The northern Oregon coast offers hikers the best of scenic views: the ocean, wildflower meadows, lush forests, and more. The Saddle Mountain trail is one such trail that delivers it all. Located in – you guessed it – the Saddle Mountain State Natural Area, this hike is a local favorite.
There truly are few places in Oregon where you can see both Mount Hood, Adams (plus plenty more), and the Pacific Ocean simultaneously while surrounded by gorgeous peaks. This hike is truly a one-of-a-kind experience, and the crew here at Oregon Adventurer loves it.
Saddle Mountain trail is a quick 35 minute drive from Seaside, and it’s less than 2 hours from Portland. Which, at 5 miles round trip, makes it a great day hike for adventurers from many areas.
If you’re in the mood for a little prolonged outdoors time, there is a first come, first serve primitive camp at the trailhead with 10 campsites, some of which have great views over the mountains!
The Saddle Mountain trail offers a nice mix of easy hiking and challenging switchbacks. You start off trekking through a rich forest thick with red alders. Less than a mile into your journey, that forest transitions into Douglas Firs, Hemlock, and Spruce.
You may want to check out the short, 10 minute spur to the Humbug Mountain viewpoint at the only marked fork right before you get to this evergreen forest–you won’t be disappointed.
A little ways on, you will find the first of three picnic benches, which are a nice little halfway point resting spot. You are well into the switchbacks by now and thank goodness for them! Otherwise, this hike would be a lot harder for its entirety!
After you pass this area, you will come across an interesting basalt pillar formation off the left hand side of the trail, so be sure to check that out. It’s a neat little reminder of the volcanic activity that’s happened in this area. This spot also offers great views of the mountains in the distance!
Soon, you’ll pass the second picnic table and meander among more fir forests and rocky slopes, a peek at what’s to come. At around 2 miles into the trail, you will be leaving the cool shade of the forest for good, save one last short jaunt, and entering into the mountaintop prairie grasses and wildflower meadows. The best times to catch the peak of the wildflowers is in May and June, and many claim that Saddle Mountain boasts the most brilliant display around!
The last section of Saddle Mountain trail, as you can imagine, is the toughest. While not a long distance to reach the summit from here, you gain an elevation of about 430 feet in a little less than half of a mile. Definitely stop to rest if you need to…The views from here are spectacular as well!
Once you reach the summit, you will be so glad you did! As if all of the other vantage points along the way weren’t enough, you will be astounded at everything you can see from up here: the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Hood, to name a few.
If you’re wanting to see the best that the northern Oregon coast has to offer in one day, the Saddle Mountain hike is the best opportunity to do just that! For an adventure to the opposite direction of the Portland area, try Tamanawas Falls for a lush day hike with a beautiful cascading waterfall.
Round Trip: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,600 feet