Multnomah County High Point Trip Report

Buck Peak (4,751 ft)

Date: September 27, 2002
Authors: Pat Wymore, Jobe Wymore, Jeane Allen

I read Ken Jones' trip report before taking off to Oregon and saw that he had mentioned a starting point from a Lolo Pass that required some good hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. He mentioned that it might be a little longer than his route but what the heck. What's a couple extra miles?

First of all, get to the little town of Zig-Zag, which is on OR26 just a few miles west of the turn off for the standard route on Mount Hood. Right in the middle of town you'll easily be able to pick out E. Lolo Pass Road which is marked. This is the road you want. Set the odometer and head north on this excellent paved road, driving through thick woods dotted with houses every now and then. The road curves here and there but just stick to the main drag, avoiding the multiple roads breaking off it. At around mile 4.5 you'll start to drive along some huge power lines while gaining altitude and finally at mile 10.5 the road will crest at Lolo Pass. There is a good pullout for parking on the south side of the road along with other dirt roads breaking off here and there.

On the north side of the road, across from where you parked, look for the Pacific Crest Trail. It's not marked but the trail is obvious and is lined on both sides with wood poles supporting it from erosion. We hiked on the trail and soon passed underneath the power lines which immediately brought us excellent views of Mount Hood just a few miles off in the distance. The trail skirts around a few hills here and there and basically follows the crest of the ridge line through trees that keep things nice and shady. The trail had its minor ups and downs but was really smooth.

At around mile 4.5 we passed the junction with a signed spur trail that dropped down to Lost Lake a couple of miles down. We just stayed on the PCT reaching a signed junction for Buck Peak at around mile 7. From here we took a right, following the lesser trail to the summit which was reached 1/3 of a mile later. This side trail is MUCH lesser and we had to bash through overgrowth the whole way up, crossing over a few downed trees as well. Reminded me of some of the trails back east along the Blue Ridge Highway in the summer. The good thing is that the trail deposits you right on the summit rock with open views to the east and down towards Mount Hood. A couple of summit signs mentioning Buck Peak and its elevation are there was well.

This COHP is a great county to get for someone who hasn't been on that many longer hikes and wants to try out a 15-miler. The total elevation gain was roughly 2300 feet and the grade was very moderate. As a bonus, the summit had great views. We returned the same way we came and from the trailhead buzzed on down to Bend, Oregon for South Sister the following day.