With easy access from the small town of Zigzag, Hunchback Mountain is a great hike with spectacular views. The climbing begins immediately after leaving the parking lot, so be sure to stretch before you get started. The hike passes through enchanting wildflowers, including yellow evergreen violets, western trillium and beds of Oregon oxalis before climbing steeply through continuous switchbacks for the first 2 miles.
The hike leads to three prominent viewpoints along the mountain’s ridge. Perched atop exposed rimrock, the first viewpoint has expansive views to the south overlooking the Salmon River valley below and much of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. Travel only a little further and you’ll make your way to the second viewpoint, or “Rockpile,” which offers dramatic views to the north, including the first full view of Mount Hood. Without dismissing the entirety of the hike, there is no shame in making the Rockpile your end destination if you’re just looking for a quick adventure. If you want some good exercise, however, continue another 2.1 miles along the ridge and past numerous rhododendrons to the third viewpoint, known as the Great Pyramid. Here a rock outcropping juts out to the south and gives a more dramatic, panoramic view of the Salmon-Huckleberry wilderness. The Salmon River runs below, Salmon Butte stands to the south, and Mount St. Helens peaks out in the northwest.