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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, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 10.7 mi Elevation gain 3,815 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bugs

Over grown

Rocky

Scramble

Snow

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Getting There

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.

Small parking at Elk Creek with 2 restrooms and water (via crank pump). More parking at King's Mountain with 1 restroom, no water.

Take highway 26 west to either the Elk Mountain or King's Mountain trailheads. Loop in either direction, crossing at the Wilson Creek trail (3.5 miles) or shuttling with two cars.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (165)
Photos (750)
Recordings (85)
Completed (390)
Shawn Kramer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jul 06 2020
HikingRockyScramble

This is a challenging hike, and I'd argue best done counterclockwise from the Elk Mountain Campground. The distance is a little over 11 miles and our GPS tracked the total ascent at 4100'. Total time was just under five hours. Trail conditions were mostly fine with slightly damp dirt mixed with pine needles and the trails are well marked. There were also three muddy areas that were easily navigate, and a handful of runoff crossings. The views towards the top are nice and there are campsites along the trails which I would have considered if we had planned this as an overnight. That said, I don't feel I ever need to repeat this hike, but I'm glad I did it once. One drawback of All Trails that I've noticed is the lack of granularity in difficulty ratings. Easy, Moderate, and Hard? Easy seems to be anytime with a level grade, moderate goes to 7-10% grade, and hard is applied to anything above that covering a wide range from scrambles to more technical climbs. The summit climbs to Elk Mountain from the campground, and to Kings Mountain from the saddle are more technical hiking than a normal hike, and the hike itself is punishing, particularly the downhill. There are easy rolling sections scattered throughout, but be prepared for a challenge.

Joe McDowell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 30 2020
HikingMuddyOver grownRockyScramble

I went counterclockwise starting from Elk Creek Campground. The ascent up Elk Mountain is incredibly steep but has excellent views. There were dark rain clouds hanging around the other side of the mountain and I felt a few raindrops, but the trail wasn't slippery. I took my time and arrived at the Elk Mountain summit in about 1.5 hrs. The clouds cleared up so there was a good view. Descending on the other side of the summit was sketchy because of loose gravel and steep drops. The section of the trail before King's Mountain was very difficult, with rocky terrain and steep drops. Sections of the trail are overgrown but it was easy to follow. The wind picked up and it started raining right when I got to the King's Mountain summit. There wasn't a view and it was pretty stormy at the summit, so I descended quickly and changed into drier clothes at the King's Mountain trail head. The last 3.5 miles along the Wilson River Trail were pretty but I was way too tired to enjoy them. The entire hike took me about 6.5 hours. This was a memorable, challenging hike, and I felt very accomplished when I finally got back to my car. I hiked the trail solo, but I would recommend going with someone just in case. Bring tons of water!!! I went on a cool and cloudy day, but I still drank nearly all of my water. It's also a good idea to bring layers because the weather can change quickly up there.

Nandini Chaturvedi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 21 2020
Hiking

An arse kicker for sure! I wouldn't probably hike this trail again just because the views are only OK (very disappointed to see the logging clear cuts from top) for such a hard hike. But loved the physical challenge part of it. Definitely a good workout of you want to train for something big. We hiked clockwise, and honestly don't think it could be much different the other way, either way it's pretty tough for an average hiker. I would suggest you wear good hiking boots preferably with ankle support, good traction for muddy slope. Hiking sticks might be good for not so young hikers. Start early and bring plenty of water and snacks and lot of positive attitude! PS: on the way back it was very refreshing to soak feet in the creek.

View Nandini's Recording
Max Fortune
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 21 2020
HikingOver grown

Started from Elk Creek Campground going clockwise. We chose to come down Elk creek trail to avoid the steep elk mountain trail section in the rain. Added about a mile but was more enjoyable.

Toussaint Henderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 02 2020
HikingScramble

Second time I’ve done this trail. It is very difficult in spots and definitely not for the faint of heart. Dogs can make it but on the Elk Mt. side there are some spots you may have to help them traverse but nothing too scary. Both elevation gains are hard as heck but Elk is more sudden. Bring a hardy spirit because the views are worth it, but be prepared, this one is an ass kicker! Wild flowers galore and epic views once up top. There is even a rope at one point and Elk requires a small rock scramble to summit if coming from Kings. Have fun and bring water! 7-9hrs for the whole loop depending on your pace and rest times. I’ve been at about 8.5 hrs both times stopping for 15 to 30 mins or so on each summit. The first time I went I got dumped on and was soaked through for most of the trip due to rain gear failing. This time was fun in the sun and a much more enjoyable! It hurts so good!

