The most rugged looking peak in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness comes in at 5526 feet making it the third highest peak in this region, behind nearby Schriener Peak> and Battle Ax. The west side of Big Slide Mountain carved off long ago leaving no doubt as to the origin of its name. It also left a nice cirque-shaped rock face and solidified its place as the most unique mountain in the area. The summit is a rocky pinnacle that involves some off-trail scrambling as the trail only comes within about a hundred yards and about 200 vertical feet from the summit. The work on this one is worth it as views abound from all the nearby BOTW peaks as well as Cascade volcanoes from Hood to Broken Top and The Husband. The west side of the valley below Big Slide is typical Cascades fir/rhodie/fern stuff dotted with many beautiful lakes and ponds. The east side seems a bit more arid with more wildflower meadows along with pine trees, kinnickkinnick plants and beargrass.
There are several ways to attain this peak, none particularly easy. Probably the easiest would be to hike up the Pansy Creek approach to Bull of the Woods, turn right on the summit ridge where you would go left to the summit of BOTW, and head north to Trail 555 to join the path to Big Slide (probably between 5 and 6 miles one way). Another more strenuous route would be to take the Dickey Creek Trail from the north to Big Slide Lake, then up to the ridge and left towards the summit ( 7.5 miles one way). Still another route could be to climb Schreiner Peak and bushwhack the ridge from there over Knob Peak to Big Slide (unknown how technical this might be or even if it is technical). There are many trails in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness and many options exist.
With the many lakes to spend some time camping at and the rugged scenery of this mountain, it has got to be one of the better places to visit in the region. One could spend some time exploring secret newt-filled lakes as well as listen to the pikas in the rockfields. Butterflies fill the east side meadows but still you only see a handful of people on Big Slide and extremely few hike up past Big Slide Lake making this one you can relish in peace. The roads to the trailheads aren’t plowed in the winter so you take your chances before May/June but being only an hour and a half from Portland, this can’t be beat.
From Portland and Interstate 205, take exit 12 to Estacada (18 miles). Go through town and continue on Highway 224 another 26 miles to Ripplebrook. Go straight on Road 46 for 3.5 miles and then veer right at an unmarked fork onto Road 63 (you'll have to watch your odometer as the road currently has no sign to denote it but at later junctions, you can confirm you are on Road 63 by other signs). Go 5.5 miles on Road 63 and turn right at a sign for the Dickey Creek Trail onto Road 6340. Go 2.7 miles and turn left onto gravel road 140. Go one mile and turn right at a T junction and follow the grass/gravel road half a mile to the trailhead at roads end.
Red TapeCurrently, there is no NW Forest Pass requirement to park at the Dickey Creek Trailhead. There is one required at the Pansy Creek Trailhead. If you chose to come from Schreiner Peak, there is no trailhead there so you are just parking along the road and no pass is then required.
CampingCampsites abound along Road 46 and 63 on the road in. Literally there are dozens to choose from. The really great site to camp here is Big Slide Lake. There are a few tent spots around the lake which is great for swimming. There are a couple small ponds up on the summit ridge as well where you might be able to stick a tent in. Lake Lenore down the north side of the peak (where Trail 555 actually goes to) is also wonderful in which to camp.
Mountain ConditionsEstacada Ranger Station
When To ClimbDickey Creek Trailhead (the route via Big Slide Lake) is at 2950 feet so usually June – October.
Pansy Creek Trailhead (route via Bull of the Woods) is at 3500 feet so mid/late June or July to October.
Via Schreiner Peak would be as early as May to October.