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Rocky Top Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to Battle Ax from Rocky Top (bobcat)
Washington lilies (Lilium washingtonianum), Rocky Top (bobcat)
California tea (Rupertia physodes), Rocky Top (bobcat)
Map showing Rocky Top and Natural Arch Trails (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Rocky Top TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Rocky Top
  • Hike Type: Out and Back
  • Distance: 1.0 miles out and back
  • Elevation gain: 705 feet
  • High Point: 5,014 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Spring - Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes, for older kids
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

Near the Natural Arch Hike, this short but steep trail leads to a prominent summit in the Old Cascades. The site once hosted a fire lookout that has now been dismantled. Views are extensive from the summit and the hike up includes some interesting meadows blooming with a variety of flora in mid-summer. Note that this area was severely impacted by the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire, so expect some consequent trail conditions, such as brushiness and downed fire snags.

The trail heads up from the parking lot among young Douglas-firs, Alaska yellow-cedar, and mountain hemlock. There are views to the left towards the North Santiam valley. This area was part of a large burn about 60 years ago. The trail makes two short switchbacks up to a ridge crest with noble fir and Douglas-fir. There are sweeping views from here. Then the trail rises through an open area of huckleberry, California tea and vine maple. The trail drops to a saddle and then heads up, making two short switchbacks, a rising traverse, and then two more switchbacks. The path traverses above a steep slope and switchbacks three times out in the open. There’s another switchback at a crest and then two more switchbacks before the trail enters shady mature woods of silver fir, noble fir and mountain hemlock. The trail here is lined with a thicket of huckleberry and white rhododendron. Finally, the trail hooks left to the bouldery summit of Rocky Top and site of the old lookout. The views extend from the Washington volcanoes, Mount Hood, and Battle Ax to the Three Sisters, with Mount Jefferson looming large. The Willamette Valley and Coast Range are visible to the west.


Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • No passes needed for the trailhead.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region by Matt Reeder

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.