- Location: Tillamook State Forest; Coast Range
- Start: Elk Creek Trailhead
- Distance: 10.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 3700 feet
- Type: Loop
- Time: 6 hours 53 minutes (breaks not included)
- References: 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland by Paul Gerald; Oregon Hikers
This hike is one of the more physically challenging ones that we’ve done. There are some sections that are so steep you find yourself crawling up and grabbing onto underbrush in order to hoist yourself up. The hike up to Elk Mountain in particular involves a lot of rock scrambling in addition to the steep grade. Personally, I found that the physical challenges of this hike were what made it worthwhile and fun. And the views along the way might even make you forget your exhaustion. Both Elk Mountain and Kings Mountain have summit registers, so you’ll know when you’ve reached the summit of each. Don’t forget to sign the notebooks!
Sidenote: Mack and I ran the Elk-Kings 25K trail race back in October (which basically follows the same route as the loop except you take Wilson River Trail back to Tillamook Forest Center rather than back to the Elk Creek Trailhead). HARDEST RUN OF OUR LIVES.