Iron Mountain Wildflower Hike

We'll do a 6.6 mile loop hike including a trip up to the top of Iron Mountain, known for its views and wildflowers. This hike also has an elevation gain of 1,900 feet so I would consider this a medium difficulty adventure recommended for those who have done something of this difficulty before. Please read the whole description so you know what you're signing up for.

We'll meet at Best Buy and drive approximately 1 hour 45 minutes to the trailhead and shoot for being on the trail at 11am.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=200972410494901169254.0004a7905c9d3f0fde143&msa=0&ll=44.214694,-122.590942&spn=0.492141,1.352692

We will be carpooling so please indicate in your RSVP whether you would like a ride or have one to offer. This is about 165 miles round trip. The cost drivers incur in getting everyone to the trailhead is not only gas but wear and tear, oil changes, insurance, tires and everything else that goes into maintaining a car. For trips I organize, I ask passengers to contribute 10 cents per mile, or in this case $15 (rounding) to drivers. This is in line with what the Portland Hiking Meetup and Obsidians charge. It will be a lot easier if you can bring exact change.

Here's a Forest Service map and website of the trip:

They do require Northwest Forest Pass or day parking permit. If you are thinking of getting one they are $30 and available at Ranger Stations, REI and many other locations:

http://www.rei.com/product/776469/northwest-forest-pass-annual

Otherwise, it's typically $5 for day parking. Please plan to contribute to this if your driver doesn't have the pass.

Please bring sturdy hiking shoes or boots, a lunch, plenty of water, sun protection and layered clothing for all weather possibilities. As with all of my hikes in the Cascades, appropriate clothing means dress in layers and no cotton. YES, I AM SERIOUS. I have taken people on hikes in July and we have been poured on. Ask the guy who wore jeans and spent the end of the hike shivering in them how fun it was. This fine video goes into detail on the subject. It is like wearing a seatbelt in the car. Wool or synthetic office or athletic clothes from thrift shops work just as well as hiking gear from your favorite outdoor store.

Also, please no dogs. Nearly every dog owner on earth believes their pooch is well-behaved. On the trail with a bunch of new people is not the place to put this theory to the test.

There's a hike map and full description downloadable in PDF format here:

http://www.meetup.com/camping-162/files/

My best guess is that the hike will take us about 4-5 hours with lunch. My best guess for return to Eugene is about 6pm.

 

Here's William Sullivan's description from 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades (We'll take the trip in a clockwise direction, different from what he describes. We will get to see the sights he describes, but I want to do the hardest part of the loop at the beginning when we are fresh):

Moderate (to Iron Mountain)
6.6-mile loop
1900 feet elevation gain
Open mid-June through October

Iron Mountain's lookout building is one of the Old Cascades' most popular hiking goals, but most people hike to it the wrong way-up a steep, dusty, largely viewless forest trail on the west side of Tombstone Pass. To really see the July wildflowers that make this area famous, take the longer, better graded Cone Peak Trail through the alpine meadows on the east side of Tombstone Pass. In fact, the viewpoint amid these flower-packed fields makes a worthwhile dayhike destination in itself.


Start by driving Highway 20 east of Sweet Home 36 miles (or west of Santiam Pass 13 miles). At milepost 64, just 0.4 mile east of Tombstone, park at a small pullout marked with a brown hiker-symbol sign. The Cone Peak Trail sets out climbing steadily through an old-growth forest that includes shaggy-barked Alaska cedars, rare in Oregon but common here.


The entire ridge from Iron Mountain to Echo Mountain is a biological wonderland, featuring more types of trees (17) than any other area in Oregon, and fully 60 plant species considered rare or unusual in the Western Cascades. After 1.1 mile and several switchbacks, emerge from the forests in a rock garden of early-summer wildflowers: fuzzy cat's ears, purple larkspur, yellow stonecrop, and pink penstemon. The path continues across a cinder-strewn shoulder of Cone Peak-a landscape where one wouldn't think plants could grow at all, but where red paintbrush and other flowers wash the slopes with color. The viewpoint here overlooks Iron Mountain and~Tombstone Prairie. Beyond the meadow viewpoint the trail descends slightly to a saddle and contours halfw-ay around Iron Mountain to a junction with the Iron Mountain Trail. Tum left and climb 0.7 mile on steep switchbacks to the lookout building.


