Looking for quiet? Check out Aaron Mercer Reservoir – including the “Infamous” OREGON Rock!

I am a road runner who likes to add an off road adventure to my long weekend runs whenever possible. During this time of “no races” and “quarantine” I find myself drawn to adventure runs more so than when I’m in training. If I can’t have a big race to look forward too, I can plan a fun weekend run! I’d like to share with you one of my very favorites!

I first ran this route several years ago with a couple friends. After two or three times out that way (not always going all the way to the Reservoir) I found the “Infamous” OREGON Rock! It was the year I first hit over 2000 miles of running for the year and wanted to go take a photo with this rock to celebrate. I know, runners do weird things!!!! Since then, I’ve taken as many runner friends who would join me, for photos with that rock and a selective few have managed the mileage it takes to run all the way to Aaron Mercer Reservoir.

My mileage shown in Strava is from my house in Dallas in a neighborhood off West Ellendale and Wyatt. I will also share the total mileage, if you drive in as close as possible. The Dallas side is the only way I know how to get to the Reservoir. You can probably get there from Fall City as there are roads everywhere back in the mountain that I haven’t explored yet, but I don’t know what roads to take.

  • From W. Ellendale/Wyatt you will go out of town about a mile.
    • Wyatt is about a mile past Dallas Safeway if you are new to town.
  • You will then take a right onto Robb Mill, staying to the left on Martin Road.
  • Follow Rickreall Creek along Martin Road (creek is on your left) for about a half mile.
  • You will then need to park.
    • There is a large open area full of rocks and a rock wall that is roped off. Park along the creek side across from this rock area. I know this is safe. I’ve not only seen many bikers park here, but had friends meet me here. It is important that you do park here. If you drive onto the gravel, you will soon just have to turn around and drive back out, no parking on the gravel road allowed.

Now on foot or bike, you will come to a Y in the road. Stay on Martin/now Rickreall Creek Rd to the left along the creek. You will soon come to a gate. It’s easy to go around. This road is closed to ALL MOTORIZED VEHICLES but on foot or bike is permitted. I need to note, during working hours this road will have work/log trucks so I never run this during those hours. Also, I don’t advise running this route during hunting season. We are entering the woods now. I have found a couple hunting knives out on this gravel road.

Keep moving along the gravel road. About a mile/mile-and-a-half in, you will come to the “Infamous” OREGON ROCK. It will be to your right, just before coming to the rock working area (also on your right). This is definitely a time to stop and take a quick picture to prove you were out here.

Image may contain: 3 people, including Julie Mullins and Erica Manzo, people standing, shoes, grass, sky, outdoor and nature


After you take your photos, keep going. Go past the work area and enjoy the beauty around you. You will eventually come to another gate, just walk around it like the first gate and keep going. It’s a gradual uphill all the way to the Reservoir and you will begin to fill it at some point, but it’s all so gorgeous out there. It’s a place that showcases Oregon’s beauty and I love it. I have seen deer out here, and birds. That’s it, but it’s clear there is other wildlife lurking in the woods. I’ve always felt safe on this road, but I’ve also never gone out here by myself.

You will eventually come to another Y in the road. Don’t go up the hill to the right, stay along the creek to the left, we are getting close now. Just when you think, “I will never get there” you will round the corner and there’s the Reservoir in all it’s beautify, to your left! From my house, off Wyatt/Ellendale this is a 17.50 mile trip as you will see on the Strava link at the bottom of the page. If you drive in and park on Martin Rd, you are looking at about 15 miles round trip.

You can keep going out past the Reservoir. I have only gone a mile or two past the Reservoir, but there is clearly more to explore when you have the time and energy.

Image may contain: Julie Mullins, tree, sky, dog, hat, outdoor and nature

This time out, Andrew turned his ankle!!!!

I do need to give you a  warning if you are thinking about running this route. I’ve taken my running friends out on this adventure three times (all the way to the reservoir). Three times, someone has rolled an ankle. This is concerning as there is no vehicles allowed. All three times, by friends had to walk out and deal with the aftermath. I’ve personally never had any issues, maybe I’m actually the ankle curse, not the road, ha! Just beware, you have to watch your footing as there are pot holes and depending on the season, the gravel is packed more or very loose. Side note, I’ve run this in the Spring in great weather and in the Winter at 17 degrees. I’ve always enjoyed this run, but it always takes a little longer than I thought it would. Always worth the time and energy!

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Always worth the effort!



  • 15 miles, out and back from Martin Road


  • 472 ft


  • Gravel (watch for pot holes)

Strava (Run Link from Dallas)


Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, sky, outdoor and nature

Can’t get enough of the OREGON Rock!

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