Trail of the Month

Little Huckleberry Mountain

Activity: Berry Picking | Distance: 5 Miles | Rating: Hard

By Brian Barker August 19, 2011 Published in the September 2011 issue of Portland Monthly

WHY IT’S GREAT Hikes don’t come much sweeter than this: an explosion of huckleberry and thimbleberry bushes decorates this seldom-traveled 2.5-mile path to the top of Little Huckleberry Mountain, a 4,781-foot peak rising above Southwest Washington’s sprawling Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The price of admission? Quad pain. The trail darts up some 1,800 demanding feet on its way to the remnants of a former fire lookout. Still, rewards are ample. Along with a buffet of sun-ripened berries, feast on views of Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, and Big Lava Bed, a snaking nine-mile stretch of lumpy rock that oozed from a now-extinct volcano. Pack a sense of adventure, too—the woods here are rife with black bear, elk, deer, and cougar, not to mention persistent rumors of Bigfoot.

DON’T FORGET The Sawtooth Berry Fields, a traditional Native American berry-picking site, are located just 11 miles away from the junction of Forest Road 24.

POST-HIKE WATERING HOLE Taste of the Gorge Salmon BLTs, made-from-scratch soups, and Rainier beer pair with views of Mount Adams from the front porch of this tucked-away find on Highway 141. 820 Highway 141, White Salmon, Washington; 509-493-4450;

TRAILHEAD DIRECTIONS From Trout Lake, Washington, follow State Route 141 North. At the Gifford Pinchot National Forest boundary, 141 becomes Forest Road 24. Continue on FR 24 to the junction of FR 60 and turn left. Follow FR 60 to FR 66 and turn left. Trailhead located just past junction of FR 66 and FR 6610. Personal use permit, available at any Forest Service office, allows harvest of up to three gailons of berries per person.

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