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Hunchback Mountain Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The catwalk, Hunchback Mountain (bobcat)
Sign at the new wilderness boundary, Hunchback Mountain Trail (bobcat)
Manzanita (Arctostaphylos columbiana), Hunchback Mountain (bobcat)
Rimrock, Hunchback Mountain (bobcat)
Trail to the Great Pyramid Viewpoint on Hunchback Mountain (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Hunchback Mountain TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Great Pyramid
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 9.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3270 feet
  • High Point: 4,033 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

This stiff hike begins from a trailhead next to the Zigzag Ranger Station on Highway 26. It is an excellent conditioning hike and the terrain is wild and rugged, especially considering its proximity to a main thoroughfare. You will hike up a rocky ridge with some picturesque outcroppings offering viewpoints: do not be surprised if you notice sign of both coyote and cougar. A couple of longer options are also possible: see the Devil's Peak from Hunchback Mountain Hike and also consider a hike/bike (Stash your bike at the lower end of the Old Salmon River Trail, hike up the Hunchback Mountain Trail, then down Green Canyon Way to pick up the trail along the Salmon River to get to your bike).

The Hunchback Mountain Trail #793 begins on the south side of the parking area under Douglas-fir, western red-cedar, western hemlock, and big-leaf maple on a carpet of lady fern, deer fern, sword fern, and salal. The trail switchbacks at a spring house and rises to another switchback at the new wilderness sign and a small cistern/dam. There are two more switchbacks and then a traverse before another switchback. The trail levels at a ridgecrest of Oregon grape and sword fern and then drops to a saddle. From here, the trail heads up and switchbacks, traverses, switchbacks, and then passes under mossy ramparts. There are three short switchbacks at another rocky outcropping. Pass a campsite and then wind up before switchbacking five times to more mossy ramparts. There are three more switchbacks to higher rocky palisades and then a traverse along the slope through rhododendrons. Wind up to the ridge crest, then drop slightly to traverse the western slope of the ridge through a carpet of salal. There’s a short, steep drop down an open manzanita slope. A spur left leads to a viewpoint over the Still Creek valley. The trail drops past an andesite outcrop and then winds steeply up to the breccia/rimrock cliffs. From here, the top of Mount Hood is visible on a clear day.

The trail drops and traverses up the east side of a steep slope under Douglas-fir, hemlock and cedar. A sign points to the Rockpile Viewpoint on the right, which offers a vista of Mount Hood. The trail drops below a talus slope and switchbacks twice at a second talus field before reaching the ridge crest. Now the path undulates along, passes spur to a helispot viewpoint, and produces encounters with some interesting rock outcrops. Traverse the east side of the slope, where silver firs now enter the forest mix. Head up to a rocky crest, and make another east side traverse before reaching the crest again and a narrow andesite catwalk. Rise steeply, drop, and then ascend steeply again before reaching the sign for the Great Pyramid. Head out along this steep-sided promontory and make a couple of little scrambles to reach the end, where you can look down on the lush green cleft of the lower valley of the Salmon River.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Government Camp, OR #461
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Opal Creek Wilderness, Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • none

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Hiking Mount Hood National Forest by Marcia Sinclair
  • 100 Oregon Hiking Trails by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • 70 Hiking Trails: Northern Oregon Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • 62 Hiking Trails: Northern Oregon Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Oregon's Columbia River Gorge: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill

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.