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Iron Mountain Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Browder Ridge and Three Sisters from Iron Mountain summit (Greg Lief)
Washington Lily on Iron Mountain (Steve Hart)
Mt Jefferson from Iron Mountain (Steve Hart)
Hillside wildflowers at Iron Mountain (Greg Lief)
The short hike to the top of Iron Mountain from the trailhead on Civil Road (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo/USFS
  • Start point: Iron Mountain Civil Road TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Iron Mountain
  • Hike type: Out and back
  • Distance: 2.4 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 650 feet
  • High point: 5,440 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer, fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes, on summer weekends

Contents

Hike Description

Iron Mountain is located near Tombstone Pass along Highway 20 east of Sweet Home, Oregon. It is a veritable wildflower cornucopia with over 300 species, along with some 17 tree species. The best time to visit is the first half of July, but the views are gorgeous on any clear day. For a longer one-way hike up Iron Mountain, you can begin at the Road 15 Trailhead off Highway 20. For a spectacular loop, see the Cone Peak-Iron Mountain Loop Hike.

From the Civil Road Trailhead, you'll hike a short distance to a junction with the Iron Mountain Trail. Turn left and head up the hill to a second second junction, where the Iron Mountain and Cone Peak Trail meet. Turn right here and head up the Iron Mountain Trail.

It's about a mile to the top, and the trail is all up, but it's pretty well graded. As it climbs through switchbacks, the terrain becomes more open and the views expand. Look for Washington lilies and other blooms in the spring, as well as a variety of butterflies. There are gorgeous views to the west and occasional views of Mount Jefferson and the Three Sisters.

A viewing platform has been built at the summit, the site of a former fire lookout. Take in the views of Cone Peak, Echo Mountain, Browder Ridge, and the Three Sisters. Then head back down the trail to your car.


Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Sweet Home Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Willamette National Forest
  • Pacific Northwest Recreation Map Series: Willamette Cascades
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington
  • Adventure Maps: McKenzie River, Oregon, Trail Map

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass) required
  • Leash recommended for dogs
  • Vault toilet and picnic tables at the trailhead
  • Road to the trailhead can be blocked by snow in spring

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Best Hikes With Kids: Oregon by Bonnie Henderson & Zach Urness
  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades by William L. Sullivan
  • Best Short Hikes in Northwest Oregon by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • 60 Hiking Trails: Central Oregon Cascades by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • 100 Oregon Hiking Trails by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Hiking Oregon by Donna Lynn Ikenberry
  • Hiking Central Oregon & Beyond by Virginia Meissner
  • Guide to the Middle and South Santiam Roadless Areas edited by Julie Ambler
  • Oregon Nature Weekends by Jim Yuskavitch
  • Oregon's Best Wildflower Hikes: Northwest Region by George Wuerthner

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.