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Sawtooth Ridge Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Logging cable on Sawtooth Road (bobcat)
Peak 2602, above the North Fork Kilchis, from Sawtooth Ridge (bobcat)
On Sawtooth Road, Sawtooth Ridge (bobcat)
Elk rubbings, Sawtooth Ridge (bobcat)
The route along Sawtooth Road, Tillamook State Forest (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Sawtooth Road TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Shaw Creek Flatbed
  • Trail log:
  • Hike Type: In and out or off-trail loop
  • Distance: 8.3 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1600 feet
  • High Point: 2,110 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

There are miles and miles of old logging roads in the Tillamook State Forest that beckon to the adventurous hiker. Remember, however, that some of these roads can be brought back into service at any time. This was the case for this hike, which follows Sawtooth Road along the north slope of rugged Sawtooth Ridge, which splits the North and South Forks of the Kilchis River. A timber sale resulted in a 2015-16 clearcut along the first part of the road; however, you will leave the logged area soon enough and hike east into territory seen by relatively few. For the scramble-loving hiker, a trip back along Sawtooth Ridge allows for a complete day. The mileage and elevation statistics are for the in-and-out road walk: the ridge scramble will involve a similar number of miles but more elevation gain and loss. It also may be possible to drive farther up Sawtooth Road if there is no logging in process.

Hike up Sawtooth Road, which was recently resurfaced in preparation for the logging operation, the Two’s Company Timber Sale. Alders line the road; on the upslope is a mossy coniferous forest of Douglas-fir and Sitka spruce with a sword fern carpet. The road makes two curving switchbacks, heading into and out of the clearcut. Back in the clearcut, pass two logging spurs leading down to the left. Keep left at a sharp bend in the road where a spur leads off to the right. Get views to Peak 2602 across the North Fork Kilchis drainage as Sawtooth Road runs along the south edge of the cut. Reach the three-way Sawtooth-West Sawtooth Ridge Road Junction and keep straight here (A logging spur leads down to the left). Head up to the end of the current logging road, and walk over a berm to continue a short distance in the clearcut before entering shady woods.

From here, the track continues on old ATV treads. This is an undulating traverse that crosses small slides and seeps with a few fallen alders. Drop down past the timber sale boundary and then rise up and around a bend in an avenue of alders. The track levels and rounds a corner at a wide landing. Then drop and rise steeply as the path becomes a running stream. Round a bend and get views of a rugged prominence on the Sawtooth Ridge. The road drops again and then rises. Keep right at a fork before descending and then rising gradually. Pass a landing with a campfire circle, cross the beginnings of Shaw Creek, and then drop gradually under alders. Reach a rusting old wooden flatbed truck; this is a good place to begin an off-road scramble up to the ridge.

Off-trail:

How far you go is up to you. The ridge scramble should be done on a relatively dry day with high clouds; otherwise, you're going to get soaking wet and have no views to make your efforts worthwhile. The rocky prominence above the flatbed truck offers views in all directions: follow elk trails up its western slope and then scramble. You'll see Cedar Butte to the southeast as well as other prominences such as Mutt Peak, Wolf Point, King's Mountain, and also Triangulation Point to the northeast. Head back west along the ridge. The steeper drop-offs are on the south side, so most down climbing to avoid jagged gendarmes (the "sawteeth") will be to the north. Sawtooth Road is never too far away on the north slope, so you can descend to it at any time. A full ridge walk will take you back to West Sawtooth Ridge Road, where you'll go right to end up back in the clearcut.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Oregon Department of Forestry: Tillamook State Forest Map & Guide

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • None: best hiked on weekends to avoid logging trucks

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 50 Hikes in the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests by the Sierra Club, Oregon Chapter
  • 50 Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest by the Tillamook State Forest Committee, Columbia Group Sierra Club

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.