Hike to Iron Mountain

Added by Jeffrey Green

Stunning Cascade Mountain Views. Great Hiking Exercise. Impeccable Wildflower Display. Gorgeous Photography. 2.4 Miles Round Trip. Elevation Gain: 712 feet. Summit Elevation: 5,440 feet. Summit GPS Grid Coordinates: 44°24′02.77″ N 122°08′57.19″ W

There are a couple of different routes to the summit of Iron Mountain. This adventure article focuses on the shorter but more strenuous 2.4 mile hike to the summit of Iron Mountain. To get there, drive to the upper trailhead (Trail # 3389) via Highway 20. Take Forest Service Road (FSR) 035 and drive 2.6 miles to the trailhead. A Northwest Forest Pass or $5 self-pay at the trailhead is required to park at the gravel parking lot. There is a vault restroom in the parking lot.

Iron Mountain is part of the Old Western Cascades that formed roughly 40 million years ago and has since eroded away into a number of smaller mountain peaks in the mid 5000 ft. elevation range. Currently, the Old Western Cascades live in the shadows to the west of the mighty North Cascades as we know and love them today.

This hike is an absolute must for any hiker looking for a fairly strenuous hike traveling through lush wildflower habitat to an incredible summit lookout with beautiful sweeping views. According to the U.S. Forest Service, Iron Mountain boasts approximately 300 species of flowering plants.

At the summit, you will find a newly constructed viewing platform that replaced the abandoned L-4 fire lookout cabin that was torn down in 2007. Attached to the viewing platform is a wonderful table that shows a visual representation of all the various mountain peaks you can see in a 360° range.

Mountains that can be seen are Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, North Sister, Middle Sister, South Sister, and Mt. Washington of the North Cascades. Some of the Old Western Cascade Mountains you can see are Coffin Mountain, Bachelor Mountain, Cone Peak, Echo Mountain, and the Three Pyramids.

Overall, I would highly recommend this hike to the summit of Iron Mountain. The views are incredible! The workout is well worth the effort. As a reminder, camping is strictly prohibited in the entire area. Additionally, due to the fragile nature of the wildflowers, the U.S. Forest service requires hikers stay on-trail at all times.

Happy Trails!

Read More

Tags

Fitness
Chillin
Photography
Running
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥉Contributor

3 months ago

Worth it!

We did this hike on May 2 and there was still lots of snow, ended up not going all the way. We did it again today (7/11/2020) and it was PERFECT. It was definitely busier, but the wildflowers were blooming and the view of all the mountains at the top were amazing. On a clear day you can see Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington & Three Sisters (and more, there’s a nice map at the top to point out what you’re looking at if you’re not familiar with the area too!)

It's well worth it!!

Drove to trailhead and only did the 1 mile hike to top from there. Great exercise. Fabulous views. Enjoyed it so much, went back and did it again a will later. Was a tad crowded but doable. This was in June

The waiting game

I hiked this a couple of days ago and it was gorgeous!!! There was A LOT of fog when I started the hike and when I got to the top but I waiting up there for about 30 mins and it cleared up so I could see the view. There were also TONS of chipmunks up at the top that were super friendly :)

Nice day hike

I went today & had a nice time! I would say this is more of a difficult hike. There were still some wildflowers blooming which was so beautiful, the observation deck was the perfect spot for lunch.

🥇Top Contributor

over 2 years ago

Short hike with great views

A short but steep hike up for some awesome views. The observation deck was nicely done.

Stay Nearby

Sisters, Oregon

Fish Lake Remount Depot Cabins

Overview The Fish Lake Remount Depot Cabins sit at an altitude of 3,200 feet near the Santiam Pass Winter Recreation Area of the Willamette National Forest. These cabins were built in 1924 and are ...

Linn County, Oregon

Olallie On Mckenzie Highway

Overview Nestled on the banks of the McKenzie River and Olallie Creek, Olallie Campground provides a superb setting for a getaway into nature. The lower loop offers mesmerizing views of both the ri...

Sisters, Oregon

Big Lake West Campground

Overview Big Lake West Campground offers sites located on the shores of Big Lake, situated at the top of the Santiam Pass. Opportunities to enjoy the outdoors are numerous and range from off-highw...

Sisters, Oregon

Big Lake

Overview Big Lake Campground sits at its namesake lake along Santiam Pass, a 4,800-foot mountain pass through the Cascade Range in western Oregon.Campers enjoy views of the lake with the beautiful ...

Nearby Adventures

  • Mountain Bike the McKenzie River Trail

    Mountain biking the McKenzie River Trail should be on every serious mountain biker's to-do list, since this trail has repeatedly been cited as the best mountain biking in the United States. The whole trail is an all-day, 26 mile epic, losing 2200...

    26 miles -2200 ft gain

  • Hike around Clear Lake

    Once you arrive at Clear Lake, I suggest to start the relatively flat hike around the lake. You'll walk through a beautiful forest with peek-a-boo views of the stunning lake. The hike around the full lake may take a few hours, so if you're not sta...

    4 miles

  • Hike the Middle Pyramid

    The Three Pyramids, half as tall as the better-known Three Sisters, are beautiful U-shaped glacial valleys, remnants of the Ice Age.To reach the top of Middle Pyramid, leave from the #3380 trailhead at the west end of the parking area. Early on th...

  • Hike to Sahalie and Koosah Falls

    This loop might be on the shorter side, but the hike is more than worth it for the scenery. Start at Sahalie Falls, a 100-foot tall waterfall pouring into the river below and covering the moss-covered valley with cool mist. Continue down the trail...

    2.6 miles