Beginning at Elk Creek Campground (closed in winter, adding 0.5 miles to each end of the hike) start with a difficult climb. Ascend 1860 feet in 1.66 miles to the summit of Elk Mountain. But don’t stop there! Take in amazing views of the Coast Range, then continue down the backside of Elk losing and regaining hundreds of feet of elevation several times as you cross the traverse to King’s Mountain Summit 3 country miles away. Be warned: You will need hands and feet at times to scramble along this trail. Not recommended if there is any ice!
( An Alternate option exists of looping with Elk Creek, for those who find this cross between mountains too much).
Strong knees, heart, and lungs are required on this one; once you reach the summit of Kings, descend 2465 feet over 2.1 miles to the junction with the Wilson River Trail. You can leave a car here for a shuttle, or for those who just haven’t had enough – hike another 3.87 miles back to your car along the creek. The first half of this is a pleasant enough stroll, but then you gain another 500 feet of elevation again after the third bridge crossing. Bring plenty of fuel.
-Mapped by Echo Hobbs
- Distance: 16.9
Trailhead Elk Creek
Location: 45.607206, -123.461671
Elk climb – pic
Location: 45.614157, -123.481607
It’s hard work!
Elk climb – pic
Location: 45.616169, -123.483367
Mist rising through the mountains
Elk climb pic
Location: 45.616139, -123.483946
The road (your starting point) far below
Elk summit – pic
Location: 45.616259, -123.485363
Summit Elk Mt.
Location: 45.616289, -123.484912
Elk descent – pic
Location: 45.616604, -123.485137
A steep drop down the backside
Junction – Sign
Location: 45.620304, -123.484267
To continue on to King’s Mountain, bear left at this three way junction.
Elk Mt Kings Mt junction pic
Location: 45.620303, -123.48429
Location: 45.626186, -123.502663
Don’t let the “road” fool you — an old logging trail? The forest has been fast at work reclaiming this so that not even an off road vehicle would have room. But it makes for an awfully nice trail.
Location: 45.620382, -123.511956
Rope to assist in a particularly steep section
Rope – pic
Location: 45.620431, -123.511997
Descend with caution
Elk to Kings Mt trail – pic
Location: 45.620394, -123.512029
Yes, it IS that steep. A lot.
Kings mt ascent
Location: 45.616754, -123.514454
Summit King’s Mt.
Location: 45.614548, -123.513966
Summit Kings Mt – pic
Location: 45.614563, -123.514046
Kings Mt descent – pic
Location: 45.614383, -123.514094
Begin a steep descent, and head into dense Oregon forest.
Junction Kings Mt Trailhead
Location: 45.598696, -123.507357
Bear left at this three way junction to continue on the river trail, or continue straight to reach the Kings Mountain trailhead parking lot.
Location: 45.598868, -123.5074
Location: 45.601455, -123.504218
A ring of stones placed for unknown reasons
Oregon Henge – pic
Location: 45.601406, -123.504165
Location: 45.601218, -123.5021
The marsh drains over a sinkhole into a creekbed again
Crossing – pic
Location: 45.601199, -123.502094
Location: 45.608446, -123.494557
Last bridge – pic
Location: 45.608439, -123.49453