To the east, all the major Cascade peaks are visible. To the west, look for Rooster Rock (Hike #14) and, on a clear day, Marys Peak in the Coast Range. Be cautious near the summit cliffs. A lookout staffer fell to his death here in 1990. The entire building blew off the peak in a 1976 winter storm and had to be returned by helicopter. To return from the lookout on a loop, keep left as you descend the Iron Mountain Trail. In 1.7 miles you'll reach Highway 20. Don't walk back along this busy road. Instead follow the trail across the highway, heading toward the official Iron Mountain Trailhead on Road 15, downhill another 100 yards. Just before you reach Road 15, however, turn left on the Santiam Wagon Road-a pleasant path that climbs 0.3 mile to the Tombstone Pass Sno-park. Walk to the
far right end of this parking lot and angle downhill on the Tombstone Nature Trail. Then keep left for 0.6 mile to find a new connector trail that climbs to your car at the Cone Peak Trailhead on Highway 20.

 

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  • Sandor Lau

    Here's map and pictures of the trip. Phone battery ran out before the end but you'll get the highlights here: http://www.everytrail.com/view_...­

    1 · June 22

    • Sandor Lau

      Hope none of you planned on running for public office because the butt picture is in there.

      1 · June 23

    • Berri H.

      What? Those butts will get you the votes!

      June 23

  • Julie Barnas

    Hey All,
    I learned two new plants. The heart-shaped leaves along the Tombstone trail were Wild Ginger. Another with large three-lobed leaves and a small white bottle brush is Vanilla Wildflower. I wish I knew how to upload a picture of them. Google them and you will see.

    1 · June 23

    • Rob LaGrone

      Oh, you were right about the ginger! After a long hike, I'm still disappointed there wasn't a wild cheeseburger plant...

      1 · June 23

    • Berri H.

      LOL. Nice pictures Rob.

      June 23

  • Julie Barnas

    Hey All,
    Thanks for a great day out in the woods. The photos and map are a sweet reminder of a beautiful hike with some wonderful people. I'll try to figure how to post the bear grass "bonnet."

    1 · June 22

  • Rob LaGrone

    I need to do some lighting correction on the group photo. I'll get it posted tomorrow evening.

    1 · June 22

  • Berri H.

    Fun group. Great time. Wonderful people.

    June 22

  • Berri H.

    Fun group. Great time. Wonderful people.

    June 22

  • Greg Vaughn

    Sorry for the late notice, but I am not going to be able to make it after all. Went for a long hike yesterday and the knees won't take another jaunt today.

    1 · June 22

  • Keli

    Is anybody by chance coming from south eugene?

    June 21

  • David

    Sandor - My Subaru holds 4 and I have a NF pass.

    June 21

  • Ann R

    Next weekend I'd be able to, but not this weekend. Hope there's another one on the SUnday I can go. Have a wonderful time !

    June 21

  • Rob LaGrone

    Sandor, I have a four-wheel drive SUV that can seat up to 5 comfortably, so I'll be happy to drive. I don't have a vehicle pass and will need to get one.

    June 21

  • Berri H.

    I plan on riding my motorcycle to Best Buy, so it would be great to have a ride. I'll bring money to contribute.

    June 20

  • Dave Patterson

    Hey Sandor,
    thanks for putting this together. Can I breing my dog along?

    June 18

  • Melanie

    I'd love to do this hike but can't squeeze it in this weekend! Any chance you will lead it again next month? Please post photos!

    June 17

    • Sandor Lau

      Will perhaps do something similar next month. If you cannot come please update your RSVP.

      June 18

  • Lyn Dahlstrom

    An excellent resource for wildflowers is http://www.wildflowersearch.com...­

    June 11

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