Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Cone Peak Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Wildflower meadows below Cone Peak (Greg Lief)
Flora (Steve Hart)
Fauna (Steve Hart)
Washington Lily (Steve Hart)
  • Start point: Tombstone Pass TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Cone Peak
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 7.1 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 1740 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: summer, fall
  • Family Friendly: yes
  • Backpackable: yes
  • Crowded: yes during summer weekends

Contents

Hike Description

Cone Peak is located near Tombstone Pass along Highway 20 east of Sweet Home, Oregon. It is a veritable wildflower cornucopia with over 300 species, along with some 17 tree species. The best time to visit is the first half of July, but the views are gorgeous on any clear day.

From the trailhead walk south on the dirt road just past the informational signs. Drop off to the left of the road on an unsigned single track trail that can be hidden in grass late in the summer. This first turnoff has been missed by more than one group. It's just scant feet from the lot.

The first half mile is a gradual descent below Highway 20. There's a junction with the Tombstone Pass Nature Trail at mile 0.3 and another at mile 0.4. Turn right and walk the quarter mile loop, if you like. It passes through an interesting meadow filled with flowers in July. Either path will bring you to the same second trail junction. From there, head up the hill to a highway crossing. Cross the highway, and walk 50 feet to the left to pick up the main trail which heads up into the forest.

The trail is well-graded with numerous switchbacks, passing by numerous different types of trees. At the 6th switchback you will catch your first glimpse of the wildflower meadows... keep going and your patience shall be amply rewarded! After several more switchbacks, you will find yourself in open meadows littered with penstemon, larkspur, paintbrush, and stonecrop. Cone Peak will be directly ahead of you, with Iron Mountain to the west (left) and Echo Mountain to the right.

Proceed on the trail through the wildflower meadows. You will walk downhill across a swale, and then angle left (west) toward Iron Mountain. The loop continues through forest, and then circles around the west side of Iron Mountain. Turn left and head uphill at the Iron Mountain Trail. It's almost a mile to a new observation platform at the top. Look for washington lilies on this climb, as well as very colorful rock formations. If you are doing this hike on a weekend, expect this Iron Mountain summit spur trail to be packed with people of all ages.

After taking in the views at the top, head back down to the Cone Peak Trail. Turn left and you'll soon come to a second trail junction. The trail downhill here leads a short distance to the Iron Mountain Trailhead, which features a restroom, should you need one. To complete the hike, head downhill on the Cone Peak Trail almost a mile to Highway 20. Walk across the road and scramble downhill to a short connector trail. Walk south on this path about 1/10 of a mile to the Santiam Wagon Road. Turn left here and walk the abandoned road eastward. After a bit, the trail leaves the abandoned roadway and switchbacks up to the summit of Tombstone Pass and your car in the trailhead parking lot.

Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required at Tombstone Pass parking area.
  • Leash recommended for dogs.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

"100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades" by William L. Sullivan

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.