Christi Gulzow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed May 27 2020
HikingScramble

What a great hike! Bit of a scramble in places, one spot even has ropes in place. Took my mini Australian Shepherd and he did great! Did help to have a second person so that they could grab onto him. Hiking poles would be helpful, but I was able to do the loop without them. If you are able to bring lots of water, I brought 2L and had a 16 oz Gatorade and it wasn’t enough. Luckily I was done with the uphill portions by the time I ran out and I had a large hydro flask in the car with ice water also HIGHLY recommend going counterclockwise to warm your legs up before you hit the incline. Going up Elk Mountain is much more preferable than going down it.

View Christi's Recording
Jess Hagerman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon May 25 2020
Hiking

Scramble central. Took a little under 10 hours for us.

Jonathan Seabright
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat May 23 2020
Hiking

Really great traverse with a nice combination of climbs, views, and shaded hiking. I went counter-clockwise starting from elk creek campground. Would recommend starting at Kings trailhead and going counter clockwise to warm up a bit before the steep climb up Elk mountain. A decent bit of scrambling in between Elk and Kings that may be uncomfortable to some. Went on a Saturday and it was far more crowded than expected. I clocked more like 11.5 miles and 4,000 feet of elevation gain.

Stacey Hanf
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat May 16 2020
HikingScramble

Perfect conditions-dry and cool with wet ground (less slipping on loose gavel) on 5/15/20. We started at Kings trailhead and hiked counter-clockwise, getting the Wilson River trail done before heading up to Elk Mountain. We started early and were the first car in the lot, but it was overflowing when we finished. The flowers are gorgeous right now. This is a challenging hike, but anyone in decent shape can handle it.

Jamie Cattanach
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue May 12 2020

This is a gorgeous trail but a total ass-kicker. Only take it counterclockwise if you are an actual masochist.

DAWN BULL
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat May 02 2020
HikingMuddyScramble

Hiked in the pouring rain..bathrooms closed, good trail markings, and is well-maintained by Mazamas. Very steep getting up to Elk Mtn. I'm sure there are excellent views but there was no visibility today. Didn't see many people until coming down from King, everyone practiced social distancing extremely well.

Rick Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri May 01 2020
Hiking

Haven’t done this in a few years but have done it many times. I usually like to use a shuttle because the last 3 miles back to elk creek th are boringly along the highway. Also 8 miles is enough for this one. It’s a steep climb to elk mountain I think it’s 1800 or more feet in a mile or so. With a lot of short climbs that will tax your legs. Don’t forget to sign the register at king mountain summit I can’t remember if elk mtn has one. But it is a very diverse trail pretty decent veiws too. Use a shuttle you will be happy you did. Hi way is noisy and not much to see except the one nice meadow Have fun after reading the reviews I would think that this hike would deserve a higher rating if all trails has such. For the average hiker I would say it is a extreme rating. For more experienced people it would deserve the hard rating. Just my opinion. Yes it is more difficult than Monroe point. Ruckel ridge may be a bit more difficult especially on the way down it’s very hard on the legs. If the gorge ever reopens I can list many tough hikes

Christian Schmutz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Apr 11 2020
HikingBlowdownMuddyOver grownRockyScrambleSnow
View Christian's Recording
Clayton Peirce
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Apr 09 2020
HikingRockyScramble

What a diverse trail; always interesting! Bathrooms are closed at the trailhead, but trails are open. Little snow on the trail but easily passable.

Ryan Jurgens
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Mar 27 2020

Catch it before sunrise. The views are out if this world and for a moment you're above it all.

trevor jones
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Mar 18 2020
HikingIcyRockyScrambleSnow

very intense climb up either mountain. I have done them both. I recommend starting at the bottom of kings and warming up on the lower ridge to the base of elk. watch your step elk mountain is a scramble. The ridge to get between the two is no joke either. the northern side of the ridge is still icy making for a sketchy ascension to kings mountain summit but doable if careful.

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