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Salmon Mountain Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View from Sheepshead Rock along the Salmon Mountain Ridge to Mt. Hood (bobcat)
Top of Sheepshead Rock (bobcat)
Green false hellebore (Veratrum viride) (bobcat)
Hall's isopyrum (Enemion hallii) (bobcat)
Sketch of the route to Salmon Mountain (not a GPS track) bobcat Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Twin Springs TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Salmon Mountain Lookout Site
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 10.0 miles round-trip
  • Elevation gain: 1960 feet
  • High Point: 4,484 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer through Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes - connects to network of Salmon-Huckleberry trails via the Plaza Trail
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

The hike to Salmon Mountain takes advantages of high ridges in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness and, at several viewpoints, offers vistas to Cascade volcanoes and the pristine valleys of the South Fork Salmon River and Cheeney Creek.

From the Old Baldy (Twin Springs) Trailhead on FR 4610 (Abbott Road), enter the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness and take a right on the Plaza Trail. The path heads along a relatively level tread across The Plaza, a flat area on the high ridge where the Eagle Creek, Roaring River, and Salmon River drainages meet. Keep your eyes open for the stone fireplace of the old Plaza Guard Station (erected c. 1910). The trail drops in silver fir, noble fir and mountain hemlock forest and begins to traverse along a steep-sided ridge. Look to the right for a spur leading up to Sheepshead Rock, the high point of the hike and a good destination in and of itself. Vistas from here extend to Mount Saint Helens, Mount Adams, and Mount Hood.

Past Sheepshead Rock, the trail drops in four switchbacks, rises to the ridge again, and then and makes a lengthy traverse in shady woods of silver fir, noble fir, mountain hemlock, western hemlock, and Douglas-fir. There are a number of boggy seeps to cross, all cloaked by dense patches of Sitka alder, devil’s club, salmonberry, false bugbane, and thimbleberry. These lush thickets support various species of moisture-loving wildflowers.

The trail continues to the Plaza-Salmon Mountain Trail Junction. Head up this trail to the crest and bear left on the ridge, entering rhododendron thickets. The trail generally keeps to the ridge for this section, undulating with the topography before dropping off the crest to the left (A false trail continues along the ridge a short way). At this point the trail tread deteriorates considerably, passing along a steep, unstable slope. You will need to push your way through more rhododendrons to regain the ridge. Turn right for a short cross-country section up the edge of a steep dry meadow to the site of the Salmon Mountain Lookout: constructed in the 1930s, decommissioned in 1962. There are no longer views west from here, but the vista extends north to Mount Hood, east to the South Fork Salmon River valley and south to The Plaza.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Fish Creek Mtn, OR #492; Cherryville, OR #460; Government Camp, OR #461
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • Geo-Graphics: Mt. Hood Wilderness Map
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Bull of the Woods Wilderness and Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • 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
  • Afoot and Afield: Portland/Vancouver (2nd edition) by Douglas Lorain
  • 50 Hiking Trails: Portland & Northwest Oregon by Don & Roberta Lowe

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.