Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Battle Ax Mountain Trail starts at an unofficial trailhead where washouts have closed the forest road. This portion of the trail follows the creek that washed out the road. You will reach what was the original trailhead, Trail #3340, and start your climb up a more obvious and better maintained trail.

The trail on Battle Ax Mountain is a mixture of dirt and rocks. Most rocky areas are talus fields that the trail crosses a few times as it switchbacks up the mountain. You will notice multiple rock formations and a diverse array of geologic formations in addition to wildflowers (if you hike in the spring) and stunning views. On a clear day you will be rewarded with views of Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Broken Top, and the Three Sisters.

A cabin was built on Battle Ax in 1925. It was replaced by a tower in 1951, but this was destroyed in 1969. Concrete pillars are all that remain from the site. There is room for a tent here or at a couple other areas along the trail, but there are no actual designated campsites. From the summit, return back the way you came or follow Trail #3340 to a junction with Trail #544. At the junction, take a sharp right turn to return to Elk Lake and Forest Road 4697. Turn right onto Forest Road 4697 for about 0.8 mile to reach the junction with Trail #3340 and the trailhead.

Note that the trailhead has space for about four cars, and the road is rough. If you do choose to park at the unofficial trailhead, you will need a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle. For other parking options, try parking further down the road or at the campground. There is no marker indicating the trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Pros

Great views. Solitude.

Cons

Rough road.

Trailhead Elevation

4,000.00 ft (1,219.20 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,558.00 ft (474.88 m)

Features

Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Mt. Jefferson + Metolius River Area, Oregon
Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

08/21/2017
For a mountain that sees very little traffic, I was joined by many others for the Total Eclipse grand event. (There was 5 of us Saturday night, 25 Sunday night, and likely about 60-80 people on the mountain by the time the eclipse started)
Beautiful panaramic views of the whole valley. From the top, you can see Mount Adams, Mount St Helens, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Ollalie Butte, Three Finger Jack, Elk Lake and much more.
08/26/2017
Hiked up from the new trailhead Amy describes above, GOT ENGAGED, and camped on the ridge overnight. I appreciated the warnings about the rough road--we have a four wheel drive high-clearance truck and still needed to pick our path carefully.

From Amy's description, I thought we were at the old trailhead when we started the hike, and then saw what she meant when we turned up on #3340. I'm pretty sure no one can get any kind of vehicle through to the old trailhead unless you have an ATV the size of a clown car. I was surprised that NF #4697 is a pretty rough road from the get-go, and we followed someone's oil trail for miles (didn't find them to help out, though). Don't let that be you!

It's a short but steep hike with an incredible albeit hazy smoky view at the top. The fire smoke might have kept people away, but we only passed one descending group on our way up and saw no one else the entire time. The summit point isn't the only flat spot to camp up there, so don't be heartbroken if you already see someone's tent-- walk a few more yards along the ridge and you'll find more!
08/03/2017
We took Bagby trail #544 up to the junction with Battle Axe trail #3340 where there was a campsite and small stream for replenishing water supply then headed up and camped for the night on the ridge near the peak of Battle Axe. We made our descent the next morning via the trail Amy describes above. It took about 3 hours heading up from Elk Lake via #544/#3340 to Battle Axe summit and only about 1.5 hours to get down the next morning. Our views from the top were absolutely breathtaking despite limited visibility from forest fire smoke in atmosphere. We’re looking forward to making it up again soon to get full view of Cascades.
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