At 3,706 feet, Rogers Peak is the highest summit in the northern Coast Range of Oregon as well as the high point of Tillamook County. It’s also on private land, but to their credit Hampton Lumber allows public access by foot or on horseback.
I drove up Gilmore Creek Road from the West Fork North Fork Wilson River behind a logging truck, which motioned me to pull off with it to make room for one of its fully loaded brethren coming down the steep, narrow gravel track. (Yes, I went on working day; you wouldn’t have to deal with trucks on a weekend.) The gate at the boundary of the Tillamook State Forest was open, of course, but I pulled off below it. It was a blue sky morning in the upper 30s.
The hike is all on roads, and there’s a more direct route, but since it was such a nice day, I wanted to walk around Rogers Peak first to get views in all directions. (Note that there is no map that accurately details all the logging roads in the area, so part of my direction finding was intuitive.) The loop I chose closes just above the gate, and I stayed left on Gilmore Creek Road. I passed above two bowls, looking across Rogers Creek to partially clearcut slopes with Triangulation Point being the most prominent peak to the west.
At a major junction, I took the Standard Grade Road, now getting a great vista north to Saddle Mountain. Views also extended down the drainages of Ripple Creek towards the Salmonberry River. I passed the junction for Blue Lake, source of the North Fork Wilson River, without realizing it – it’s only 0.8 miles down to the lake, so I’m annoyed that I missed it. Soon I came to the track that would take me up and around the eastern and southern slopes of Rogers Peak.
A thick high ceiling of clouds has gathered, but as I ascended I got a view of Mt. St. Helens and Goat Rocks across a saddle on the ridge between the North Fork Wilson River and Belding Creek. The very steep slope has been clear cut almost all the way down to the river and this was where the logging trucks were being loaded. Down the North Fork I could see Kings Mountain, a summit that must have been quite cluttered on that day judging from all the cars at the parking lot when I passed it. There was some snow on the road, none under the trees. The track wrapped around the high east ridge of Rogers Peak and then traversed below the forested summit area, with an extensive clearcut spilling below. At this height, views opened up to Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Hood.
The road dived into the woods. Noble firs are common at this elevation in the Coast Range and they are also the largest trees, some of them three feet thick. At the highest point on the road, an overgrown track led up to the right. I followed this around to where it ended and made the very short bushwhack up to the viewless summit area of Rogers Peak. A mossy pile of boulders marks the true summit. Under one of the rocks are two red painted tin cans covering jars with summit registers. The last party who signed had been here a month before.
I returned to the road and made my way east along the ridge above a clearcut on Rogers Peak’s north slope. At a saddle, a marvelous view opened up to Saddle Mountain, Humbug Mt., Sugarloaf Mt., Onion Peak, West Onion Peak, and Angora Peak. A little lower down the road, Neahkahnie Mountain and the ocean came into view. The long block of Hebo Mountain became visible to the southwest. There were more views of Kings Mountain to the southeast and its impressive north ridge. I got a view of my car at the gate as I walked around the headwater bowl for Morris Creek and soon descended to close the loop. A most peaceful day - only one truck passed me when I was on Hampton land.
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