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Elk Mountain -- Dawn Patrol

Posted: April 14th, 2021, 6:38 pm
by smithsummit

I left my place at 4:15 this morning and made a coffee stop before meeting up with a coworker near 185th and highway 26 in Hillsboro. Driving the speed limit and enjoying our conversation we made it to the Elk Creek Trailhead just before 5:30. On the way in we noticed a fair number of cars at the campground which was nice to see for a change.

For those who aren't familiar with the hike: Elk Mountain Hike Total gain in just under 1.4 miles is ~2100 feet and both hands will be used on a semi-regular basis. Rocky and not super pet or squirrely kid friendly. Plenty of places where tripping might not end well.

Weather was great: 37o and a very light breeze. The trail was bone dry.

Given the 5:30am start we used headlamps for at least 50% of the up. We had a relaxed-pace climb and topped out after about 1hr 25. This is a super early season fitness check. Under 45 minutes car to summit is very doable for the fit and I'm convinced a trail runner type could do it in less than 30 minutes.

Looking west from the summit past Kings mountain. Just a small amount of snow visible in gullies:

Looking northeast from the summit toward the upper reaches of Elk Creek

This is a really interesting hike, and not too far from Portland. From the summit it's possible to continue on with Elk Mountain Loop Hike or loop around to the Elk Creek Trail.

Happy hiking!