OverviewAn option to the regular route of Boulder Ridge is the Bonanza Trail. It's more difficult to find but has much less traffic, you'll probably be alone. It also take you past the Bonanza Mine which extends in about 100 feet from the trail. Most of the trail is lined with huckleberry bushes, moreso than the Boulder Ridge Trail, letting you really know where this peak got its name. You'll gain 3000 feet in an 11.6 mile round trip trail but what would make Huckleberry Mountain a superb hike would be to combine this with the Boulder Ridge Trail to make an 11.1 mile loop (you'll need a car shuttle or two cars at the trailheads to do this unless you want to add maybe 5 miles of road hiking to the total).
Getting ThereTake Highway 26 east from Portland a mile past the Wildwood Recreation site (see Boulder Ridge Trail route page) (or about 16 miles east of Sandy, OR) to a stoplight at Welches Road (Subway/Gas Station/MArket on the right). Turn right and go about 1.2 miles to a fork. Go left at the fork (staying on Welches Road) and go another .6 miles to another fork. Take the right fork onto Bridge Road and go past a "Narrow Bridge" sign. Cross the bridge and take the second gravel road on the left (Grove Lane). Take this to it's end at an old road blocked with cable (small wooden sign on the left marking the Bonanza Trail).
You can not park here though. You need to go back and cross the bridge and park on the right side in a widened area of the road, or, you can try to find a spot back on the shoulder of Welches Road to park.
No fees or permits!
Route DescriptionFollow the old abandoned grassy road up from the trailhead about 200 yards up where the old road curves to the right. There is a trail straight ahead and one to the left. Follow the one ahead with the sign for the Bonanza Trail. It then descends to another trail junction with a temporary sign showing the Bonanza Trail to the right. Curve right here and follow the trail for about a mile and a half along the Cheney Creek.
Along this stretch you will come to a large stream/creek crossing that may be fast and deep in Winter/Spring. You might need to hike along the banks to find a shallow spot to cross. Continue on the trail and cross another small stream with a dip in the trail. You will pass a spot with huge fern-covered boulders in the creek to the right where in high water, there might be a fast waterfall running. After that you will cross a third stream.
On the far side of the third stream crossing, the path will appear to fork with the left fork continuing along the creek and the right fork heading uphill. The left fork stops shortly after at a campsite so you want to take the right fork.
The trail heads uphill contouring to the left and will have two long switchbacks before you come to the Bonanza Mine at 2400 feet and about 2.9 miles from the trailhead.
From the Mine, the trail contours left again until gaining a ridge where the switchbacks are much shorter. You may have noticed at about 2000 feet, the trail went from being lined with ferns, beargrass, Oregon grape and huckleberries to becoming more dominated by huckleberry. From the mine on up, it only gets more until at about 2900 feet on the ridge, it is pretty much ALL huckleberries. From about 2900 feet until about 3400 feet, I call this zone Huckleberry Heaven Hillside and if you take this trail, you will see what I mean.
From the mine, it is about 2.4 miles along this ridge, past a more open area with some views, then along another ridge heading left to where the trail meets up with the Plaza Trail. Take a right onto Plaza Trail and follow it up to where the trail curves left and attains the final ridge. Before you come to the first open spot on the ridge, where the trail leveled off, to hit the summit you need to go off trail 30 yards or so to a mound in the forest with a fir tree lined with rocks to summit (GPS point 45.3023166 x -122.00375 at 4378 feet).
If you don't have a shuttle, descend the same way you came or continue on the ridge on the Boulder Ridge Trail to complete the loop hike with that route.