Do you want a taste of the summit life? If you answered yes, then strap on your boots and let’s get started because it’s closer and more attainable than you think.
The summit of Saddle Mountain is achievable after 1,630 feet of elevation gain over 2.5 miles. Plus, you get panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, the mouth of the Columbia River, and a handful of cascade volcanoes on a clear day.
At 3,288 feet, Saddle Mountain is the tallest mountain in northwest corner of Oregon state. On a clear day views include: Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Jefferson.
The trailhead is flush with all of the modern amenities that you would want at the start of a hike: Bathrooms, drinking water, 10 primitive, non-reservable campsites, garbage bins, and fire grills. Sites are $5-10 per night, but there are no fees for day use. There is also a bonus hike to Humbug Mountain about a quarter of a mile up the main trail.
Early American and European explorers noted the mountain’s existence from afar and went on their way. It wasn’t until 1841 that an American geologist by the name of James Dwight Dana made the first summit, however his lack of a beard makes this claim somewhat suspect in our opinion.
Today, many people enjoy hiking the 2.5 mile long trail that leads to the summit. Most of the trail is uphill and some sections can be rather steep. Fortunately, at especially precarious areas, the trail has been fitted with chain link material to improve traction. Stairs and hand rails are available in some sections as well, making this one of the most well outfitted trails that Wanderlusthiker has ever explored.
The climate surrounding the mountain is subject to change frequently due to its prominence in the Oregon Coast Range and its proximity to the ocean. Hikers should be prepared for wind and cool weather even on a clear day. Extra gear is required to endure the damp, cloudy periods that Pacific North-westerners have grown to know quite well.
Right off of US highway 26, Saddle Mountain State Park road winds through the hills and ends at the trailhead.
I’ve been to Saddle Mountain a few times in the fall and late winter months. Each time during ideal weather conditions, so I cannot speak to the difficulties involved with hiking to the summit on a stormy day. Based on the region, I imagine the biggest challenge involves fighting off the cold and the wet.
Standard day hike equipment and endurance is required for this hike. Plan to spend between 4-5 hours completing the 5 mile round-trip trail.
Lately, I haven’t been known for packing light. But this is a day hike which, by most standards, typically require less gear.
2 liters of water plus granola bars and a sandwich. Why pack more food when you can get a massive bread bowl of chowder in Seaside just a few minutes away?
If you haven’t gathered already we think this hike is brilliant. It’s a moderate hike that provides a sense of accomplishment, it has a side trail for beginner hikers, there are amenities at the trailhead, and the view at the top is worth taking a break for.