Tillamook County Highpoint Trip Report
Date: April 4, 2009
Author: Edward Earl
On OR-6 about 1 mile W of the Lees Camp Store or ½ mile E of the Tillamook
Forest Center, I turned N on North Fork Road, which is indicated as the way to
Jones Creek CG, Smith Homestead Day Use Area, and Diamond Mill OHV Area.
Call this point mile 0.0. Immediately after the turn, I went L at a fork and crossed
a bridge. The pavement soon ends and for the remainder of the drive, the road is
gravel suitable for any street-legal vehicle. At 0.7 miles, I went R at a 4-way
intersection where the L fork is gated. At 1.6 miles, I went L at a fork; do not
go into the Diamond Mill OHV Area. At 1.8 miles is a wooden picket fence on the R.
Do turn R onto an ATV trail immediately after the fence ends, but then, about
100 feet later, I went R at a fork. At 2.3 miles I went R at a fork. At 3.2
miles I went L at a fork where the R branch would cross a bridge near a stream
confluence. At 4.2 miles, I turned R across a bridge where it is gated straight ahead.
The road began to climb steeply. At 4.6 miles, I went L at a fork. At 5.3 miles,
the road began to go level. At 5.5 miles, the road began to climb steeply
once again. At 6.1 miles, the grade leveled off. At 6.8 miles, the road began to
climb steeply and continued to do so until 7.2 miles where I decided not to
continue driving because of snow coverage.
I hiked up the snow-covered road. After gaining a few hundred feet elevation,
I encountered a gate that would stop any motor vehicle, regardless of season.
Several hundred feet after the gate I encountered an oblique intersection at a
saddle where I turned slightly R. Soon after, the snow became more than two feet deep.
I sank shin- to knee-deep with every step, which significantly hindered
progress despite the lack of elevation gain. I seriously regretted having left
my snowshoes in my truck. The road curved around to the R and reached an
irregular 4-way junction at a saddle, where I turned sharp L. Progress was very
slow up the S ridge of Rogers due to snow depth. Windblown slabs that I had to
climb over made progress even slower as I approached the saddle just W of the peak.
After what seemed like an interminable struggle, I finally completed the
traverse of the S face of the peak and located the obscure turnoff onto the road
that makes the final approach to the summit from the E. There was little view
from the mostly forested summit.
I decided to descend W from the summit directly to the saddle at 3500', and this
proved to be a good choice; plunge-stepping worked well and I avoided some distance.
Total time for the round trip was 5 hours, but it would have been
about 3 hours without the great snow depths, or with snowshoes. If you can drive
to the gate, total time on foot would be about 2 hours.