Explore the most popular nature trips trails in Tillamook State Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
23 hours ago

On a warm, sunny mid-October morning the trailhead parking lot was near full by 9:30 am. The trail is steep with a few small scrambles near the top, and amazing views at the peak. Go on a clear day to see the full beauty.

Great hike with the hubby. Seriously glad we found other hikers that showed us to go down hwy 6 to summit trailhead, Signs need work however hike was beautiful and day was amazing!

Nice hike, but the trails are not marked clearly.

Great hike! Quite peaceful area.

Easy relaxing hike along Wilson River. 4 stars because of the noise from highway 6 but the river is so loud in portions it actual drowns out the sound of the motor vehicles. Tiny Tiny Waterfall is a must see about half way between foot-bridge and Forest Center. Many areas to hike down to the rivers edge for lunch and a lazy nap in the sun. Went on a Sunday late morning and surprised by the lack of other hikers. Perfect for kids and a easy one hour drive from Portland.

Easy out and back hike, not a loop. Took us about 30 minutes to complete. Trail needs some TLC, had to navigate over downed trees. Kids loved being able to be in four counties at once. Could hear lots of gunshots off...way off...in the distance, probably target practice in the quarry to the north. Didn’t dampen our spirits at all.

Nice little loop at a rest area! Perfect quick stop if you are on a long drive.

hiking
21 days ago

Over-all, the trail was a nice moderate hike, with a few rather steep climbs and in some areas sketchy footing.

Starting out, there needs to be a better trail identification set-up, as we actually turned on the down river trail, only to turn back around and finally find the right trail.

For planning - this trail actually breaks out into 2 other hikes as well, depending on the distance one wants to hike.

Waterfall actually crosses the trail, I would imagine that with more rain, this might make crossing a bit difficult.

As for hikers/bikers, not to many on the trail, but there were a few.

Hiked with out dogs....

Challenging, quiet and beautiful! Our Apple Watch showed 8.8 miles when we finished.

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty lush and gorgeous views. Though we got a little lost when we missed the turn off from the logging road that you have to take for a section of the loop (roughly 8 o’clock to 6 o’clock if the loop was a clock face). Since we spent an extra 2 miles or so on that lumberjack detour, we took the shortcut up the middle of the loop to get back to the car at a reasonable time. That was a really fun and somewhat dense trail! Would definitely recommend this one.

The trail overall can be pretty poorly marked, and the turn off the logging road is not marked at all. Though if you know to expect it, it’s hard to miss. All of the markers that we did see indicated Gales Creek trail, if they indicated any trail at all, so it can get a little confusing, hence the 4 star rating.

Make sure to stop at the turn off right after Reehers camp to check out the trail map and use the toilet! The trail head can be caught there, or you can walk down the road a little bit to the trail crossing by the creek.

I’m an amateur mushroom hunter, and I really enjoyed the variety of mycological surprises. No edibles (early September) but some very interesting polypores and lichen.

A really good all day hike if you like a challenge.

trail running
1 month ago

Whether hiking or running, I strongly recommend doing this loop clockwise (in reverse according to AllTrails). The first mile is extremely steep - approximately 1,500 feet of gain, much of it on very rocky terrain. While it is less physically taxing to descend this terrain it isn’t necessarily much easier to go down because of the technicality. It’s mostly non-runnable both up and down. After that, however, the 2nd mile is much easier and the third is totally runnable. You then get a nice easy 4 miles downhill to the parking lot. The last half mile is next to the river so you can cool off after a good effort on a hot day. The views aren’t awesome except during that first (or last) mile and at the peak of Elk’s but it’s a very peaceful and serene hike/run.

As many have said this is a strenuous hike. At this time it's very dry and skidding in the rocky dusty trail areas is very likely. Poles help a lot . Someone said when you reach a fork take the hard route. that is an unnecessary and slightly treacherous short cut

Good conditioning hike that is appropriately rated as Difficult. Trail is in decent condition barring two or three spots that have loose scree. Rainfall can make some sections dicey. Pleasant fern forest at the lower elevations followed by Alders and other mid-growth trees during the ascent. Saw Mt. Hood from the top and the surrounding Wilson River valley along with other peaks. Suggest taking at least 2 litres of water and hiking poles for the descent especially if the knees are troublesome. Not recommended for pets or children due to gradient.

Was in Nehalem visiting and stopped by the falls. It is directly off the main campground and you can follow the trail around if you want.

hiking
1 month ago

What a beautiful climb rewarding in awesome views at the summit.

hiking
1 month ago

I absolutely this trail, my pup and I go on it probably 2 -3 times a month because of how challenging the summit trail is. Just a heads up the trail is rated extremely difficult, wear the appropriate shoes with lots of grip and a gym outfit you don't mind getting dirty. The trail is relatively safe for the most part, there are a few very steep areas once you go higher up the trail, just be careful. If it's your first time on this trail I recommend at least 2 liters of water, you will need it. Finally, if it looks like the harder direction to go, you are going the correct way. You'll know what I mean when you get you that intersection. Have Fun and good luck :)

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike but not for the unconditioned. Be sure to stretch the legs well before you get going, at the summit, and after because you put tons of stress on the quads and calfs. Definitely be sure you have hiking shoes with good tread to help deal with the loose gravel and sliding. Enjoy!

