Opal Creek to Mount Beachie - Hiking

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Summary

From Mount Beachie, you will experience incredible views of both Opal Creek and the Bull of the Woods Wilderness areas. On a clear day, you may also spot many of the high Cascade Mountains from Mount Adams to Diamond Peak.

Written by

Abby Joffe

Distance

5.6 miles

Within this lush ancient forest, there are eight different trails totaling about 35 miles, the trail to Mt. Beachie is 5.6 miles roundtrip.

Destination Distance From Downtown

55.4 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

2 hours

2-4 hours

Seasonality

Summer and Fall

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

No

None if you park in the pull off on the side of the road

Review

Intro

The Opal Creek Wilderness is a low-elevation ancient forest that is home to the largest intact stand of old-growth forest in the western Cascades. Trees in this area can range up to 1,000 years old and reach up to 250 feet tall. Because the forest has remained intact for so long, the flora and fauna interact in the way nature intended. Cycles that can take hundreds of years to complete have been left alone to do so, and in the process, have left Opal Creek in a state of pristine beauty. Within this lush ancient forest, there are eight different trails totaling about 35 miles. It's difficult to find loop trails within this wilderness area because most of the routes are traditional out and back options, but this isn't much of an issue because these out and backs typically lead to really impressive landmarks. Take the trail to the summit of Mount Beachie, for example. Yes, you'll have to return the way you came, but the incredible views along the way and at the summit easily make it all worth it. 

What Makes It Great

The trail to Mount Beachie is a good, moderate trail that leads from Elk Lake, which is 5.6 miles roundtrip and gains 1200 feet in elevation. Mount Beachie is a heavily eroded volcano that may have rivaled some of the Cascades in its prime. To access the trail, you will need to walk up the old forest road 4697, which changes as you go along in terms of terrain, but fear not, you are still going the right way. You will reach a trail junction with Beachie Trail #3341, which you should take to the left. Traverse the ridge surrounded by rhododendron and salmonberry to a saddle that is bursting with wildflowers in the summer. You will pass through a meadow as you hike along the western slope of the mountain to a viewpoint and continue up. Once you reach the crest of the ridge, at the south end, go left up to the summit.

From Mount Beachie, you will experience incredible views of both Opal Creek and the Bull of the Woods Wilderness areas. On a clear day, you may also spot many of the high Cascade Mountains from Mount Adams to Diamond Peak.

Both Elk Lake and Battle Ax Creek Valley, view of which you will see on this hike, formed as a result of the erosion that occurred because of glaciation, which makes this area a particularly unique place to explore.

Who is Going to Love It

This hike is for intermediate and experienced hikers because of the elevation gain. It is a moderate challenge on a unique mountain with incredible views that include Mount Jefferson and nearby Battle Ax Mountain, along with a hike through areas covered in wildflowers.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Portland, take I-5 South toward Salem to exit 253 for OR-22/OR-99E and Detroit Lake. Take a left onto OR-22 and continue for 48.7 miles. Turn left onto Breitenbush Road for 4.5 miles. Take a right on NF-701, then a slight left onto NF-4697.  This road can be difficult for low clearance vehicles, which is why the trail description has the hiker walk to the trailhead. At a y-junction, turn left and drive about 2.1 miles to Elk Lake Campground. You can either park here or on a pullout on the left side of the road just 100 yards further up the road.

Location

Opal Creek- Mount Beachie Hike

National Forest Development Road 4697
OR,
44.8252, -122.125

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