Info, Difficulty, and Views of a Beautiful Portland Nature Adventure
At just 65 miles west of Portland, Saddle Mountain is a fun Oregon hike, suitable for both the avid outdoor adventurer as well as the inexperienced urbanite.
Saddle Mountain peaks at 3,280 ft and is the tallest point in Clatsop County Oregon. The mountain is among the green peaks of the Oregon Cascade Range and its hike is rife with switchbacks and steep, rocky inclines. The hike covers an elevation increase of 1,603 feet and is 6 miles round trip. The easiest route up starts at the State Park trailhead, which is 7 miles off US Route 26.
Saddle Mountain’s Difficulty Level for Hiking
Saddle Mountain offers a unique crossover trail in its level of difficulty. For the experienced hiker, its metal-enmeshed, rocky trails are a breeze. However, given its close proximity to Oregon’s largest city, Saddle Mountain is popular for inexperienced city-goers as well. For urban dwellers that don’t get out much but want to take in a grand dose of nature, Saddle Mountain will likely be a strenuous, tiring, all-day event with rich visual rewards.
Sturdy hiking shoes and plenty of water are necessary for both subsets of hikers. Dogs are allowed but leave puppies and unhealthy pets at home. The steep, rocky cliffs may also make hikers second-guess bringing their young children on this trip.
Views Along the Saddle Mountain Trail
The trail starts off with a couple of miles through dense forests of moss-covered hemlock and spruce trees. Wild berries dot the sides of the trail and along the ascent, a few sneak peeks of gorgeous Oregon beauty are visible between the trees.
Banks of wildflowers are also visible early in the hike and are best seen during the summer months.
Nearer to the first peak of the “saddle” the trail breaks out into a rocky, flatter line. Here piles of basalt and interesting rock formations appear which are remnants of the mountain’s formation 15 million years ago when lava flows met with the Pacific Ocean in a violent clash of lava and steam. The geologic event formed Saddle Mountain and its signature saddle. One side of the peak is slightly lower than the main peak and doesn’t have a clear trail to its summit. Hikers pass over this portion and have only another half mile or so before they are rewarded with the true peak.
Summit of Saddle Mountain
At the summit, hikers can take in 360 degrees of Oregon beauty. Green peaks line the horizon and, on especially clear days, the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Hood are visible. A picnic table sits at the peak also, so bring a sack lunch and enjoy the fruits of this beautiful hike.
Saddle Mountain is one of many natural wonders available in Portland’s beauteous backyard. Also check out other fun, nature-related activities in Oregon.