Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Area Trails

Bly, Oregon 97622

Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Area Trails

Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Area Trails Professional Review and Guide

"This is one of those isolated wildlands so far off the beaten track that few ever visit it. The area features lovely, open forests interspersed with occasional meadows. As one of the higher summits in southeastern Oregon, the broadly sloping 8,364-foot summit of Gearhart Mountain is visible from all directions.

The Gearhart Mountain Wilderness was first given protection as a Wild Area in 1943, a Forest Service administrative designation. Congress included it as one of the original wilderness areas established under the 1964 Wilderness Act. The 1984 Oregon Wilderness Act enlarged the wilderness by 4,144 acres to its current size of 22,833 acres."

More Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Area Trails Professional Reviews and Guides

"Most Oregonians have never heard of Gearhart Mountain, an ancient shield volcano that rises in a long, sloping curve above the rolling pine forests of south-central Oregon. This is a shame, because the small wilderness here hides a wealth of interesting sights.

Marshy meadows are home to thousands of croaking frogs, a small lake is filled with hungry trout, and a hillside hosts an army of oddly shaped rock pinnacles. But the main attraction is Gearhart Mountain, especially the towering cliffs on the mountain’s east face. This hike takes you to the base of those cliffs and along the way visits many of the wilderness’ best features."

"Gearhart Mountain is in the Eastern Cascades’ Gearhart Mountain Wilderness. Surrounded by the rich old-growth pines of the Fremont National Forest, Gearhart is a unique wilderness that receives few visitors. The forest provides habitat for deer, elk, cougar, and coyotes.

Wildflowers are scattered throughout the meadows and are particularly stunning in contrast to the melting snow in early season; snow may remain on higher-elevation trails until July. Although mostly heavily forested, the Gearhart Wilderness’s few mountains and rocky outcrops offer plenty of scrambling opportunities. Special considerations: The Gearhart Mountain Wilderness map covers both USGS maps and has 20-foot contours."

"If you truly want to experience the beauty and solitude of pristine wilderness, this hike is for you. Old-growth ponderosa, lodgepole, and whitebark pines fill the Gearhart Mountain Wilderness with their stately beauty.

This hike also takes you through the Palisades, a unique area of oddly shaped rock formations, and ends at a high pass with magnificent views of Steens Mountain to the east, the Three Sisters Mountains to the west, and California’s Mount Lassen. Backpackers have the option of continuing another 3.4 miles to Blue Lake, a high alpine lake stocked with rainbow trout."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
June to October
5,900 feet
Trailhead Elevation
8,364 feet
Top Elevation
Willamette National Forest
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Oct 2018