Elk Mountain to King's Mountain Loop is a 10.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Tillamook, Oregon that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
10.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,815 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

scramble

snow

This demanding loop takes you to the summit of Elk and King's Mountains crossing through the Tillamook forest between as you gain nearly 4000' and cross a series of light scrambles on difficult terrain.

2 days ago

very tough hike. fantastic views. several places where we had to scramble and very slippery

1 month ago

I started at King and went counter-clockwise. Very challenging but rewarding hike. 6 hours of adventuring. If you're a moderately experienced adventurer I would definitely bring a partner to join you since you go well into the Tillamook Forest and are unlikely to see any other hikers for hours (I went 4-5 hours without seeing anyone). I wouldnt dare try this one without poles since my calves strated cramping up by mile 7; I really relied on my upper body to help me muscle through and give my calves some support. Bring water, a bell, poles, and and adventurous attitude and you'll feel very accomplished when you hit Elk Summit, Kings Summit, and Kings Mt Trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

Very challenging hike, but great views!

hiking
1 month ago

Did on Sunday 08/26/2018. Awesome loop trek, with amazing views. GPS had it right at 11 miles. Took us 6.5 hours, but have to descend slower than average due to knee issues. The steep ascent to Elk Mountain itself is exactly whats on here. Roughly 1.5 miles of straight up, with a decent amount of scrambling. Clouds were covering peaks when we went, so we will be back!

hiking
2 months ago

Like PhLo S said below, make sure you have hiking poles and good boots before attempting this. The climb to Elk Mountain all the way to Kings' summit is pretty steep (1900 ft elevation gain in 1.4 mi) and has many class 2/3 sections which are a lot of fun if that's what you're looking for and not fun at all if you didn't anticipate them. The ground was very dry with lots of slippery gravel bits when I hiked in mid-August making it hard to nearly impossible to stand two-footed in many places. I did this as a conditioning hike and wasn't disappointed.

2 months ago

Most fun hike I’ve ever done! Loved all the scrabble bits.

Would recommend bringing looots of water (you’ll need it) and some good shoes and poles to make the descent less terrible.

The ground is very crumbly in some areas, but nothing to be too concerned about as long as you’re careful and attentive, even if you’re wearing crappy tennis shoes like I was.

hiking
2 months ago

This hike should not to be attempted without hiking poles and very good shoes. I consider myself a fairly avid hiker, and this was one of the more challenging hikes I've done - not because of elevation and distance but trail conditions. I'm not particularly interested in risky situations, but I'm glad to add this hike to my list of completed. Each step needs to be carefully calculated so as not to slide down the crazy steep, loosely laid trail. I highly recommend going counter-clockwise unless you wish for greatly increased difficulty and danger. Don't do this hike at all if you are not sure-footed and confident of your skills. Even if you are, use good judgment as you encounter the challenging, crumbly trail conditions. There are a few spots where an unexpected slip could be fatal. As others have said, bring tons of water. I brought three liters and drank almost everything. I ran nearly all the way down from Kings Mountain as the descent isn't nearly as crazy steep as the Elk Mountain side. Surprisingly it can be far safer and more stable to run because your feet are no longer pressing vertically with your body's weight, and your center of mass is constantly "falling" as you go down, so you don't really slip as much. I don't recommend doing that though unless you have quick reaction skills. Years of jetty rock jumping, river rock hopping and soccer ball juggling as a kid have given me that "footy" confidence. Makes me feel a bit like a ninja or jedi, and that can be fun. Know how to stop when you are running - either with baby steps or grabbing/kicking trees for a full stop - especially when you turn corners or encounter other hikers.

hiking
3 months ago

Holy ass kicker. Not for kids or dogs unless you can throw them in your pack for the rope scramble. I almost cried a few times, but perhaps I’m not in as good a shape as others. Definitely go up Elk as the scramble is no joke and coming down it would suck.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a very challenging hike with great views. We went up Kings Mointain first (clockwise) and it took us a full five hours with only brief rests. There are many challenging vertical climbs with a few requiring scrambling and/or grabbing trees/ropes for assistance. Either way you begin there are also many steep descents that require good grip and careful placement. Bring lots of water and food. Most of the hike is shaded with a few bright sun spots including the peaks.

3 months ago

Just did the loop today. HOT. Did it in 6 hour with a 1.6 mile detour down elk mountain trail bc I read the sign wrong. Brought lots of layers didn’t need a single one. Started at Kings trailhead and went counter clockwise hitting elk mountain first. Elk mountain ascent is way more steep and technical than Kings, but the descent down Kings is pretty punishing at the end on weary legs. Not too much exposure but bring sun screen. A few tricky areas that require scrambling throughout and one area between elk and kings summit where you need a rope. I wore bug spray. Tons of flies and bees. I can still hear them buzzing in my ears. Bring more water than you think you need, especially if it’s hot. Great work out. Beautiful views.

hiking
4 months ago

I thought this hike was harder than Munra Point. I definitely think it would help to have climbing (scrambling) experience or at least be really brave. I suggest doing half the hike (just one mountain first) before doing the whole thing, to get to know the area. I did the counterclockwise. It kicked my butt!

