Rising just 12 miles southwest of Mt. Hood, Devils Peak offers up to 3200 feet of hiking to a lookout at the summit. The lookout is open to hikers and maintained by volunteers. It's a great oasis and has two cots, wood-burning stove, a nice selection of books to read and sometimes even some whiskey.
Devils Peak has 3 routes to the summit varying in degree of difficulty. It's a great winter training hike with a nice ridge walk to the summit. All routes up are hikes with no technical climbing needed. With the above in mind, and with its proximity to Portland, it is a very popular destination for hikers. (This also means the trail is easy to follow in winter as it gets used a lot.)
The best route (in my opinion) is the Cool Creek Trail. The drive is easy (see route description on page) and you get a nice workout with 3200 feet of elevation gain over 4.1 miles. The trailhead is at 1850 feet but even so, the road can be blocked by snow in the winter. The other popular hike is much shorter but the drive in is rough (high clearance 4WD is best as this can punish regular cars) up to 4500 feet. Usually this route is not an option until June. The third option is to hike up nearby Hunchback Mountain from the ranger station in Zig Zag, Oregon on Route 26 and continue on the ridge to Devils Peak. This route is 9 miles one way with about 3600 feet elevation gain.
Views of Hood are outstanding and even Jefferson can be seen on clear days. One more note on the lookout -- it is pretty well taken care of so please be respectful. It used to be locked and it was vandalized alot. The thought behind the current situation is that it is open to everyone as long as it is treated kindly. So far, so good. Let's keep it a great place to hike to or stay in.
Getting ThereFor the Cool Creek Trail route, take Highway 26 from Portland east to Zig Zag. Just east of Zig Zag about 1.4 miles, turn right on Still Creek Road. Take this about 2 and a half miles to where the pavement becomes gravel. About 1/4 of a mile down the gravel you will cross Cool Creek. 300 yards further on the right there is a Cool Creek Trail #794 sign. You can park near the trailhead or actually a few hundred yards back there is a widened part of the road near a picnic spot on the other side of the road that may be better.
For the shorter route (called the Hunchback Mountain Trail but this is NOT the Hunchback Mountain Trail route I mentioned above that comes up from Highway 26 -- well, actually it is but from the other end of the trail), you will drive Highway 26 from Portland east 3 miles past Government Camp, OR. Turn off on the Trillium Lake turnoff there and follow Road 2656 (paved) 1.7 miles passing the campground entrance. Go right on Road 2612 around the lake and 1.5 miles further turn left on Road 2613. This road is the rough one and you'll be on it for 10 miles to it's end at the trailhead. (info for this route taken from William Sullivan's book -- see the book page)
For the Hunchback Mountain Trail from Highway 26, simply take 26 to Zig Zag, OR and start at the ranger station on Highway 26.
Red TapeNo permits needed for the Cool Creek Trail.
Northwest Forest Pass needed for the Hunchback Mountain Trail.
When To ClimbYear-round for the Cool Creek Trail. There is only one exposed section in winter, a short snow traverse that can be about 55 degrees or so but there is usually kicked in steps to walk right across.
June to mid-November for the short route. I have not climbed via the Hunchback Mountain Trail but would think it could be done year-round as the road is always open and plowed to the ranger station.
CampingCamping is allowed and there are plenty of flat spots to camp on, however, usually hikers go to the lookout and sleep inside the lookout. There are only two beds though and maybe room on the floor for two more. Be prepared for someone else to be in there just in case.
Zig Zag Ranger Station (503) 622 3191
70220 E Highway 26
Zig Zag, OR 97049
Mt. Hood National Forest Weather Forecast