Hike Lookout Mountain via High Prairie Trailhead

High Prairie Trailhead

Get in-your-face views of Mount Hood along with sprawling views of the Cascades and eastern Oregon at the top of this easy 3-mile summit hike.

Lookout Mountain should be the most popular destination in Oregon given its views to effort ratio. Mount Hood seems close enough to reach out and touch from the open, rocky summit, and views extend from the Three Sisters in the south to Mount Rainier to the north. While the hike is popular in the summer, Lookout Mountain sees far fewer people than nearby Elk Meadows or Mirror Lake. The Lookout Mountain trail is also a great entry point for longer hikes/backpacks into the Badger Creek Wilderness.

To reach the High Prarie Trailhead, from Highway 35 turn onto Highway 44 towards Dufur, just north of the Little John Snowpark. Note, this highway is unplowed in the winter, so you'll have to use the snowpark to reach Lookout Mountain via a much more difficult route once the road becomes unpassable. Continue for 3.6 miles, then turn right onto gravel FR-4410 - the road is marked, but it's difficult to see the sign before making the turn. Continue another 4.8 miles on well-maintained gravel, then make a left at the T-intersection and turn into the trailhead parking lot 50 feet later.

The trail begins across from the parking lot. You can either follow the old dirt road or take a spur trail on the right - they'll meet up about three-quarters of the way up the mountain. Either trail winds uphill through fir forest before reaching the junction, where you'll turn east (left if you took the dirt road, right if the spur trail) to climb the bit to the summit.

At the top, take in the views. Sunrise and sunset are both spectacular from the bald summit, and open views make for great night sky viewing. It is also possible to camp on the summit - there is a tent pad in the trees on the north side of the summit area - but be considerate of other hikers during the summer months. Once done, return to your car the way you came.

Pack List

  • NW Forest Pass (required to park at trailhead)
  • Day hiking essentials
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
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RT Distance 3 Miles
Elevation Gain 565 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Amazing views, spectacular sunrise and stargazing

We backpacked this for our first backpacking adventure ever! A great first choice. Super high reward for little effort. It got pretty windy at the top overnight (this was mid-August). Amazing sunset, stargazing, and sunrise reflecting onto Mt. Hood make this a great, really relaxed and beautiful overnight or a perfect add-on to a longer hike in the area.


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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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