Sweet Spring Hiking on Huckleberry Mountain


On a sunny morning I was looking forward to a mid-May conditioning hike in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. One month ago I had done another conditioning hike nearby, the climb up Hunchback Mountain to Great Pyramid.

Unlike Hunchback, the Boulder Ridge Trail to Huckleberry Mountain is better maintained. And, the views on the top of Huckleberry Mountain are spectacular from the open summit area.

I was surprised to learn it had been seven years since I last took this route to the 4,300-foot summit of Huckleberry Mountain. I summit the mountain every year, but have been taking the fun Bonanza Mine route or the overgrown Plaza Trail interconnection from Wildcat Mountain the last few years. All three routes are roughly 12 miles round trip and over 3,000 feet of elevation gain.

As I was sitting in a field of purple phlox, soaking up the warm sunshine and admiring the magnificent view of Mt. Hood, I couldn’t help but notice the eclectic mix of trees in the summit area. They were mainly noble fir, but mixed in were mountain hemlock, lodgepole pine, Douglas fir and a red cedar or two. To add to the mix, just below the summit I had seen slide alder and Sitka mountain ash.

I thought to myself while sitting near the summit, this is why I enjoy hiking.

Mt. Hood over West Zigzag Mountain (another fine conditioning hike)

Mt. Hood over West Zigzag Mountain (the trail to the top of West Zigzag is another fine 11-mile round-trip, 3,100-foot elevation-gain conditioning hike)

Cliff Penstemon (one of our favorites)

Cliff Penstemon (one of our favorites)

Sign at the Trailhead (maybe this is the reason I saw no other hikers)

Sign at the Trailhead (maybe this is the reason I saw no other hikers)

My daypack in a field of Phlox at the summit area of Huckleberry Mountain

My daypack in a field of Phlox at the summit area of Huckleberry Mountain

Hooker Fairybells

Hooker Fairybells

Salmon River near trailhead

Salmon River near trailhead

Wild Rhododendrons

Wild Rhododendrons (like beargrass, they typically grow above 3,000 feet)

A well-camouflaged moth

A well-camouflaged Forage Looper (?) Moth

Mt. Hood from the summit of Huckleberry Mountain

A close-up view of Mt. Hood from the summit of Huckleberry Mountain

Devil's Club

Devil’s Club

Phlox

Phlox

Categories: Oregon CascadesTags: , , ,

2 comments

  1. Hi, John! I love receiving your blogs. It gives me my west side fix when I’m missing the wet side. If I remember right Devil’s Club has fairly large and kind of feathery leaves. Is that memory correct? And usually nettles weren’t too far away in the woods around Redmond where I grew up before moving to Omak. Beautiful photos and narrative. Thank you. Best wishes, Sandy

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    • Thanks Sandy. Devil’s Club is a well-known nemesis of hikers from Oregon to south-central Alaska. They grow taller than my height and are covered with large spines. And, you’re right, their leaves are large and somewhat feathery.

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