I had breakfast with a buddy at Alice's Restaurant around milepost 8 (good eats) on Highway 6. He was on his way into the valley, so he shuttled me up to the Elk Trailhead to hike solo while my truck was waiting at Kings. The shuttle cut out the 3.5 mile get-back via East Wilson River Trail and I felt a bit like a cheater, but it was nice!
The trail was clear enough to follow and the signs at major junctions were cool. I got a kick out of the "Caution" sign posted along the trail as it drops of the backside of Elks, duh. There are old blue dots and blazes on the birch in sporadic places, offering a little route affirmation.
It was a blue sky day day offering hazy Eastern views to Hood and similar western views to Cape Lookout and Cape Meares. I couldn't make out the Pacific, but I hear you can see that too.
Another nice time with two buddies. Low fog in the valleys with blue sky overhead, the weather was kind. The trail was leaf covered. This was the first time I ever spit water out of my nose on the summit of any mountain from laughing so hard, good friends are good to have.
We thought we saw a mobile meth lab parked across from us at the trailhead starting out. Hike was cloudy, rainy, foggy, cold, etc. Getting up Elk is fun. Never allows you to develop a steady pace. Your heart rate is always going up & down making for good training. The U between is great. Pretty easy until you get closer to Kings & wrap along the backside of the ridge. If there's snow back there (like this time) you'll have a fun time crawling up it & sliding down it while reaching for anything to hold onto. Try not to slide off the edge in the snow, it's a long way down & taxpayers hate that stuff. Kings & down, no problem. Then just the long, never ending hike back to Elk trailhead after that. But you'll get an average workout in that portion. Saw no sasquatch this time. Suspected mobile meth lab was still there when we got back, but looked abandoned by it's 2 former operators. Thank God for CHL's & hi-cap mags.
Great day. Started at Elk, which was fun to say the least then wandered around the U to Kings. The U is the best part of the trip. Well worth it. Did not see any Sasquatch, but did see a Liger in a tree. I fought it off with my bow staff though. If you do the loop start at Elk and don't count on the Wilson river trail back to be as flat as it starts out. Also you'll find some Blair Witch-like rock piles on the U part.
An exciting Coast Range hike. These mountains feel surprisingly big and the trails are plenty steep. Some of the prettiest spots were on the trail connecting the two mountains at their bases. I like the views back to Kings Mountain from the top of Elk.
Hiked up it last evening to calm our nerves after work. Beautiful little summit.
Date Signed: Apr 26, 2004 11:36 AM
Fun hike to the top of a pretty peak. Beautiful day with views that included Hood and St. Helens. The traverse to King is pretty scenic. Totally snow free.
Have hiked it previously:
Hiked it with a group of Mazamas. Attempted to do the Elk/King traverse but ran out of time. Came down via x-country travel and old forest roads. Great sunny day, tons of snow on the ground.
February, 2003 - Hiked Elk Mountain trail up and back in the Rain for a viewless hike.
October 2003 - Parked at the king's mountain trailhead and hiked the wilson river trail to it's junction with the elk mountain trail on what seemed to be a perfect fall day for a hike. However by the time i got to the false summit, it began to rain. I was thoroughly soaked by the time i made it to the real summit, but couldn't bring myself to turn around. The rain made the steep rocky descent off the other side of elk mountain a little sketchy but still pretty fun.
April, 2004 - Did traverse again solo. This time the rain turned to a mix of rain, hail and snow just below the summit, which made the traverse to kings pretty interesting.
May, 2004 - I took Michelle Dechesser on this hike, and finally got a nice view from the top. The views of Mount hood and all the wildflowers make this a very pleasant hike.
August 8, 2006 -Did traverse again on a partly cloudy day
Great hike. I wish we had continued to Kings. I will definitely go back to do the whole traverse. We took the main Elk Mtn. Trail to the summit, but continued down an old logging road back to the campground.
Short steep trail in good condition. Bad weather prevented me from enjoying the views
from the top. Started out as a light mist, turned into a steady rain, lightly snowing on top.
Was able to see some of the surrounding mountains on the way down after the fog/clouds