Huckleberry Mountain


Forest Service Trails #1667 and #1665

Why? Wonderful Views

Season: Mid-June through October

Ease: Difficult. It’s 2 miles and just shy of 2,000 feet up to the old lookout site.

Without doubt, the trail up Huckleberry Mountain is the steepest trail I’ve hiked in the Wallowas. Not only do you spend a lot of time huffing and puffing on the way up, but also you can’t relax and recover on the way down cause it’s just too steep. When you throw in that you’re liable to get blown away while you’re lunching up on top, it might be hard to believe that the hike is worth the effort. But it is.

The top of Huckleberry Mountain is a windswept, grassy meadow a mile or so long that sits above Goat Creek. Once you’ve reached it and found a sheltered spot or steadied yourself against the wind, you’ll find a 360-degree panorama, even though you’re a full 2,500 feet lower than the high peaks of the Eagle Cap. To the north, there’s the Wallowa Valley and the Blue Mountains. To the East, there’s the Seven Devils in the distance and suggestions of the valleys of the Snake and other rivers. To the west are the continuing ridges of the Eagle Cap toward La Grande. And to the south are some of the snow-covered peaks high above the Lostine River.

There used to be a lookout tower on top of Huckleberry, and an assortment of its remains litter the area it occupied. It must have been an interesting place to be posted.

One of the nice features of this hike is that you don’t have to wait until you’re all the way up before you get most of these views. The trail alternates between woods and open areas, and within a half mile you can see the Wallowa Valley, Seven Devils and the Blues. But the higher you go, the better you’ll see them.

Trail Notes: After you’ve hiked most of the way up the hill, you’ll cross a drainage. Go to the right up through the lodge pole pines and ignore the side trail to the left, one of many you will have seen on this hike.

Directions: Turn west on First Street, signed for Bear Creek, in the town of Wallowa. In about a half mile turn left on Bear Creek Road. Bear left on Road 8250 about 7 miles later. It’s marked not for passenger vehicles, but seemed fine at least with respect to clearance. The trailhead is just past milepost 8, on the right, and there’s parking. The road was gated the October I hiked, but that was OK. On this hike, it’s good to have a half-mile level walk along the road at each end of this hike.

As you drive along Road 8250, check to your right and up. You can often see the mountaintop, a clear, flat patch of grass above the trees. You also can see it when you drive into Enterprise, from the visitor center, and lots of other spots along the way – spots you can see from the top once you’ve climbed it, needless to say.

Information: U.S. Forest Service Wallowa Mountains Visitors Services, Joseph, OR, (541) 426-5546.

Maps: USGS Lostine, Oregon; Imus Geographics Wallowa Mountains, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon.

Connections: Once up the mountain, you could continue to hike the ridge to Little Storm Lake, or head down to Bear Creek. I have tried neither.