Added by Jeffrey Green
- Distance: 5 mi roundtrip
- Elevation: 5558 ft
- Incredible mountain views
- Outstanding hiking and great exercise
- Minimal crowds
- Potential to turn into overnight trip
With no officially marked trailhead, this hike begins slightly west of Elk Lake in Marion County. Take Highway 22 to Detroit, OR. East of the bridge over Breitenbush River, turn onto (FR) Forest Road 46, with signs pointing to Breitenbush River. After 4.5 miles turn left at a sign for Elk Lake, at FR 4696.
In 0.8 miles, turn left at a small gravel road, onto FR 4697. There will be a fork after 4.6 miles, marked by a light green metal post. Keep left, then keep right at the marked fork for Elk Lake Campground. This road is very rough, so you will need a high clearance four-wheel drive.
Park your car at the end of the road (near a washed out hole) and begin hiking west on the same gravel road. In a half mile, you will see Trail 3340 on your right, unmarked. Follow this trail for 2 miles to the summit of Battle Ax Mountain.
This trail is well maintained, with numerous switchbacks and plenty of outstanding scenery, ranging from incredible rock formations, to sweeping views of the cascades, to beautiful wildflowers. The particularly adventurous can look for a lesser-known cave in the area, off trail, as well. There are also many suitable locations for overnight camping along this route.
At the summit, you will see the remains of a demolished fire lookout, and with high visibility, you can identify eleven volcanos in the distance: Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt Rainer, Mt. Hood, Mt Jefferson, 3 Fingered Jack, Mt Washington, Broken Top, North Sister, Middle Sister, and South Sister. Of course, this view is especially beautiful at sunset, with the setting sun in the east, and the glow towards the west. Stay out a little longer for clear sky stargazing, too.
- Hiking boots
- High calorie snacks
- Survival knife
- Tent (overnight)
- Sleeping bag (overnight)
- Food (overnight)
- Warm layers (overnight)
- Flashlight (overnight)
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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
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