Saddle Mountain

“It’s only 5 miles round trip?” Amanda snorted as she looked at the information panel at the Saddle Mountain trailhead. “Pfft! This hike is for toddlers!”

toddling up Saddle Mountain

She was kidding, of course. Saddle Mountain is closer to 6 miles round trip with about 1,800′ of climbing; the last half-mile is quite exposed. Toddlers would have totally quit after a couple of miles.

purple iris, mountain buttercup, bistort

Some short hikes feel short. Other short hikes, like Saddle Mountain in wildflower time, can take most of the day. With over 300 plant species and excellent views from the summit, there’s a lot to stop and look at. It’s dense with awesomeness.

love bugs

While it was clear and warm in the valley, marine clouds squatted over the Coast Range, providing cool misty northwestern hiking ambiance. I was again reminded why I bring a warm hat, rain jacket, and gloves on all of my hikes, no matter the weather forecast. Microclimates!

scouting more wildflowers

It was too cold and damp for peanut butter sandwiches on the summit (plus, there was nothing to look at and only cliffs for little dogs to leap off), so we hiked down and lunched at one of the *four* picnic tables along the trail.


Since it was Friday, we didn’t see many people but you can tell that the trail gets a lot of use. Years ago, Oregon State Parks (who has jurisdiction over the area), started augmenting the trail tread with rock-filled chainlink fence and wooden stairs because of erosion issues. I think that most of the pilot interventions have been abandoned, but 90% of the upper trail is now comprised of the chainlink trail tread. From above, it looks like an asphalt trail.

Amanda climbs the chainlink path to the summit

Some wildflowers are peaking now, but others are just emerging. It’s bound to be good for another two to three weeks.

Rosy plectritis with clear cut

mountain monkeyflower


marshmallow puffpowder - no wait, checkermallow (Sidalcea spp.)

Northwestern garter snake (Thamnophis ordinoides)


maidenhair fern

If you’re over the age of three and want a nice, slow (because you’re going to stop every ten feet to examine something interesting and/or catch your breath) hike, it’s a great time to visit. Toddlers – pfft! – you’re just going have to have to find something else.

Saddle Mountain State Natural Area
6.1 miles
free parking; no Forest Pass required

4 thoughts on “Saddle Mountain

  1. Wow you saw it all!!

    I feel like I’ve done Saddle Mountain before but I’m blanking on where it is exactly.

  2. It’s just off Highway 26, west of Portland about 70 miles. You can see Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia from the top.

  3. LOL, I knew that comment was gonna follow me around. Honestly, I’m just jealous of toddler because they are probably faster than me. :)

  4. Pingback: A Year of Riches | Allison Outside

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