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Barklow Mountain West Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to Copper Mountain from Barklow Mountain (bobcat)
Tanoak woods on the Barklow Mountain Trail (bobcat)
Remains of the Barklow Trail Shelter (bobcat)
Blooming salal (Gaultheria shallon) on Barklow Mountain (bobcat)
The western approach to Barklow Mountain in the Copper Salmon Wilderness (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Barklow West TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Barklow Mountain
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1080 feet
  • High Point: 3,579 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Spring to mid-fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older kids
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

All trails in the Copper Salmon Wilderness, named after two trailless forested peaks, lead to Barklow Mountain, the wilderness’ highest peak and the site of a former fire lookout. The Copper Salmon Wilderness, separated from the Grassy Knob Wilderness by Butler Creek, was created in 2009 to protect old-growth forests of Douglas-fir and Port Orford cedar and the pristine North Fork Elk Creek with its salmon and steelhead runs. Northern spotted owls also nest here. This hike begins west of Barklow Mountain, and part of the enjoyment/challenge will be the drive in, first along the paved but narrow and sometimes lumpy Elk River Road, and then a long wind up the gravel track of FR 5201 from Butler Bar. Both roads experience considerable rockfall, so it’s best to wait until the dry summer months to attempt this approach; otherwise, you may have to turn back when boulders block the road. Other trailheads offer access from the east side of the wilderness, but these can experience washouts and rockfall as well.

Just beyond the parking pullout, the Barklow Mountain Trail #1258, which traverses the northern arm of the Copper-Salmon Wilderness, drops off the spur road into rustling madrone/tanoak/rhododendron woods. The path soon slips over to the western slope of the ridge and offers views to Star Mountain and the Pacific Ocean. Hike under tall Douglas-firs as you pass around a bowl to round the nose of a ridge. The trail traverses another bowl through a denser coniferous forest, where the big trees exhibit fire scars. Head into a mixed woodland again, and hike up a narrow ridge where manzanita overhangs the trail. The trail steepens under big Douglas-firs shading an understory of salal. Switchback to the ridgecrest and the signed Barklow Mountain-Barlow Mountain Ridge Trail Junction.

Go right here through the salal and Oregon grape for the Barklow Mountain Lookout. At an unmarked junction, you can take a short trail leading right down to the collapsed remains of the Barklow Trail Shelter. The rusting pieces of a wood stove lie nearby. Returning to the main trail, now traverse more steeply up the north ridge of Barklow Mountain. Then swing east to cross an open manzanita slope with views south to Copper Mountain and the North Fork Elk River drainage as well as west to the ocean. At a junction, head up to the left through summer-blooming lupine to reach the old lookout site at the top of Barklow Mountain. Again, the views extend past Copper Mountain to the south and west to the Pacific Ocean. Of the lookout, there only remain some concrete blocks and a couple of guy cable anchors. The first fire lookout here, an L-5 cab, was constructed in 1933. It was replaced in 1955 and, strangely, that cab lookout still exists: the entire structure was transported by helicopter in 1974 to become the Lake of the Woods Lookout!


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Remote area: roads experience rockfall; check for conditions during the wet season.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Note that these guides give directions from the shorter eastern trailheads:
  • 75 Hikes in Oregon’s Coast Range and Siskiyous by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Out Our Back Door: Driving Tours and Day-Hikes in Oregon’s Coos Region by Tom Baake
  • Atlas of Oregon Wilderness by William L. Sullivan
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill

More Links


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.