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Big Huckleberry Mountain Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Ridge of meadows, Grassy Knoll Trail (bobcat)
Shady Douglas-fir woods, Grassy Knoll Trail (bobcat)
View of Grassy Knoll, Grassy Knoll Trail (bobcat)
View to Mt. Adams, Grassy Knoll Trail (bobcat)
Lupine, balsamroot, paintbrush and mariposas, Grassy Knoll Trail (bobcat)
Route to Big Huckleberry Mountain on the Grassy Knoll Trail (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Grassy Knoll TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Big Huckleberry Mountain
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 11.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2935 feet
  • High Point: 4,202 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Mid-summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable:Yes
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

Following the former route of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Grassy Knoll Trail takes you to a wildflower bonanza complemented by expansive views. The meadow at the trailhead is a good starting point for inspecting blooms. The trail then affords excellent vistas over the Big Lava Bed and proceeds through a series of meadows to the most stunning meadow of all, at the summit of Grassy Knoll, site of an old lookout. You can hike on if you want and the only downside of this experience is the rather potholed and narrow approach by road.

The trail begins at the sign for the Grassy Knoll Trail #146 and heads up a wonderful flower meadow. Pause if you're a botanizer: there are 40+ species blooming here in July! Enter the woods, drop a little, and then head up through a thimbleberry thicket and Douglas-fir/western hemlock forest with an understory of vine maple. Pass through a clearing and then an opening with views east to Mount Adams through the trees. Silver firs enter the conifer mix. Rise through a clearing and then the path drops. At a rocky clifftop viewpoint, there are views over the Big Lava Bed to Little Huckleberry Mountain, Indian Heaven, and Mount Adams. There’s one more rock outcrop viewpoint a little higher. Bright pink rock penstemon blooms here in early summer.

Drop down a forested ridge and then up through meadows before dropping again in silver fir/noble fir woods. Pass across a xeric, moss-covered, mariposa lily and onion-spangled meadow and then descend through clearings and meadows to get a first view of Grassy Knoll. Pass the remains of a wood structure, perhaps connected with the 1953 lookout rebuilding, and head up into shady woods. Reach the slope of Grassy Knoll and get a view south to Mount Hood. The trail switchbacks on the open, flowered slope and then heads briefly into the woods, giving an clear view across to Mount Adams. Balsamroot, lupine, and paintbrush are the signature blooms among many others. Back on the grassy expanse, a spur left leads to the remains of the old lookout. The lookout was first established in 1934. It was demolished by winds in 1952 and materials were flown in to replace it in June, 1953.

From Grassy Knoll, the trail heads down into and then out of woods across an open ridge. Drop and then rise up this dry meadow before the trail proceeds at the level. Descend into woods, pass through a couple small meadows, enter another woodland, and then reach another long meadow. Rise from here into shady forest, which is followed by another clearing at Grassy Pass. Then you're dropping down into Douglas-fir, noble fir and silver fir forest. Pass Cold Spring Camp and rise in an understory of huckleberry, vine maple, Solomon plume and lady fern. The trail drops gently down past a large rock outcropping up to the right. Ascend below a rock face and then through a thimbleberry thicket. The trail drops a little to cross a small creek and heads up below a rocky prominence. Make a level traverse and then there’s a short, steep uphill to the Pacific Crest-Grassy Knoll Trail Junction.

Go right here, and then right again very quickly on the Big Huckleberry Mountain Trail. This heads up through the understory to the bald former lookout site on Big Huckleberry Mountain. Trees are growing up around the site, but there are still views to Mount Adams and Mount Hood and wildflowers sprinkled about in season.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Panther Creek Area Trail Map (USFS)
  • Green Trails Maps: Wind River, WA #397
  • Green Trails Maps: Willard, WA #398
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Adams Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hikes in the Columbia Gorge by Don J. Scarmuzzi
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Day Hiking: Columbia River Gorge by Craig Romano
  • 95 Virtual Hikes of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument by Northwest Hiker
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Skamania 231: A Scrambler's Guide by Kelly Wagner
  • 33 Hiking Trails: Southern Washington Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Exploring Washington's Wild Areas by Marge & Ted Mueller
  • Hiking the Gifford Pinchot Backcountry by the Columbia Group Sierra Club

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.