hike: Elk Creek Trail

The Elk Creek Trail is a quiet, forested route on an old logging road that parallels Elk Creek before ascending a ridge of Elk Mountain.

distance: 8 miles (out and back)
elevation gain: 2,100 ft
difficulty: strenuous
best season: fall, spring
drive time from Portland: 1 hour
parking pass:
none
hike description: OregonHikers.org: Elk Creek Hike

The Hike

The Elk Creek trail starts near the campground of the same name and goes up 2,100 ft. in 4 miles to a junction with the Elk Mountain Trail.

My favorite time of year to hike in coastal forests is late fall to spring. The forests are filled with lush shades of green, and water runs higher in the streams.

On this hike, fall color on vine maples added touches of gold to the forest, and as we got closer to the top, snow patches were alongside the trail and occasionally across the trail with a few patches of ice. We didn’t continue to reach the summit of Elk Mountain, but maybe next time. It’s another 2.8 miles from where we stopped at the trail junction.

Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail

The rock walls next to the trail are filled with small pockets of ferns and moss.

Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail

The trail is steep at times, but the grade is always gradual due to being an old logging road bed.

Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail

I love the rich textures of the forests here.

Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail

Shades of gold on vine maples were sprinkled throughout the forest.

Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail

This was the most snow we saw all day. It was a bit slick and icy but it was easy to step around.

Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail

This was our end point for the hike – at a junction with the Elk Mountain Trail. The road bed continues past here, but it doesn’t reconnect with trails. We had a long break here, then hiked back the same way.

Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail Oregon Coast Range – Elk Creek Trail