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This stiff hike begins from a trailhead next to the Zigzag Ranger Station on Highway 26. It is an excellent conditioning hike and the terrain is wild and rugged, especially considering its proximity to a main thoroughfare. You will hike up a rocky ridge with some picturesque outcroppings offering viewpoints: do not be surprised if you notice sign of both coyote and cougar.
The Hunchback Mountain Trail #793 begins on the south side of the parking area under Douglas-fir, western red-cedar, western hemlock, and big-leaf maple on a carpet of lady fern, deer fern, sword fern, and salal. The trail switchbacks at a spring house and rises to another switchback at the new wilderness sign and a small cistern/dam. There are two more switchbacks and then a traverse before another switchback. The trail levels at a ridgecrest of Oregon grape and sword fern and then drops to a saddle. From here, the trail heads up and switchbacks, traverses, switchbacks, and then passes under mossy ramparts. There are three short switchbacks at another rocky outcropping. Pass a campsite and then wind up before switchbacking five times to more mossy ramparts. There are three more switchbacks to higher rocky palisades and then a traverse along the slope through rhododendrons. Wind up to the ridge crest, then drop slightly to traverse the western slope of the ridge through a carpet of salal. There’s a short, steep drop down an open manzanita slope. A spur left leads to a viewpoint over the Still Creek valley. The trail drops past an andesite outcrop and then winds steeply up to the breccia/rimrock cliffs. From here, the top of Mount Hood is visible on a clear day.
The trail drops and traverses up the east side of a steep slope under Douglas-fir, hemlock and cedar. A sign points to the Rockpile Viewpoint on the right, which offers a vista of Mount Hood. The trail drops below a talus slope and switchbacks twice at a second talus field before reaching the ridge crest. Now the path undulates along, passes spur to a helispot viewpoint, and produces encounters with some interesting rock outcrops. Traverse the east side of the slope, where silver firs now enter the forest mix. Head up to a rocky crest, and make another east side traverse before reaching the crest again and a narrow andesite catwalk. Rise steeply, drop, and then ascend steeply again before reaching the sign for the Great Pyramid. Head out along this steep-sided promontory and make a couple of little scrambles to reach the end, where you can look down on the lush green cleft of the lower valley of the Salmon River.
Will start from the Zigzag Ranger Station. Steady elevation gain via many switchbacks at the beginning to a great viewpoint. Then continue on up and down along a ridge that has several more view options and ends at the “Great Pyramid” which juts out above the Salmon River Valley. This is an excellent conditioning hike and the terrain is wild and rugged.
9 miles 3270 ft. Dr. 80. Meeting Location: Gateway 7:30AM
Must sign up on line.
|Driving Distance from Portland||76 miles|
|Distance - Round Trip||9 miles|
|Expected Duration||Car to car in one day|
|Awards Qualified||Mt. Hood Award, Wild Ones|