Elk Creek to Elk Mountain Loop

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Joined: July 10th, 2017, 8:39 pm

Elk Creek to Elk Mountain Loop

Post by abramj17 » September 3rd, 2018, 10:57 pm

Hi fellow outdoor enthusiasts,

Around mid August my girlfriend and I hiked Elk Mountain. I had intentions of doing the whole Elk and Kings loop but we got a late start and opted for the Elk Creek/Mountain loop. We started hiking from the Elk Creek Trailhead which is located just up the road from the Elk Creek Campground.

Embarking on Elk Creek Trail was an exceptionally pleasant walk up into the woods. We slowly ascended up the trail under the tree canopy and continued until the Elk Creek Trail eventually fizzles out (it's a little over 4 1/2 miles). We did this hike on a Monday, so it was a nice escape from the mass exodus from the city on weekends. We hiked up Elk Creek until we eventually hit the 3 way junction. Here you can either go towards Elk Mountain, Kings Mountain, or turn back the way you came.

Elk Creek is a nice trail for beginners or people looking for chill casual hiking, but I do mean Elk Creek Trail only (not Elk Mountain). Things got interesting in both good and bad ways on the Elk Mountain Trail.

Once we were on the Elk Mountain trail we walked up and down the spine of the ridge until we ran into a slightly miserable looking pair of trekkers with a dog who hiked up Elk Mountain. Essentially they told us to turn around because they had to carry their dog the entirety of the hike and that they did not think we would make it back to our car before sunset.

We assessed their experience level and the time of day and decided to continue towards the Elk Mountain peak. We were pretty confident that we would be ok.

In their defense, the trail does get pretty gnarly but it was pretty fun scaling up and down rocks. I would not recommend Elk Mountain for beginner hikers or dogs. There is a lot of scrambling and sections where there is a steep drop off on either side of you. Essentially it’s a rocky catwalk with some loose rocks for a bit.

We eventually got to the peak and signed our names in the sweet Mazama sign in notebook and began our descent. I found descending to be the hardest part of the hike. It was short and sweet but straight down. If I could do this again I would do it the other way around. Start with Elk Mountain Trail and go down Elk Creek.

Nonetheless this was a rad hike with decent views of the coastal range. I am definitely going to have to return and do Kings Mountain next.

I hope you guys enjoyed this report!

Directions to the Trailhead:

Take Highway 26 West from Portland and then eventually take Highway 6 towards Banks & Tillamook. At milepost 28 (driving towards Tillamook) there will be a turnoff for Elk Creek Campground. Once at the campground, the trailhead is just another quartermile up the road.



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Re: Elk Creek to Elk Mountain Loop

Post by Arturo » September 4th, 2018, 6:14 am

Was there yesterday, did the same loop but up Elk and down Elk Creek.
Been up Elk many times but this was the first that included Elk Creek.
It was a little underwhelming compared to an up and down or Elk-Kings loop but still enjoyable.
Challenging and fun. One of if not the best hill in the coast range.

Love a register. Always sign, snap and send to my mom when I come across one...
Kings from Elk Mtn trail...

GPS track...


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