hike: Kings Mountain

The trail to the summit of Kings Mountain is steep – with 2,500 ft of elevation gain in 2.5 miles. At the top are expansive views of Oregon’s Coast Range. Don’t forget to sign the summit register!

distance: 5 miles round trip
elevation gain: 2,545 ft.
difficulty: very strenuous
drive time from Portland: 1 hour
parking pass: none
hike description: OregonHikers.org: Kings Mountain Hike

The Hike

I’ve driven by this trailhead on Highway 6 countless times… on the way to the coast or to explore trails along the Wilson River. Kings Mountain and Elk Mountain are known as rugged, steep and difficult hikes so I didn’t think I’d ever do it. Until now. It pretty much matched what I expected in terms of being difficult, but it was do-able and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The lower forest is full of giant ferns, which is pretty much my favorite type of forest, and the views from the top were better than I imagined.

The first section of trail is relatively flat. Don’t get used to it.

Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike

The ferns here are enormous.

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Photos can’t capture the steepness of this trail. At times, it was so steep that it looked like you could just slide back down. I’m sure that happens some when the trail is slick.

Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike

Partway up, views of the rugged Lester Creek Pinnacles area enticed me to keep going.

Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike

The higher up you go, the bigger the views get.

Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike

When we reached the top, we signed the summit register (thank you Mazamas!) and continued a short distance ahead to an open ridge. With sunny skies and temps in the low 50s, it felt like an early summer day in January.

Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike Oregon Coast Range – Kings Mountain hike