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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
9.00 mi (14.48 km)
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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.

 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Pros

Incredible views of neighboring Mount Hood. Old-growth forest.

Cons

Beginning of the trail is very steep.

Trailhead Elevation

1,490.00 ft (454.15 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,600.00 ft (792.48 m)

Features

Big vistas
Old-growth forest

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Oregon, Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon
Oregon, Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Oregon, Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area
Oregon, Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area
Oregon, Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area

Comments

07/08/2018
If you read about this hike in William Sullivans, 100 Hikes in NW OR, you will be on the look out for signs that point to the Rockpile viewpoint and the Helispot viewpoint. These signs are no longer there for traffic heading in on the trail. I saw them only once I went beyond these spots and turned around, because the signs that faced the traffic heading out of the trail are present. Even with the Helispot sign pointing to the side trail that was supposed to have a viewpoint after 200 yards, I could not find the view... the trail disappeared into thick bushes. I was expecting the trail to be easier after the initial 2 miles of switchbacks, but it continues to have steep uphill sections and narrow trails that are sometimes sliding off the edge of the hill, very dry loose soil or slanted sideways with the slope. Overall, it was a very challenging hike for me and if I did it again, I would not go beyond the Rockpile viewpoint.
06/24/2018
I just did this bad boy for the first time last week and I was sore for four days!! I loooove a hard hike and this delivered!!! Watch out for ginormous fire ants at the end on Pyramid. They were all over me :( I highly recommend running down- way easier on the knees!
11/25/2013
Made it as far as the Rock Pile. Had to finish earlier than expected because of my slow pace and the lack of sunlight. It was my first time using trekking poles, which were nice! I also visited the ranger station, which had plenty of good information.
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