I have a hard time believing that we’ve lived in Cottage Grove for almost 15 years and we just discovered Swordfern Trail. Located in the Umpqua National Forest, it is a gem of a trail that we will be enjoying again in the future, perhaps with friends.
Accessed from Rujada Campground, just 21 miles southeast of Cottage Grove, Swordfern Trail is a 2 mile loop trail which follows Layng Creek, then loops through the forests around the campground on an old logging road before retuning back to Layng Creek. The trail is aptly named for the humongous sword ferns which line the trail and cascade down the hill sides. Tucked into the second growth Douglas fir trees and the masses of sword ferns, you will also find many large, very old, tree stumps. They are remains from logging in the early 1900s, and if you look closely you’ll see springboard cuts, remnants from an early logging technique.
We visited Swordfern Trail on our way home from Moon Falls last weekend. With September’s record rains, the ferns were lush and the mushrooms were in abundance. I think the trail would be gorgeous a little earlier in the fall for the fall colors, and I am excited to go back next spring to look for wild flowers. While there is a shorter spur trail that will turn this loop into a 1.6 mile walk, I suggest taking the full 2 mile trail if possible.
Getting there: To get to Rujada Campground and Swordfern Trail, head out of Cottage Grove east on Row River Road for 19 miles to Layng Creek Road. Turn left (northeast) on Layng Creek Road (Road #17) and continue for approximately 2 miles. The entrance to the campground is on your right. During the winter, the gate to the campground will be closed but there are many places to park outside the gate. Once you’ve crossed the bridge over Layng Creek, veer left for day use parking and the start of the loop trail.