Saddle Mountain boasts a breathtakingly picturesque panoramic view from its summit. But on a recent hike to the top with my two sons, our first visit to the area, clouds and fog obscured any chance of a view. On a clear day, you can see where the Columbia River enters the ocean, as well as miles of Pacific Ocean coastline. And to the east, the Cascade Mountain chain looms in Washington and Oregon.
Since the fog and clouds shrouded our view, we focused on what we could see, which was an abundance of wildflowers and other plant life as well as interesting rock formations. Although it was raining and I didn’t have a tripod to keep the shots steady, I did get some decent photos which you can view in the slideshows below.
The trail climbs two and a half miles with an elevation gain of 1,603 feet from the trail head. At the lower elevations, hikers will encounter stands of Douglas fir, western hemlock, Sitka spruce and noble fir. But towards the top, grassy fields and rocky slopes replace the forest setting. The summit lies at an elevation of 3,283 feet. The hike can be difficult in spots because of the steep terrain, and particular sections are slippery in wet conditions.
If you go, it would be wise to travel light, but I highly recommend bringing a camera. Make sure to dress for the possibility of changing weather, and wear footwear designed for hiking. Also make sure to carry plenty of water. This trek can be more difficult than the five mile round trip suggests.
This site is designated as a State Natural Area, so please pack out everything you pack in, and don’t pick or dig up any of the plants you come across.
From Cannon Beach, the Saddle Mountain turn-off is about 15 miles east on highway 26. The parking area is another seven miles on a narrow, but well paved road.