Kings Mountain Elk Creek Loop

After about a month to heal minor surgery on my big toenail I set out on what turned out to be an aggressive overnight to Kings Mountain in the Tillamook State Forest.


Elk Creek near Trailhead

Aggressive because of a 24 hour window, about 4000 vertical and being a bit out of shape for climbing. But the weather was awesome and Brook was anxious to return to the wilderness. BrookStreamCrossingTwo years ago I did Elk Mountain looping back by way of Elk Creek. Both Elk and Kings Mountains are fairly radical climbs of about 2500′. This time I added an extra 4 miles and another 500′ by starting at the Elk Creek Trailhead and hiking to the Kings Mountain trail by way of the Wilson River Trail. PDF of first leg of the Loop

The trail starts out with a steep climb up to the junction to the Elk Mountain Trail, but you continue on to the Wilson River Trail for 3.5 miles to the Kings Mountain Trail. This stretch is moderate with plenty of beautiful Rain Forest terrain.BrookBridgeCrossing You need to be on the lookout for mountain bikers who love this trail.

The 2.3 miles 2400′ vertical up to the summit on the Kings Mountain Trail is the killer. Although this climb is not as technically difficult as the Elk Mountain climb, it is still serious vertical in a relatively short distance. PDF of Kings Mountain Climb You do get a good view at about 2600′. FirstViewThis is about when my leg muscles were starting to talk to me, but that is one of the benefits of backpacking. You commit to a destination which makes it difficult to avoid the valuable exercise.

This is a popular day hike so I had company on the climb but rarely are they backpackers. Camping on top of a mountain means you carry all of your water which also includes water for Brook. Close to the summit there is a real picnic table which is a bit unusual. PicnicTableIt was a photo and kissing opportunity.

The summit was near as the views rewarded us.

As expected we were the only campers so we took the only spot at the summit. The evening was quickly ending and I think because I was so tired I could not warm up. But a hot meal and then a cup of hot chocolate warmed my body as it seemed like the air was warming. Now it was time for sunset.

Looking West from Kings Mountain

Looking West from Kings Mountain

It was a perfect evening with an awesome star display and an inspiring sunrise. Brook opted to sleep outside most of the night.

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I committed to playing golf at 1:30 back in McMinnville so Brook and I needed to hike out the 6 miles on an early timeline. PDF of Kings Mtn to Elk Creek Trail

The backside of Kings Mountain is fairly technical with ups and downs as well as a rope assisted climb.

Brook Needed some Help

Brook Needed some Help

Once we got to the Elk Creek trail is was an easy 4 miles out all downhill. This section turned into a lush rain forest once we got to Elk Creek.

A work crew was crossing Elk Creek via a ladder bridge that appeared to be quite a challenge.

Forest Service Work Crew

Forest Service Work Crew

Back at the trailhead after a wonderful 24 hour adventure.

About ghsmith76

Backpacker, Grandfather, Volunteer, Advisor, Mentor and still Technologically Aware. Greg retired as a technologist who served as a Chief Information Officer in Higher Education at various universities. Prior to the IT career in Academia, Greg was a Systems Consultant with Hewlett-Packard. Other early jobs included IT activity in the oil shale and coal mining industries along with owning a computer store in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Posted on October 26, 2017, in Backpacking. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Its a beautiful place….. lovely pictures…….


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