Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Marys Peak East Ridge Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Spectacular fall color from the vine maple understory on the East Ridge Trail in October (cfm)
Oregon anemone (Anemonoides oregana), East Ridge Trail (bobcat)
Vanilla leaf on the North Ridge Trail (cfm)
Passing over a grassy knoll near the summit of Marys Peak (bobcat)
Looking northwest from the summit of Marys Peak (bobcat)
The route described traced in blue on the Forest Service map (bobcat) Courtesy: USFS
  • Start point: Conner's Camp TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Marys Peak
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Lollipop loop)
  • Distance: 6.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1550 feet
  • High point: 4,097 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Year-round (expect some snow in winter months)
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older kids
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No, except at summit

Contents

Hike Description

The East Ridge Trail is a shorter and less remote approach to the summit of Marys Peak than the North Ridge Trail. Since the road to the summit area is gated just above the Conner's Camp Trailhead, this hike can also be done all year. You'll pass through old growth groves of Douglas-fir and hemlock and enter a montane forest of noble and silver fir. In the summit area, you'll hike up open meadows to get views in all directions. On a clear day, vistas open up to many snow-capped Cascade peaks, from Mount Rainier to Diamond Peak.

The East Ridge Trail begins behind a map kiosk at the Conner's Camp Trailhead parking area. You enter the forest immediately and begin a slow gradual climb northward through a majestic forest dominated by stately Douglas-firs and western hemlocks. The rich, airy understory is filled with vine maple, salal, and sword fern. Blue diamonds indicate this is a cross-country ski trail. The trail reaches Woods Creek Road, with a gate to the right and the main Marys Peak Road (FR 3010) to the left. Here a sign states you are entering the Marys Peak Municipal Watershed, the source of drinking water for the City of Corvallis. The trail rises under young Douglas-firs and crosses a creek under a vine maple bower. You'll continue up in younger woods and then enter an old growth stand, where the trail levels. Noble firs begin to appear along the trail. There are also some views through the big trees across a clearcut into the Willamette Valley. Just over a mile from the trailhead, you'll reach the East Ridge-Tie Trail Junction.

Take the Tie Trail to pass into a vine maple thicket, after which the path undulates a little before reaching the east fork of Chintimini Creek. Large old-growth Douglas-firs rise above, and soon you'll reach a series of springs at the headwaters of the main branch of Chintimini Creek. The trail keeps rising from here under big hemlocks and Douglas-firs shading a pretty oxalis carpet. When you reach a bench and the North Ridge-Tie Trail Junction, bear left on the North Ridge Trail for 0.6 miles to the main parking area on Marys Peak.

Hiking up the ridge crest, you'll notice more noble and silver firs as you enter the montane zone. The understory is less brushy and the forest floor is carpeted in mosses and massive beds of vanilla leaf. Soon, the summit road appears above you on the right. When you reach the summit trailhead, cross the parking area and pass the restrooms to pick up a maintenance track that leads to the communication array on the summit.

Sixty yards south of the restrooms, a trail leads left up a grassy knoll that offers views east to Philomath and then the Cascades, where you can make out Mount Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack. Join the summit road track, and bear left. The road curves around to the summit giving expansive views to the east and the south. When you reach the top of Marys Peak, enjoy the 360-degree views up and down the Coast Range, west to the Pacific Ocean, and east across the Willamette Valley to Mount Jefferson and the Three Sisters. Far to the south, Diamond Peak nudges above the horizon. Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Rainier may be visible to the north. Although there is a relay station here with antennae, the meadows make a perfect spot for a picnic on a warm dry day. Phlox, larkspur, paintbrush, and desert-parsley bloom here in late spring.

The summit descent begins on a trail heading down the meadow. A posted arrow tells hikers to veer left, and the trail drops in the meadow and then swings right. Glacier lilies and violets are early bloomers in this meadow. After entering noble fir woods, you'll reach a junction. You can go left here to complete the Meadow Edge Loop to the Marys Peak Campground; otherwise, stay right to emerge from the woods reach a multi-trail junction at the summit road. This is where your ascent trail over the grassy knoll joined the road. Now take the Summit Loop Trail leading down to its right. This trail traverses the meadow below the knoll on the east side of Marys Peak, offering more views to the east, to enter montane forest and reach the East Ridge Trail #1324 below a set of steps.

Make a right here, and descend the slope under old growth noble firs. The trail then switchbacks into an open area thicketed with vine maple and ocean spray. Pass across a mossy rock face, and traverse down a steep slope to make another switchback. You've now passed out of the noble fir zone to enter an old growth Douglas-fir/hemlock forest with vine maple, sword fern, and Oregon grape in the understory. A long traverse takes you down to a switchback just above a bench and the T-junction with the Tie Trail. Bear right to return to the Conner's Camp Trailhead.


Regulations, Facilities, etc.

Maps

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Oregon Coast and Coast Range by William L. Sullivan
  • Oregon's Ancient Forests: A Hiking Guide by Chandra LeGue
  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Take a Hike: Portland by Barbara I. Bond
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Craig Hill & Matt Wastradowski
  • 75 Hikes in Oregon's Coast Range and Siskiyous by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Wild in the Willamette edited by Lorraine Anderson with Abby Phillips Metzger
  • Hiking Oregon's Geology by Ellen Morris Bishop
  • Corvallis Trails by Margie C. Powell
  • A Guide to Trails in the Corvallis Area by Phillip R. Hays
  • Siuslaw Forest Hikes: A Guide to Oregon's Central Coast Range Trails by Irene & Dick Lilja
  • A Walking Guide to Oregon's Ancient Forests by Wendell Wood
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Craig Hill & Matt Wastradowski
  • Oregon Coast Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Campgrounds Hiking Guide by Rhonda & George Ostertag

More Links


Contributors

  • CFM (creator)
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.