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Little Huckleberry Mountain Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mt. Adams from Little Huckleberry Mountain (bobcat)
One-mile marker, Little Huckleberry Mountain Trail (bobcat)
After the big bend, Little Huckleberry Mountain Trail (bobcat)
The Big Lava Bed from Little Huckleberry Mountain (bobcat)
The trail to the summit of Little Huckleberry Mountain (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo

Contents

Hike Description

Little Huckleberry Mountain forms the western horn of the Monte Cristo Range and rises from the eastern margins of the Big Lava Bed. The incised trail here is an old one that saw plenty of use as a lookout trail and also as a cattleman’s trail when livestock foraged in the forest here. The mountain lives up to its name, and huckleberry bushes can be found at all elevations although the best pickings are in the summit area. Views from the top are expansive: Mount Adams dominates the eastern skyline, Mount Rainier can be seen to the north, and to the west Mount Saint Helens and the Indian Heaven ridgeline are prominent. Mount Hood and the peaks of the Columbia Gorge are part of an expansive vista to the south.

Hike up the wide trail under Douglas-firs, hemlocks, western white pines, and western red-cedars. A few lodgepole pines can also be found in the forest mix. Soon a carpet of bear-grass and huckleberry establishes itself. The trail runs up a ridge with a deep ravine on the left. Pass a little wooden half-mile marker on a tree and, after a steep climb uphill, reach a short level stretch of trail. Make a gently rising traverse and pass two one-mile markers, one on either side of the trail. Now silver fir and noble fir indicate a truly montane environment. Drop down a slope of vine maple thickets and make an undulating traverse before ascending more steeply and passing the 1 ½ mile marker. Cross a rocky dry creek bed and pass a spring by the side of the trail. Find yourself walking up a shallow draw and reach Spring Camp, marked by a fire pit enclosed by a galvanized tub. The sign here is now unreadable. The campsite has its own little spring.

From here, the trail rises steeply and makes a turn around the slope to traverse now in a northeasterly direction through a carpet of bear-grass and huckleberry. Near the summit, lodgepole pines enter the mix of conifers again, and common juniper, huckleberry, boxwood, and wild strawberry form the groundcover in a more open area, where the main trail bends to the left and reaches the summit and foundation pillars of the lookout site, where a cupola style lookout was erected in 1920. Lupine, columbine, and paintbrush bloom on the ridge crest in the summer. The summits of Monte Carlo and Monte Cristo are to the east, where the Trout Lake Valley is dominated by Mount Adams. Mount Rainier can be seen on the northern horizon. Walk behind some of the summit trees to see Mount Saint Helens and the spine of Indian Heaven.

You can explore the summit area a little more: where the trail makes a turn 15 yards before the summit, take another trail that leads down to a large cairn of a fire pit. Beyond this, a trail leads to a flat hillside campsite with a splendid view of Mount Hood. You can also make the short bushwhack to the second summit, just south of the lookout site, which is only 50 feet lower.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Monte Cristo Trail Map (USFS)
  • Green Trails Maps: Willard, WA #398
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Adams Wilderness, Indian Heaven Wilderness, Trapper Creek Wilderness
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Adams Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount St. Helens - Mt. Adams

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Day Hiking: South Cascades by Dan A. Nelson & Alan L. Bauer
  • Take a Hike: Portland by Barbara I. Bond
  • Portland Hikes by Art Bernstein & Andrew Jackman
  • Skamania 231: A Scrambler's Guide by Kelly Wagner
  • 95 Virtual Hikes of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument by Northwest Hiker
  • Washington's South Cascades' Volcanic Landscapes by Marge and Ted Mueller
  • 33 Hiking Trails: Southern Washington Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Washington Hiking by Scott Leonard
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill

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.