Elk Mountain Loop Trail is a 7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Tillamook, Oregon that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.0 miles
2,805 feet

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


17 days ago

Nice steady climb up hill. Several small waterfalls to enjoy along the way. The Wilson River follows the path quite aways and the sound of rushing water adds to the nice walk.

29 days ago

Go clockwise.

1 month ago

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

2 months ago

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

trail running
2 months 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.

2 months ago


3 months ago

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!

3 months ago

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.

3 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.

4 months ago

Did the hike backwards which I would recommend for the workout. Super steep and gets you to the summit quickly. Amazing view!

6 months ago

The views are amazing, better than the Kings Mountain summit in my opinion. Some scrambles, some hairy descents, and some cliffside trails make this one of the more difficult hikes I’ve done in Tillamook. Probably best to leave the kids at home, bring a lot of water and a snack. Most importantly pay attention to the weather, this isn’t a trail you want to have to maneuver in a rain or snow storm.

The most hardest hike I have done well worth it make sure U bring a lot of water

9 months ago

The climb up will test your will power. The way down will test your joints! The view was great at the top. Was definitely one of the harder hikes I’ve done

9 months ago

Wow! Hardest hike I’ve done here in the PNW. Right up there with dog mountain and king mountain (which you can loop to and knock out both summits in one go if you’re a true sadist). Big minuses for no really solid views or waterfalls. The down hill destroyed my knees. I’d only take younger, more agile dogs if you’re a dog person since there are quite a few rock climbs/scrambles you have to negotiate

10 months ago

I love this challenge! Beautiful views!! I have yet to do the full loop, I usually go out and back. It’s steep, but exactly what I’m looking for to train. Prepare to maneuver over rocks in some spots. Good hiking shoes and lots of water. No dogs or kids. if you can’t make it to summit, don’t worry beautiful views all the way

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Amazing place

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Bucklin' Down 2017 completed the loop on 9 Sept. We loved it, despite one of our party dealing with feet and knee pain. Fun and challenging ascents were steep and slick with loose rock, and we were glad for our trekking poles. Incredible views of the surrounding valleys, mountains and hills. Tremendous variation along the trail too...from arid rock to lush, damp forest to gurgling streams. Had a few dispersed camping locations just off trail. Bring plenty of water.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

One of my favorite hikes. The view from above the clouds is incredible. I like to hit the trail early in the morning. It is very quiet and peaceful. For beginners this can be a tough trail, hard on the legs and feet. I live nearby and have made this hike many times. I prefer the long way to the summit and then I turn around and make it an out and back.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Great hike up and well worth the effort! Coming down is extremely steep so I wouldn't suggest bringing the pup for a loop hike. Going in and out will be long, but better on the knees. Anyway, can't wait to don't again!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Holy cow, this is a butt-kicker! The ascent up Elk Mountain is incredibly steep, and the 1.4 miles up took us a little over an hour to complete. Once you're up, the views are breathtaking, and from there on out the trail is pretty easy down the Eagle Creek Trail back to the campground. Definitely bring more water than you think you'd need for the 8 mile loop, as both my dog and I were quite parched by the time we got back to the car.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

awesome trail! Now one of my favorites.

Friday, April 07, 2017

I did the elk mountain summit trail. Beyond beautiful views, but be prepared to work for them. It is an uphill climb the whole way with barely any breaks of downhill or leveled out ground. My boyfriend and I were incredibly sore the next few days following the hike. We only encountered one other couple on the way up and down the mountain.

mountain biking
Sunday, April 02, 2017

Great trail for mountain biking

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Amazing views from the summit

Monday, September 19, 2016

A steep slippery climb to the summit, but great views once you're there. The two miles after feel long, it's a drop right away, but then a lot of variation in elevation before you finally hit the Elk Creek split, so save your energy. It's a beautiful chunk of forest though, mist, clouds, salal berries, moss and not crowded at all. I thought people might be exaggerating but it is a tough one. Bring plenty of snacks and water and enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2016

it was hard hike but great experience. I wouldn't go back again anytime soon because it was too hard scary. definitely this hike is not for kids.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The views on this hike were awesome but it was very difficult. It is mostly steep uphill and overgrown in many areas.

Monday, May 25, 2015

My son and I hiked Elk Mountain Trail today. We were originally going to do King Mountain trail, because we heard it was less demanding. Unfortunately the parking lot for King Mtn Trailhead was full.
So, we pulled up our "big boy" shorts and drove back to Elk Mountain Trailhead, located in Elk Creek Park. The weather turned out to be perfect, blue skies, scatter white clouds and approximately 69 degrees. If it had been warmer it may have made this brutal trail much more grueling.

Elk Mountain Trail is approximately 4.3 miles round trip. It is a very demanding trail. As comparison, I think it is more difficult than Dog Mountain Trail in the gorge. Elk Mountain Trail is very "efficent". From the very start the trail basically goes straight up; it has minimal if any switchbacks. In the first 1.6 miles you climb 1,900' elevation. The Elk Mountain Summit is 2788'. Hang in there, the panoramic view at the summit makes the exhausting walk well worth it. BTW as you ascend to the summit, you will periodically get amazing views peaking through the tree laden trail.

It is highly recommended that you have healthy meniscus in your knees, and strong thighs, and lungs. You will find all three being severely tested. Coming down is no piece of cake on your knees and your balance. The steep trail has loose soil and gravel, which can surprise you and put you on your butt if you are not careful. It happened 2 or 3 times on the way down. I guess trekking poles would be nice to help maintain balance.

Even though it was Memorial Day weekend, the traffic on the trail was low. Once we reached the summit two other groups arrived within 20-30 minutes. Then on the way down we only saw maybe 6 hikers (3 groups). So, the trail traffic was low.

It's a great trail, brutal but worth it. Get out there and enjoy it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A friend and I did this loop coming off of the Elk creek side trail when we wanted more of a burn. We got a little more than we bargained for to say the least! it was a mildly warm late April morning/afternoon, no clouds, pretty clear. Even on a day like that a full 3L water bladder was barley enough, bring extra! Well worth the efforts and for the first time we got to sign a trail log at the summit!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

easy trail. needs trail work. beautiful views.

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