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Big Huckleberry Mountain from Crest Camp Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Western edge of the Big Lava Bed from the Pacific Crest Trail (bobcat)
Twin flower (Linnaea borealis), Pacific Crest Trail (bobcat)
Young golden-crowned kinglet (Regulus satrapa), Pacific Crest Trail (bobcat)
Mt. Adams from Big Huckleberry Mountain (bobcat)
Edith's checkerspot (Euphydryas editha), Big Huckleberry Mountain (bobcat)
Route to Big Huckleberry Mountain from the north (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Crest Camp TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Big Huckleberry Mountain
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 12.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1710 feet
  • High Point: 4,202 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable:Yes
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

The Big Lava Bed is a vast and impressive volcanic feature to the east and south of Indian Heaven and is part of that area’s volcanic field. In fact, the 8,200 year-old lava flows resulted from Indian Heaven’s most recent eruptive event: they originated from an unnamed cinder cone in the north-central section of the bed. While adventurous hikers can foray into the trailless wilderness of the Big Lava Bed itself (Be careful – it is very difficult to stay oriented, and hikers have literally disappeared there), others can enjoy the feature by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail along its western border. The trail eventually takes to a high ridge, where a diversion peels off to the summit of Big Huckleberry Mountain, site of a former lookout. There are two good campsites along the way, each near springs that flow all year.

Pick up the Pacific Crest Trail on the south side of the road as it passes to the right of a picnic table. Hike through a bear-grass/huckleberry understory under a canopy of mountain hemlock, silver fir, noble fir, western white pine, and lodgepole pine. The trail at first winds through mossy lava outcroppings at the northwestern corner of the Big Lava Bed. Then you will be walking just beyond the western edge of the lava flow. From time to time, you will hear pika alarm calls issuing from the lava. An unnamed cinder cone hoves into view ahead before you cross another tongue of lava. The Pacific Crest Trail swings abruptly to the left along the base of this forested cone and then drops along a mossy carpet with the high wall of the lava bed looming to the left. Pass springwater issuing from a pipe just before you descend through a lush thimbleberry thicket. Walk by a large noble fir, and continue on through a vine maple thicket. Douglas-fir and western hemlock join the conifer mix. Pass a campsite on the right, and then reach an unmarked junction: the trail leading right proceeds 0.2 miles to FR 6801 (Before the completion of the current Pacific Crest Trail route, this was where the Cascade Crest Trail resumed south of Indian Heaven).

Keep left as the trail rises up a slope with rhododendrons and vine maple above and bear-grass below. Switchback, and traverse up through a carpet of vanilla leaf, pathfinder, little wild rose, and Solomon-plume. Switchback again, and then enter a regenerating clearcut, where the trail drops a little to make the traverse. Wind along a broad ridge crest where you'll cross an old four-wheel drive track among old-growth Douglas-firs and hemlocks. Gradually descend, and pass a spur leading right to a campsite above a mossy spring. Note the big Douglas-firs and noble firs in this lush draw. Traverse, and then switchback to continue up the steep eastern slope of the ridge. Pass across a couple of meadows that bloom with aster, lupine, paintbrush, and yarrow in the summer. Then hike through a lush thimbleberry/Sitka alder thicket that offers a view to Mount Adams. Reach a grassy expanse at a saddle with another vista east and north to Little Huckleberry Mountain across the Big Lava Bed to Mount Adams. The trail makes a level traverse in shady woods before dropping to the junction with the spur trail leading left to the summit of Big Huckleberry Mountain: this junction is ten yards from the Pacific Crest-Grassy Knoll Trail Junction.

Head up to the left rather steeply before reaching the gravelly area at the summit of Big Huckleberry Mountain. Stay cables and a few nails and shards of glass are all that remain of the lookout. Trees have grown up since the lookout was removed in the 1960s, but you can still see Mount Adams to the northeast; Mount Hood is also clearly visible from a couple of vantage points. Stonecrop, common juniper, yarrow, and spreading phlox carpet this open area. You can follow the foot trail to the right to pass through a corridor of trees and reach a secluded campsite. Beyond this, there’s another open ridge crest that offers a good view south to Mount Hood.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Wind River, WA #397
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Adams Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Gifford Pinchot National Forest
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail: Map #9 Southern Washington
  • Pacific Crest Trail Pocket Maps: Oregon & Washington
  • Halfmile's PCT Maps: Washington Section H

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Washington by Tami Asars
  • Day Hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon & Washington by George & Patricia Semb
  • Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon & Washington by Jeffrey P. Schaffer & Andy Setters (eBook)

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.

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