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Hawk Mountain from Graham Pass Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Lookout and Mt. Jefferson, Hawk Mountain (bobcat)
Trail sign, Graham Pass Trailhead (bobcat)
Fawn Meadow, Rho Ridge (bobcat)
Road crossing, Rho Ridge Trail (bobcat)
The hike to Hawk Mountain from Graham Pass (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Graham Pass TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Hawk Mountain Lookout
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 10.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2050 feet
  • High Point: 5,277 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Late spring into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

This undulating hike over prominences on the southern half of Rho Ridge takes you to an old lookout site and cabin with an outstanding view of Mount Jefferson and the Three Sisters. While some of the hike is through regenerating clearcuts (There will be huckleberries galore in late summer), you'll also encounter a couple of lush meadows and walk in shady unlogged ridge-top woodland. This route, part of the old Skyline Trail and currently the Rho Ridge Trail #564, is also open to motorcycles; however, the trail is so rarely maintained that, with quite a few downed trees, it hasn't seen ATV traffic in years.

From the sign at the back of the large parking area, take the Rho Ridge Trail, which makes a wide switchback to the right. Ascend through young conifers in a former clearcut and reach a decommissioned road - the first of several you will be crossing. Make a level traverse in old clearcuts and cross another road bed. The trail veers right and then passes through a clearcut in a bear-grass meadow. Right after you exit the cut, you’ll encounter a massive noble fir, the biggest tree on this trail. Continue along the broad crest of Rho Ridge in a grouseberry/bear-grass carpet, and pass over another old road among Douglas-firs and mountain hemlocks. The trail drops, crosses a draw, and swings left. Pass lush Fawn Meadow, which positively bursts with shooting stars in late spring, on your left. Traverse up through a thicket of rhododendrons and cross another road bed. Continue rising to another old logging road, catching glimpses of Sisi Butte's silhouette through the trees. Descend from here and then traverse up a slope, passing a large old western hemlock. The trail drops gradually before rising again. Descend once more to hike along a broad ridge crest. Then head up again in unlogged woods with a dense huckleberry understory. Reach a decommissioned road, and go ten yards to the right to resume the trail. Keep rising through a clearcut carpeted with bear-grass and catch a glimpse of Mount Hood. The trail levels once you leave the cut, but drops a little steeply before traversing down a slope. There will be a creek and a boggy linear meadow (Round Meadow) to your right. Reach the Rho Ridge-Hawk Mountain Trail Junction, and make a left on Trail #564A.

Hike up a slope in mountain hemlock, silver fir, and noble fir woodland. The trail curves to the right below the ridge crest and then proceeds up the crest through huckleberries. Reach the site of the Hawk Mountain Lookout and its iconic cabin. A 60-foot lookout tower also once stood here. The summit rock garden is dominated by desert parsley, lupine, paintbrush, woolly sunflower and common juniper and offers an outstanding view to Mount Jefferson and the Three Sisters. If the cabin is unlocked, you can take a peek inside, but do not tamper with any of the objects. After exploring this fascinating viewpoint, return to the Graham Pass Trailhead the way you came.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • none

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Breitenbush, OR #525
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Clackamas River Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon, 2nd edition, by William L. Sullivan
  • Hiking the Oregon Skyline by Charles M. Feris

More Links


Page 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.