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Devil's Peak from Hunchback Mountain Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mt. Hood from Devil's Peak (bobcat)
The catwalk, Hunchback Mountain (bobcat)
Rock overhang, Hunchback Mountain Trail (bobcat)
Meadow, Hunchback Mountain Trail (bobcat)
Heart-leaf buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum), Hunchback Mountain Trail (bobcat)
Hunchback Mountain Trail to Devil's Peak (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Hunchback Mountain TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Devil's Peak
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 15.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 5940 feet
  • High Point: 5,045 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

This is a big elevation wilderness hike that switchbacks up and up and then undulates along a high, forested ridge: every time you descend, however, means you will have to go up even more! The final destination is the lookout and viewpoint atop Devil's Peak, but along the way you will encounter woodland wildflowers in season, some rugged, rocky viewpoints, and unlogged montane woodland with a variety of habitats.

The Hunchback Mountain Trail #793 begins on the south side of the parking area under Douglas-fir, western red-cedar, western hemlock, and big-leaf maple on a carpet of lady fern, deer fern, sword fern, and salal. The trail switchbacks at a spring house and rises to another switchback at the new wilderness sign and a small cistern/dam. There are two more switchbacks and then a traverse before another switchback. The trail levels at a ridgecrest of Oregon grape and sword fern and then drops to a saddle. From here, the trail heads up and switchbacks, traverses, switchbacks, and then passes under mossy ramparts. There are three short switchbacks at another rocky outcropping. Pass a campsite and then wind up before switchbacking five times to more mossy ramparts. There are three more switchbacks to higher rocky palisades and then a traverse along the slope through rhododendrons. Wind up to the ridge crest, then drop slightly to traverse the western slope of the ridge through a carpet of salal. There’s a short, steep drop down an open manzanita slope. A spur left leads to a viewpoint over the Still Creek valley. The trail drops past an andesite outcrop and then winds steeply up to the breccia/rimrock cliffs. From here, the top of Mount Hood is visible on a clear day.

The trail drops and traverses up the east side of a steep slope under Douglas-fir, hemlock and cedar. A sign points to the Rockpile Viewpoint on the right, which offers a vista of Mount Hood. The trail drops below a talus slope and switchbacks twice at a second talus field before reaching the ridge crest. Now the path undulates along, passes spur to a helispot viewpoint, and produces encounters with some interesting rock outcrops. Traverse the east side of the slope, where silver firs now enter the forest mix. Head up to a rocky crest, and make another east side traverse before reaching the crest again and a narrow andesite catwalk. Rise steeply, drop, and then ascend steeply again before reaching the sign for the Great Pyramid. Head out along this steep-sided promontory and make a couple of little scrambles to reach the end, where you can look down on the lush green cleft of the lower valley of the Salmon River.

From the Great Pyramid, wind down steeply among rhododendrons, bear-grass, and Oregon grape, switchback, and descend to a long, grassy clearing on the ridge crest. Now undulate along in Douglas-fir/hemlock woods, sometimes encountering large boulders of volcanic breccia with significant overhangs. Then wind up through a vine maple/devil’s club clearing under large silver firs and Douglas-firs and into a copse of cedars. Reach the ridge crest, descend, and then rise steeply. Hike on the level for a short distance, then drop before rising to the Hunchback Mountain-Green Canyon Way Trail Junction.

Keep left and make several drops and rises along the ridge. Tiger lilies bloom here in the summer and the forest floor sprouts coral root and bear-grass. This upper part of the Hunchback Mountain Trail may be unmaintained late into the season and there could be a fair amount of blowdown to negotiate. Pass through a couple of sunny meadows blooming with lupine, paintbrush, woolly sunflower, mariposa lilies, buckwheat, and cinquefoil. Keep rising, skirting a Sitka alder and thimbleberry thicket to reenter a forest of silver and noble fir. Pass a spring area and drop over the right side of the ridge. Head up to the ridge crest again below rocky outcrops, and then drop below the crest immediately. Again, regain the ridge crest. A spur left leads past a campsite and down to a spring. Come to the junction of the spur trail to Devil's Peak and go right.

It’s a few yards up to the lookout. The Devil's Peak Lookout is maintained by volunteers and is open to all-comers, first-come, first-served. The expansive views have shrunk somewhat over the years as trees have grown up around the summit. Walk down from the lookout tower to viewpoints over the wilderness and south to Olallie Butte, Mount Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack. There’s a great view north to Mount Hood and, on a clear day you should be able to see the Washington mountains from here. The peak is fringed with a forest of Douglas-fir, subalpine fir, noble fir, and mountain hemlock. Common juniper forms mats among the rocks blooming with paintbrush, lousewort, penstemon, and phlox.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Government Camp, OR #461
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Opal Creek Wilderness, Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • First-come, first-served for an overnight at the lookout

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington 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.