We were in Northern California to hike Mount Lassen but were thwarted in that by trail maintenance and wildlfires. As an alternative, we decided to do a hike to Hodges Cabin on the North Fork of Coffee Creek [Supplemental Hike #183 in Sullivan’s 100 Hikes/Travel Guide ~ Southern Oregon & Northern California (Fourth Edition)]. A short hike on a hot day with a bit of history and a creek.
Its trailhead is about 8 miles outside Coffee Creek, California and follows along the North Fork of Coffee Creek. The trail climbs away from the trailhead on Coffee Creek Road, crosses a low shoulder of a ridge, and then follows the creek which runs at the bottom of the canyon below.
At 1.6 miles from the trailhead, we crossed a very stout bridge over the creek – some swimming holes are just past this bridge.
About half the time the trail is away from the creek and the other half close to or next to the water.
Considering that the air temperature went over 90º F as we hiked, these occasional visits to the cool waters of the creek were absolutely welcome. After 3.6 miles (and 1,200 feet of elevation gain) we arrived at Hodges Cabin, the summer home of a 1920’s Los Angeles sand and gravel baron, Walter Hodges. Work on the cabin began in 1920 and was completed in the winter of 1923. It had plumbing (piped water from the creek), electricity from a small Pelton wheel, and a swimming pool. After Walter’s death in 1930, his wife Agnes, daughter Marion, and her husband Robert Warrum, spent their summers at the cabin until 1940. Other owners followed, the Forest Service acquired the property in 1989, and, even though it’s within a wilderness area, decided to preserve it as part of the archeological record.
Some might argue that the cabin and other evidence of the Hodges’ should have been removed from the wilderness but we found it a fascinating glimpse into a time when “being outdoors” meant something different than a nylon tent for a weekend not too far from cell service (although, to be fair, the Hodges’ did have phone service in the form of a wire that went 12 miles down the trail to town).