Take Hwy 26 from Downtown Portland and drive about 20 miles west to Hwy 6 past Banks, OR. From there it's another 26.4 miles to the trailhead. It's about 3.2 miles east of the Tillamook Forest Center. There's room for about 8 cars to angle park and some room for another 3-4 cars to parallel park.
When I arrived, the lot was full but there were a few cars parked on the side of the road. Cars and trucks were whizzing by but at least there was room to pull off completely. I geared up and set out on the hike. Just as I reached the parking lot, a car was pulling out. I quickly ran back to my car and hoped that another hiker wouldn't arrive and snag it in the short time it took to U-turn and drive the 100 yds. I lucked out. In fact, the car next to me was also leaving as I got there so there was soon another empty spot. I was happy not to be on the side of the highway.
Elev. gain: 2,575 ft
Moving time: 2:55:03
Avg pace: 30:51
Total time: 3:05:31
Today is the last day of the The Nature Conservancy September 2023 Fundraiser. The goal was to hike 40 miles. While I surpassed that in August during WTA's Hike-a-Thon, I came up short in September.
It's a tough hike at 2,575 ft of elevation gain in around 2.8 miles. The total mileage for the day was 5.67 miles. This brings me to 33.6 miles for September. Not a bad effort! Glad to support this organization.
This signage says this is a difficult hike and they aren't kidding. Fortunately, I'm in good shape for the elevation gain. My feet are still a bit sore from plantar fasciitis but it didn't stop me. Just before I'd started, I'd downed a 16 oz can of coconut water, a great source of electrolytes.
There were only a few people on their descent as I made my way up the trail, including a few dogs and their owners.
In a particularly steep section, I saw a couple with two dogs coming down so I stepped off the trail and behind two trees. My intention was to make room while still be visible. Unfortunately, it backfired a little because the woman saw me looking up the trail and was startled. Oops. I said hello and apologized for her causing her reaction. She laughed and her partner did also. He wished me a good hike.
As I was getting close to the top, a trail runner came up behind me quickly. Not his first "rodeo". He just had a small bottle of water and was shirtless. He quickly pulled away but said encouragingly, "almost to the top".
When I got to the clearing near the summit, I saw him again and wished him a good descent.
I had the top to myself. So peaceful and quiet. Just the right temperature.
I'd stopped at the viewpoint on the way up, so I decided to stop there again to eat half of my sandwich.
Some mushroom foragers arrived and we chatted for a bit before I left so they too could enjoy the viewpoint.
I made sure to be careful on my descent. It was a great hike. I'd love to go back and do the longer loop which includes Elk Mountain portion. It's a 10.6 miles loop with 3,697 ft of elevation gain: totally doable. The AllTrails route is counter-clockwise so you traverse to the Elk Mountain Trail and descend from Kings Mountain.