• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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!

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots
  • Day Pack
  • Water
  • High Calorie Snacks
  • Hiking Stick
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
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Reviews

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Couldn't have asked for a more wonderful hike. Some of the best views in Oregon. Can see Mt Adams and Mt Hood to the north, Jefferson and Sisters to the east, and all the way south to Diamond Peak, and even Marys Peak far off in the west! It was very difficult to have to leave that beautiful view and head down, but the views along the way are incredible too!

7 months ago
7 months ago

I loved it so much I hiked it two days in a row! (On the first hike there were clouds in the area but still beautiful, second time it was so Perfect. What a difference a day made.)

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Beautiful hike! Saw 4 different colored Indian Paintbrush including 2 that were white with pink tips(I've never seen this color before). The view from the top is incredible.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

This place is amazing not only are their over 300 species of wildflowers but the views are phenomenal !!! You can see so far away three sisters , mt.hood , mt. Jefferson ,mt.adams just to name a few this is a must do!!!!! Get outside and enjoy!!!!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

The view from the top is spectacular. Definitely a climb to get there but well worth it. The hike only ended up being a little under 2 miles from the upper trail head. So if you're looking for a longer hike (i.e., more than 2 miles) this one doesn't quite fit the bill.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is really a fun hike, with great views of the Three Sisters and the entire central Oregon Cascades. Instead of a lookout tower at the summit, there a patio-like platform that makes a great spot to relax after the climb up and enjoy a picnic in the summer sunshine while taking in the view.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Jeffrey Green

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