trip reports

November 17, 2019

Boulder Ridge to Huckleberry Mountain hike

Wanting a good conditioning hike on a foggy and rainy day, we got a little more adventure than we anticipated when it got pitch dark for the last two miles of our hike.

10.6 miles 3,450 ft gain

The Boulder Ridge Trail begins at the Wildwood Recreation Site in Welches, Oregon (Northwest Forest Pass required). As soon as you park, you can hear the rushing water of the Salmon River. The trail begins with a bridge over the river, then goes through a flat section of super green forest. At a second sign board for the Boulder Ridge hike, the trail heads up the ridge via switchbacks. In the winter, there’s a seasonal waterfall that you have to walk through (see my post from January 2018), but on this day it was a small trickle of water next to the trail.

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

super green forest

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

heading up the ridge via switchbacks

 

After 1.75 miles, the trail enters the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. Beargrass, rhododendrons and Oregon grape line the trail in places.

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

entering the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

looking up the ridge

 

On the way up, we stopped at the viewpoint for a snack. There were views to the east of Hunchback Mountain and surrounding ridges, but Mount Hood was hiding in the clouds on this day.

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

first viewpoint

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

continuing up the ridge

 

As you get closer to the top, the terrain changes as the trail passes through several small meadows. A tiny campsite with room for one tent is situated in the trees just before the open saddle on Huckleberry Mountain.

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

the terrain changes as we get closer to the top

 

At the saddle, it was windy and foggy so we didn’t linger for long.

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

open saddle on Huckleberry Mountain

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

we made it!

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

foggy conditions at the top

 

We headed back down to find a spot out of the wind for a lunch break.

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

heading back

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

standing snag in a beautiful section of the forest

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

manzanita shrub at a rocky outcrop

 

As we hiked out, the fog got thicker and made it look like we were floating above an abyss. There were no views this time when we reached the viewpoint we had stopped at on the way up.

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

foggy conditions along the ridge

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

foggy forest

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

back at the viewpoint

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

rhododendrons

 

It quickly got dark but we still had two more miles to hike out. We put on our headlamps and continued in pitch black conditions for the rest of the hike. Thankfully, it wasn’t difficult to find our way on the trail, but it’s a good idea to always be prepared, especially when the days are colder, wetter and shorter. We had plenty of layers, wore rain gear from head to toe, and carried essentials just in case we got stuck overnight.

When we drove in, we noticed a sign about a gate that closes at 4:00 pm. Obviously we were well past that when we arrived back at the car, and sure enough, the gate was closed when we got back to the entrance. We sat there for a minute thinking about what to do when the gate began to open automatically. Whew!! A great ending to a bit more adventure than we planned for!

Huckleberry Mountain via Boulder Ridge hike

dark forest

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