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Boulder Ridge to Huckleberry Mountain Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

Mount Hood from Huckleberry Mountain (Martell)
Hemlock forest, Boulder Ridge Trail (bobcat)
Snow on rhododendrons, Boulder Ridge Trail (bobcat)
The rocky high point, which is this hikes' destination (Martell)
Google Earth map of the hike
  • Start point: Wildwood Recreation Area TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Huckleberry Mountain
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and back
  • Distance: 10.6 miles
  • High point: 4,300 feet
  • Elevation gain: 3450 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes, for the difficulty it is more crowded than would be expected

Contents

Hike Description

Accessed from the bureau of Land Management's Wildwood Recreation Area, the Boulder Ridge Trail rises steeply to join the Plaza Trail, which accesses the high ridges of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. Late June/early July is a colorful time to do this hike as the forest wildflowers will be out and rhododendrons will be blooming all the way up. Take note that the Wildwood Recreation Area is gated at Highway 26 from mid-fall to early spring. During those months, you will have to park at the Wildwood Recreation Area Winter Trailhead and walk half a mile in to access the trail. This hike can be done as a hike/bike or car shuttle with the Huckleberry Mountain via Bonanza Trail Hike.

After parking either at the trailhead, or right off Highway 26 in winter, head towards the wetland trail, crossing a large wooden bridge over the Salmon River. After the bridge stay on the paved section, continuing towards the wetland trail (See the Cascade Streamwatch Loop Hike). This, short, boardwalk section meanders through a wetland, and a few spurs lead off to beautiful wetland views. After leaving the wetland area at the Boulder Ridge-Wetlands Trail Junction, you will see a sign pointing left to the Boulder Ridge Trail, where this hike really begins.

The Boulder Ridge Trail was constructed in 1981 as a new access link to the Plaza Trail. The north trailhead for that trail, located on private land, has had its easement revoked.

The trail will pass the trailhead sign for the Boulder Ridge Trail #783A, cross a small footbridge over a creek, and then hike up to pass a huge cedar stump. The trail heads up to the left, passing a huge cedar stump. Continue up on a rocky tread and switchback up to cross a gully. The trail heads up under alders and gives a view to Zigzag Mountain. Switchback and traverse, head up a gully, and then switchback up seven times. The trail traverses up a slope, crosses two creeks, and switchbacks at an open viewpoint looking west. Recross one of the creeks and switchback in alder woods. The trail rises and then drops slightly before heading up an old road bed and traverses upward in hemlock forest. The path leaves the road bed and rises on a long traverse on a bear-grass carpet under hemlocks and Douglas-firs. Cross small creek and switchback twice to make a traverse among rhododendrons. A spur leads left to a clifftop viewpoint of Mount Hood. The trail rises to a ridge crest and then keeps below the crest to make a long traverse and round the nose of the ridge in hemlock, Douglas-fir, cedar, bear-grass, rhododendron, salal, and Oregon grape woodland. Now keep along the ridge crest and pass a rocky viewpoint with a couple of manzanita bushes. Below the ridge now, the trail heads gently up. Traverse up and enter the montane zone of noble and silver fir. Reach the Plaza-Boulder Ridge Trail Junction and head right (Going left on the Plaza Trail will take you a long way down the ridge on a disappearing tread until you reach a private property line, where you will have to turn back and retrace your steps).

The trail heads up the ridge among rhododendrons. Rise and then drop as the trail undulates along the ridge crest of Huckleberry Mountain. In the open spots, you may notice an old lookout telephone wire on the ground. The trail rises and falls and then ascends through rhododendrons and bear-grass on the wooded ridge. Mountain hemlock, silver fir and noble fir are dominant. Reach a knoll surrounded by lodgepole pines and then drop to rise one more time to a rocky spine that offers a splendid view to Mount Hood and Mount Saint Helens on a clear day.

Maps

  • Green Trails Maps: Government Camp, OR #461 and Cherryville, OR #460
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Opal Creek Wilderness, Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 50 Hiking Trails: Portland & Northwest Oregon by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Foghorn Outdoors Oregon Hiking by Megan McMorris
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Best Hikes With Dogs: Oregon by Ellen Morris Bishop

More Links


Contributors

Portland 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.