4 months ago

read most reports and figured it was doable. Super glad we took the advice of counterclockwise, Elk was defiantly the most technical side and would have been miserable trying to go down with weary legs. Took the dog but don't think I would do that again, had to carry him over quite a few spots that were just to rough for him to make. Took longer then expected and wish I had a little more water than I had packed. Great views but defiantly tested us

5 months ago

One of the best and challenging hikes within an hour of Portland. The flowers in late May to Mid June are amazing. I find it is best to hike counter clock wise, hitting Elk summit first and then Kings. It is a much nicer decent from Kings and the parking lot is right at the bottom. It took us 6.5 hours last time with a good rest on both summits. Bring lots of water and enjoy the views!

8 months ago

Very cool trail. Hard climb and amazing views. Would not take kids.

hiking
8 months ago

Very good challenge, beautiful views. Can be an excellent day hike for a weekend.

9 months ago

Awesome loop on a sunny Jan day. Loved starting at Kings Mountain w/the traverse across to to Elk Mountain. The three mile run along the Wilson river was perfect after the UPHILL to reach King Mountain. This is the better way to do this Loop in my opinion. Five hours overall w/lengthily breaks to enjoy the many mountain vistas. Great trail!:)

hiking
9 months ago

We hiked this on a beautiful January day starting and ending at King's Mountain Trailhead hiking in a clockwise direction. In the future, I will be hiking counter clockwise starting at King's Mt. TH. The relatively flat Wilson River Trail will be a nice warm up for the legs before ascending to Elks Mt. and I believe the descent from King's Mt. is easier than descending from Elks. You will want to bring your trekking poles/walking stick for this one. The difficulty of this hike is deceiving. The distance isn't incredibly long and there are lots of hikes in the region with more elevation gain but there are almost no switch backs, the trail grade fluctuates substantially, there are a plentiful amount of scrambles and the way the elevation gain is spread out throughout the hike makes this hike difficult. Bring lots of water. We could see Hood and Adams (90 and 105 miles away) from Kings Mountain. This is an amazing hike best saved for a clear day.

9 months ago

Really pretty difficult trail, beautiful summits and ridges just realize it is pretty dang steep at the beginning.

10 months ago

Did this 11/27/17. It was raining all day pretty hard. Was soaked through by 9:30 and I started at 8. Was a great hike and very challenging but fun. Unfortunately being so wet made it a bit miserable and missed the summit views on account of being in the middle of a rain cloud lol. Caught a few views at half elevation. Would love to do again on a clear day. Took Kings Mt trail over to Elks Mt and back on the Wilson river trail to Kings parking lot. Going up the rope was fun and the scramble to summit King from the rope side is crazy! Thought I'd lost the trail until I peeked my head over the last rock and saw the summit sign. That was a relief lol! Even had to go back for my dog and help him over a few ledges. Fun!

hiking
Sunday, September 03, 2017

This is a very challenging hike. Did it on 09-02-17. It was hot. Went clockwise instead of counterclockwise, ascending King's Mountain to Elk Mountain.

hiking
Monday, August 14, 2017

Amazing hike!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

would give it full five if not for some danger factor in rope repelling and unstable footing in descent.

hiking
Saturday, July 08, 2017

Very difficult. Climbed Elk Mt and didn't have energy to go over to King Mt. Decided to walk out the 6.8 miles that is an easier grade down than go back down the 1.5 miles from Elk Mt.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

hard but way too cool!

hiking
Friday, May 05, 2017

Great hike, good workout, the first bit is tiresome and adventurous but afterwards its very pleasant.

-Be wary of ticks, especially after Elks summit until kings mountain trail.
-They do allow backcountry camping there, 1 mile in off the trails.
-Great spot for skeeters and buzzers.

hiking
Sunday, April 30, 2017

Peaceful hike, nice scenery. Overall a fairly easy trail; upper mile to summit can be slippery so use caution.

hiking
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Parked at Kings mountain trailhead. Starting at first junction .1 miles up. Did loop of Wilson River to Elk Mountain to Kings. 13 miles. Encountered patches of snow and diverted/lost trail for section between Elk and King summits. Good scrambles. Very wet day, but worth it!

hiking
Saturday, April 22, 2017

challenging but worth it! from the beginning you are hiking up and you quickly increase in elevation. the views and log books are awesome! steep downhill decending from elks heading to kings, watch for loose rocks. some of the path heading to kings mountain has minor washout patches. other than that beautiful! and thanks to whoever put the rope up! :)

mountain biking
Sunday, April 02, 2017

No hikers ever show up for trail maintenance days

Monday, March 27, 2017

always a good challenge! I've done this one on a hott summer day and had an amazing view with a reward of jumping in the river at the bottom. I've also gone up in the snow and had it was just as great of a time. If you want a challenge and to escape the busy gorge try this one out.

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