Portland, OR: Wildcat Mountain and McIntyre Ridge

This 6.6-mile out-and-back visits an old fire lookout site and two wildflower-strewn meadows with postcard-worthy views of Mount Hood.
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This 6.6-mile out-and-back visits an old fire lookout site and two wildflower-strewn meadows with postcard-worthy views of Mount Hood.

Located less than 20 miles southwest of Mount Hood, Wildcat Mountain's lush ridgelines offer dramatic views of this iconic peak. This 6.6-mile route starts on the east side of a gravel parking area on NFD 105 and follows sweeping switchbacks to a saddle below Wildcat Mountain. Along the way, hikers will visit a clearing with wide views over Eagle Creek Valley and traverse shady hemlock forest lined with beargrass, bunchberry, mountain rhododendron, and avalanche lily.
After 1.3 miles, the trail crests the saddle. Turn left at the 3-way junction located here for a 0.8-mile side trip to a small meadow filled with beargrass, paintbrush, and stunning views of Mount Hood. Backtrack to the trail junction and turn left. Continue the gentle climb southeast for another 0.6 mile to a faint, unsigned spur on the right that climbs to Wildcat Mountain's summit. Follow this short, overgrown path to a small clearing on the summit (once the site of a fire lookout). Peek through the trees to find views of Mounts Hood and Rainier.
Head back to the main trail and continue southeast another half mile to the rock garden, a narrow, rocky ridgetop covered with spring and summer wildflowers (paintbrush, penstemon, lupine, beargrass, and rhododendron). Several high points offer huge views across Boulder Creek Valley and Eagle Creek to five Cascades volcanoes: St. Helens, Rainier, Adams, Hood, and Jefferson. Take your time to relish the picturesque scene before turning around for the trek back to the trailhead.
MORE INFO: Mount Hood National Forest
-Mapped by Eli Boschetto, Bosco Mountain Photo

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 10.6

Waypoints

WCM001

Location: 45.3006033, -122.0651114

The trailhead is located on the east side of gravel turnaround. The first 1.3 miles of the Wildcat Mountain Trail follow sweeping switchbacks to a saddle northwest of Wildcat Mountain. Beargrass blooms flank the path.

WCM002

Location: 45.2997807, -122.0460999

Turn left (northeast) at the 3-way junction located here for a 0.8-mile side trip to a small meadow filled with beargrass, paintbrush, and stunning views of Mount Hood.

WCM003

Location: 45.3108505, -122.0427632

Take a trail break on a comfy bench surrounded by wildflower meadow and in-your-face views of Mount Hood. Return to Waypoint 2 and turn left.

WCM004

Location: 45.2993167, -122.0456833

Pass a signboard and continue southeast along the ridge.

WCM005

Location: 45.2945355, -122.0413148

Look for the unsigned and overgrown spur to Wildcat Mountain on the right just before the trail begins to descend.

WCM006

Location: 45.2936834, -122.04155

Wildcat Mountain: This 4,480-foot summit was once the site of a fire lookout. Peek through the trees for views of Mounts Hood and Rainier. Return to Waypoint 5 and turn right.

WCM007

Location: 45.2898167, -122.03605

This rocky ridge features a profusion of colorful wildflowers and views of five Cascades volcanoes. Retrace your route back to the trailhead. Optional: For a longer trip, keep heading southeast to the Twin Springs or Wildwood areas.

Mount Hood

Location: 45.3101187, -122.0427418

Mount Hood looming over beargrass meadow near the bench viewpoint. © Eli Boschetto

Wildcat Trailhead

Location: 45.3007316, -122.0647573

Start the trail on the east side of the gravel turnaround. © Eli Boschetto

Eagle Creek

Location: 45.3000675, -122.064178

View across the valley before heading uphill through forest. © Eli Boschetto

Beargrass

Location: 45.3015466, -122.0613241

Beargrass blooms are frequent along the Wildcat Mountain Trail. © Eli Boschetto

Mountain Rhododendron

Location: 45.3021503, -122.0576334

Mountain rhododendron is a prolific summer bloom along the Wildcat Mountain Trail. © Eli Boschetto

Bunchberry

Location: 45.301939, -122.0499086

Small white flowers found in shady forest, often crowded around the trunks of trees. © Eli Boschetto

Bench View

Location: 45.3108732, -122.0423985

Perfect spot for a trail break. Enjoy the view surrounded by blooming beargrass, paintbrush and penstemon. © Eli Boschetto

Avalanche Lily

Location: 45.2986487, -122.0450592

Small patches of avalanche lily. © Eli Boschetto

Summit Spur

Location: 45.2945431, -122.0411646

Short, overgrown spur to the summit of Wildcat Mountain. © Eli Boschetto

Mount Hood View

Location: 45.2936978, -122.0414329

Mount Hood from the summit of Wildcat Mountain. © Eli Boschetto

Rock Garden

Location: 45.2901051, -122.0369375

Large patches of penstemon join paintbrush and lupine on this section of rocky ridge. © Eli Boschetto

Mountain View

Location: 45.2898032, -122.0356607

View of Mounts Rainier and Adams over Beaver Creek Valley. © Eli Boschetto