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Rooster Rock via Table Rock Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Table Rock from Chicken Rock (bobcat)
Cascades mariposa lily (Calochortus subalpinus) on Table Rock (bobcat)
Mt. Jefferson from Table Rock (bobcat)
Mountain owl clover (Orthocarpus imbricatus), Chicken Rock (bobcat)
Route of the Table Rock-Rooster Rock hike (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Table Rock TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Chicken Rock
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 10.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2780 feet
  • High Point: 4,881 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: Not after Table Rock

Contents

Description

Rooster Rock and Table Rock are basaltic remnants of two Old Cascade volcanoes in the heart of the 6,028-acre Table Rock Wilderness, administered by the Bureau of Land Management. Much of the route described here was ravaged by fire in the 1880s, but a pocket of much older silver firs can be found in the lush bowl at the headwaters of Image Creek on the way to Rooster Rock. The forest, talus slopes, and dry meadows on top of Table Rock and on the Rooster-Chicken Rock Ridge support a diverse flora and views extend from Mount Rainier to the Three Sisters. According to the BLM brochure, even the top of Mount Shasta can be seen on a perfectly clear day. This entire route is spotted owl habitat and is monitored by teams contracted to the BLM (Some of the flagging you might see alongside the trail denotes calling stations).

From the parking area, head over a berm and up the old alder-rimmed road bed, passing a dilapidated outhouse. There are several trickling creek crossings. At a landslide, the trail heads into the woods of silver fir, western hemlock, and Douglas-fir. Hike up and then down to the road again to pass under imposing rock pinnacles. Sitka alder cloaks the bottom of a scree slope. There are views to the northeast. Reach the old trailhead and walk into cool woods past a thicket of rhododendrons, which bloom in July, before coming to the Table Rock-Summit-Image Creek Trail Junction, with the Image Creek Trail coming down from the right.

You are now on the Summit Trail. The path here is rooty and blooming with rhododendrons in early summer. The trail levels and then rises and makes a traverse along a steep slope with a creek to the right. Head up a slope below a rock spire. Rise around the nose of a ridge and head up below a rock face brightly emblazoned with rock penstemon before passing through a vine maple thicket. There’s a scramble trail to the right going to the rock pinnacle. The trail makes a traverse through Douglas-fir, silver fir, noble fir and western hemlock forest. A spur right leads to a viewpoint. Curve around a talus slope below a cliff and drop through a thimbleberry/Sitka alder thicket with the basalt columns of Table Rock's cliffs looming above. Listen for pikas squeaking their alarm calls. Here you can catch a view of the top of Mount Hood. Also admire the veritable rock garden at the foot of these cliffs. The path heads into woods and then crosses a scree slope with thimbleberries. The trail rises gradually among rhododendrons, silver and noble firs. At a saddle, reach the Summit-Saddle Trail Junction, where there is a camp site but no water source.

To reach the top of Table Rock, go left here and traverse up among mountain hemlock, western white pine, silver fir, Douglas-fir and noble fir. Bear-grass and huckleberries rim the trail. There’s a switchback and Alaska yellow-cedar appears in the mix. The trail reaches the summit ridge with a great view of Mount Jefferson, clearcuts, Olallie Butte, and Mount Hood. On a clear day, you will see down the Oregon Cascades to the Three Sisters and north to the Washington peaks. Back in the wooded area of the summit, you can find a survey marker and a campsite. In summer, there are many blooms among the mats of pinemat manzanita and common juniper.

Returning to the Summit-Saddle Trail Junction, head straight and up and take a spur left to a rocky knoll with a view back to Table Rock. The main trail drops and gives a view of Mount Jefferson, then heads up and levels to afford more views. Head through rhododendrons along the ridge and then drop steeply. Rise again, passing possibly the biggest thatch ant nest you will ever see (about 3 yards long!). The trail undulates along the ridge and then drops into lush woods of old growth silver fir. Reach a meadow bordered by old growth. This is probably an old tarn and is now cloaked with salmonberry, stink currant and false hellebore. Also note boulders of breccia in the area. This is the underlying rock to the ridge-capping basalts and basaltic andesites of Table Rock and Rooster Rock. From the meadow, the trail rises quite steeply and is gullied in places. Reach a ridgetop meadow blooming profusely. A spur trail rises right to dry meadows and the top of Chicken Rock. From here, there are views of the spire of Rooster Rock, with Mount Jefferson behind, and across the wilderness to Table Rock. After you descend Chicken Rock, it is worth going right and down the south slope of the ridge to explore a large meadow dominated by little sunflowers (Heliantella uniflora). In this meadow, you will also encounter the High Ridge-Saddle Trail Junction. After admiring the wildflowers here, return the way you came (or, if you are ambitious, complete the long loop described in the Table Rock-Image Creek Loop Hike).

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • none

Maps

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Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region by Matt Reeder
  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Oregon's Best Wildflower Hikes: Northwest Region by George Wuerthner
  • Hiking Oregon's Geology by Ellen Morris Bishop

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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.

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