McClendon Ford Trail
Distance 1.5 miles
Elevation 1,050-700 feet
Drive time from Gasquet: 1 hour
Directions: The trailhead is the same as for the South Kelsey Trail. From Hwy 199 just east of Hiouchi, turn south onto South Fork Road. Travel 13.7 miles to a paved road going to the right one mile past Steven Bridge. This is the G-O Road. Forest Service Route 15. Continue south 3.5 miles and turn left on FS 15N39. Travel another 2 miles to the trailhead where there is a picnic table and vault toilet and parking for 10 vehicles.
The McClendon Ford trail is the perfect get away from summertime crowds and the perfect short hike to a scenic pool. The hike starts at the trailhead for the South Kelsey Trail but one half mile in the trail splits and the McClendon trail branches off to the left and continues for another mile. The walking is easy and mostly downhill on the way in. You’ll pass through luscious groves of ferns and giant Port Orford Cedar and Douglas Fir. A few streams even run year round and cross the trail.
For almost the entire hike you can see the South Fork of the Smith River below in all its sparkling shades of blue and green. At the end of the trail a sandy beach welcomes picnicking and a calm pool offers swimmers relief from a hot day.