. Do not cross over to the south side of the ridge because it is completely impassable, blocked by brush. Make lots of mental notes of your surroundings so you can find your way back to the road on your return.
After you have persevered for about 1 ½ hours and only traveled about a mile, you will be getting close to Green Craggie that you need to climb because it is easier than breaking brush around it . Eventually, you will break out of the brush on the northwest side of Green Craggie and you will be under a nice old growth canopy of Douglas Fir. To your right or south up a steep hill is Green Craggie. You have a relatively unobstructed steep ascent to the summit climbing about 600 ft of elevation gain above you.
Once you summit Green Craggie you will be able to see Big Craggies still 2 miles away to the east. Follow the east ridge of Green Craggie down towards Big Craggie. You will lose about 200ft in elevation in .3 mile and it ends in a large grassy area. At this point continue descending on the north side of the ridge and keep bearing east. Drop down to where the footing is good and the brush is light under the forest canopy. Continue easterly for about ½ mile before the brush becomes thick again.
Time for more work now. There is a sub-peak between Green Craggie and Big Craggies labeled 4150 on the topo. Do NOT climb this peak. It is steep with a narrow brushy ridge heading towards Big Craggies. Unfortunately, it ends about 400 ft above the saddle you have to cross to get onto Big Craggies proper. Do NOT try to traverse around the side of this peak because the cliffs get steeper and the brush gets thicker. Instead, give 4150 a wide berth to the north. Continue down all the way to about 3,100 ft elevation where you hit the creek bed on the north side of the saddle that connects Big Craggies to 4150.
Head up the creek bed, picking your way around the brush. At about 3,400 ft elevation a ridge comes down from the east that is made up of light colored (almost white) rocks. THIS IS IT! You have made it to Big Craggies. Find a way on to this ridge and follow it somewhat southeast and then northeast towards the summit. I followed this slope all the way to the summit ridge and then followed the ridge southeast to the summit. It is easier walking along the ridge. It took me 6.5 hours to get to the summit and another 5 hours to get down.
Return to your car the same way you came. Pay attention to where you are going, otherwise you will meander off to the north and add lots of extra bushwhacking to your climb. Plan on taking 10-12 hours for this hike. It only covers about 7.5, but gains about 3,500 ft. with all the ups and downs.
Water, Hat, Good Shoes, Long Pants, Long Sleeve Shirt, Gloves, and the Ten Essentials. There is nothing technical about this route. There may be water in one of the little creeks along the road, and there are a couple of springs on the north side of Green Craggie. I took 6 liters of water to do this hike and I had ½ liter left when I got back to the car.
A GPS or compass is handy to verify that you are heading in the right direction. I love my GPS when it comes time to find my way back out of the brush. For most of this hike you are in brush or covered with forest canopy. It is difficult to see any landmarks including Big Craggies or Green Craggie. Marking your way with flagging tape may be a good idea as long as you pick it up on your way back out.