Excellent!

Nice hike along the river. Lots of berries & different features. Moderate traffick. Difficult to find at some points. Over all, a nice hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Such a good trail! Definitely expect to be climbing, lots of switchbacks, but it’s well maintained and the view was stunning at the top. Stopped by a small picnic table on the way back down to give my pup a short rest and eat a snack. Very dog friendly but i’d recommend your dog be in pretty good shape because it’s all straight uphill with almost no flat spaces to recover on.

birding
2 months ago

good for spotting wildflower's

Very steep trail that is more dangerous coming down than going up. Loose rock on the trail rolls easily under your feet. USE TREKKING POLES!

hiking
2 months ago

This is my second time on the Kings Mountain trail, my husband runs the Elk-Kings route routinely. The beginning of the trail is covered in majestic ferns and the end in wildflowers and views of Mt Hood and Coastal Range. One is deep within the forest almost to the top and this is why we felt it would be safe to take along our very energetic 5 year old. To our surprise he made it to the summit within 2.5h with lots of breaks and a picnic on the way up (and down). The trail itself has a lot of scree so he held onto us for those sections. He did fantastic scrambling. He was equipped with proper shoes and a vest. For a strong single kid with two parents to mind them this is certainly feasible.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike but very rainy day. Was not prepared and did not bring trekking poles. We got to within half a mile of the summit and turned back when the wind kicked up and light hailing started. Will return soon to finish and possibly do the elk loop. On the way down I felt we didn’t need trekking poles tho they would have made it safer. Even with very wet conditions and proper shoes, our footing was solid. Got passed several times on the way down by gazelle like trail runners.

hiking
2 months ago

A little on the easier side, but still really pleasant. By noon it was heavily trafficked.

3.5 out of 5 seems like a fair score.

I completed this loop yesterday. It ended up being about 7.5 miles for me (maybe because I got of trail a few times for photos). The first 1.5 miles is quite challenging, especially with the loose gravel. Many good view points on the way up. There is a notebook at the summit to sign,but I had no pen. I contemplated going back down the way I came for the sake of time, but glad I didn't (I can't imagine going down those steep grades without a pole). After the summit, you do have some rocks to get down, so you'll need to use your hands. Around mile 3 it's smooth sailing. The junction point is well marked and there are pink/orange ribbons to follow.

Once I got on the Elk Creek Trail I decided to do some trail running (mostly trying to beat the sunset). The trail is generally smooth (I did hit a couple rocks,so be careful), and it's downhill, so I was back at the trailhead in no time.

The views are beautiful, but I imagine you could get similar views on a less challenging trail. Bring plenty of water!

I didn’t do the full loop, just up to the summit and down due to timing but in retrospect it was very difficult going down. The views at the top of the summit are great. About a mile in it starts getting rough with having to scramble up a few tough parts and towards the end there are a few saddles. I was a little confused with how to get there but just look for the elk creek campground and drive a bit past there. Definitely a challenge, and a leg killer. I wouldn’t bring a dog or children.

Well maintained trail. Not a ton of views but pretty forest. Few people. Did the loop from Summit in 4 hours carrying full packs.

hiking
2 months ago

This was my second time visiting the summit of Elk's Mountain. My first time I did the whole enchilada (Kings-Elk loop). I did this hike clockwise today and is the direction that I would recommend. I have descended down the steep trail on my first visit and the fun factor plummets. The dry dirt and fine loose rock make this trail very difficult to descend. Late July and the huckleberries were out. Yum! Had a close encounter with a black bear that crossed the trail ahead of me, about a mile north of the trailhead, on Elk Creek Trail. He must have been returning from the stream to get a drink. He wasn't afraid of me, which was a bit unnerving. I heard him on the hillside 5 minutes later. He had been walking parralell with me up on the hillside. The campground and smell of food must attract them.

I'm not that impressed with the view from Elk's Mountain summit. The view is just of other nearby hillsides with logged patches everywhere. I prefer the view from Kings mountain. On a clear day you can see Mt. Hood from ~100 miles away. The ascent on this trail feels more like a scramble than a hike. Constantly climbing over and down rocks, navigating loose trail soil. My favorite part of the hike was the notepad at the top. People write some pretty humorous stuff in there. :)

Final thought: There are much more rewarding hikes in the region for a similar energy expense. Table Mt., Silver Star Mt., Hamilton Mt., Larch Mt., Saddle Mt. are the first ones that come to mind. If you are going to do this hike, just do the whole Kings-Elk Mountain loop. It is a little more difficult but much more rewarding. I might be back in five years, but wouldn't be sad if I never hike this again.

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