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Henline Mountain Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Battle Ax and Mt. Jefferson from the summit of Henline Mountain (bobcat)
Vine maple leaves, Henline Mountain Trail (bobcat)
View to Little Cedar Creek from Henline Mountain (bobcat)
Avalanche lilies (Ertyhronium montanum), Henline Mountain (bobcat)
The Stack Creek dome from Henline Mountain (bobcat)
The trail to the lookout site and summit of Henline Mountain (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Henline Mountain TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Henline Mountain
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 7.8 miles
  • High point: 4,650 feet
  • Elevation gain: 2,955 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Mid-spring into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No
Falling
Poison Oak

Contents

Hike Description

A switchbacking trail, which once began at the Pearl Creek Guard Station, leads up through montane forest carpeted with bear-grass to the Henline Mountain Lookout Site, which offers expansive views south along the Cascade crest past Mount Jefferson as well as west across the Willamette Valley to Marys Peak in the Coast Range. The lookout site is the end of the official trail, but a narrower volunteer-maintained pathway continues one mile up the spine of the ridge to the true summit, from which views are a little more restricted. Little rock gardens along this part of the route bloom with phlox, paintbrush, and larkspur in late spring. Part of the Opal Creek Wilderness, created in 1996, Henline Mountain is named after a 19th century settler who also prospected in the Little North Santiam Mining District.

The trail is across the road from the parking pullout. Head up a scree slope and note poison oak sprouting trailside. Switchback under Douglas-fir and western hemlock with vine maple, salal, bracken, Oregon grape and hazel forming the understory. Manzanita grows in the openings. Switchback three more times and note burned snags from a long-ago fire. Traverse up and cross a talus slope and head back into the woods to switchback and reach a rocky lookout point above the talus slope with views across to the Elkhorn Ridge. Switchback twice more and come to the top of a rocky cliff and another viewpoint over the Little North Santiam drainage. Manzanita and oaks rim this open space. Switchback four times after this, noting rhododendrons, chinquapin and bear-grass, and come to an open area with several manzanita bushes. The trail rises and then you switchback at a view of a rounded cliff face across the way. Traverse and then switchback three times before the trail turns to the left to head up the ridgeline. The trail levels across a scree slope below rocky prominences. Battle Ax and the top of Mount Jefferson come into view to the southeast. Round a point, head up, and then hike on the level below the ridge crest. Noble fir and silver fir enter the conifer mix. In fall, vine maples turn a brilliant red on the scree. Switchback four times and reach the ridge crest, and then cross scree to a viewpoint on the left. Then make several tight switchbacks up the nose of the ridge and traverse up its west side. Mountain hemlocks enter the mix. Switchback up to a trail junction. The spur to the right leads to the open promontory which is the site of the old lookout. Alaska yellow-cedar, noble fir, Douglas-fir and mountain hemlock hug the steep slopes; chinquapin, hairy manzanita, and common juniper make up the shrubbery here. You can see the ridge line towards Whetstone Mountain as well as south to Mount Jefferson. Clearcuts dominate to the west and, beyond the Willamette Valley, Marys Peak rises prominently in the Coast Range.

Many turn around at the lookout site, the end of the official trail, but to reach the true summit of Henline Mountain, you can continue onward up the ridge on a volunteer-maintained path for about another mile. Head back to pick up the trail beyond the junction. Pass through a rhododendron thicket and drop down along the ridgecrest. The trail continues along the spine of the ridge with views east and west. Reenter woods and traverse up the west side of the ridge, then switchback to the right side of the ridge. Still ascending, get a glimpse of Mount Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack as well as the rounded cliffs of a rocky dome above the Stack Creek drainage. Make six short switchbacks and walk along the ridge under silver firs and mountain hemlocks. This upper part of the trail is narrower, but well-logged. Reach the top of a knoll and drop down into a dense silver fir woodland on a saddle. The trail rises to an opening cloaked in common juniper. The true summit of Henline Mountain is actually right next to this opening. From here, there’s a sighting of Mount Hood and the pinnacle on the Nasty Rock ridge (sometimes called Not Nasty Rock) as well as views south and east to Mount Beachie, Battle Ax, Olallie Butte, Mount Jefferson, and Three Fingered Jack.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Opal Creek Wilderness, Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area
  • Geo-Graphics: Bull of the Woods and Opal Creek Wilderness Map
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Willamette National Forest: Detroit Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Willamette National Forest

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • Self-issued wilderness permit

Trip Reports

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Guidebooks that cover this hike

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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.