Bull of the Woods Trail 550

Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

Elevation Gain2,398ft
Trailhead Elevation4,924ft
Elevation Min/Max4596/5491ft
Elevation Start/End4924/4931ft

Bull of the Woods Trail 550

Bull of the Woods Trail #550 is a hiking trail in Marion County and Clackamas County, Oregon. It is within Bull of the Woods Wilderness Area and Mount Hood National Forest. It is 3.2 miles long and begins at 4,924 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,398 feet. Bull of the Woods (elevation 4,364 feet) can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Dickey Lake Trail #549.

Bull of the Woods Trail #550 Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland (Menasha Ridge Press)
Paul Gerald
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"This trail has it all. Come in late June, as soon as the snow has cleared, and enjoy a mind-boggling display of rhododendrons among the old-growth forest on the way to Pansy Lake. (Bring bug repellent.) Come in late summer and pick huckleberries up on the ridge. Or come in fall, when the ridge is awash in color and the mountains might see their first snow. Just make sure you get here; the long drive is more than worth it. Bull of the Woods Peak is the second-highest point in the 27,000-acre Bull of the Woods Wilderness, which boasts more than a dozen lakes bigger than an acre, 68 miles of hiking trails, and even the world-famous northern spotted owl, which you almost certainly won’t see." Read more
Backpacking Oregon: From Rugged Coastline to Mountain Meadow (Wilderness Press)
Douglas Lorain
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"Backpackers who want a taste of what the Old Cascades used to be like will enjoy this loop through the Opal Creek and Bull of the Woods wilderness areas. The massive trees along Opal Creek drew national attention for many years as conservationists and timber interests debated their future. The battle was eventually decided when Congress officially designated Opal Creek as a wilderness and scenic area in 1996. In addition to cathedral forests, this loop hike features an excellent sampling of the Old Cascades’ other charms, including lots of blooming rhododendrons, view-packed ridges, small but scenic mountain lakes, cascading streams, and surprisingly uncrowded trails." Read more

Bull of the Woods Trail #550 Reviews

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Fairly moderate trail (depending on your route) with some switchbacks. The views from the top were amazing! On a clear day from the tower you can see gorgeous views of Mts Hood, Jefferson, Adams and Three Sisters. Pansy Lake is a nice spot to stay the night if you want to hike more. Mosquitoes are beyond vicious.
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Looking for a nice moderate, overnight hike? Take the Opal creek trail off of the Bull of the woods loop, heading towards Beachie Creek about 6 mi. you will find Cedar Flats. Ancient old growth cedars tower above a small grove of trees almost at the confluence of Beachie creek and opal creek. If the site is already occupied, there are 4-5 little places to camp along the way leading up to Cedar Flats. This is a perfect quick overnighter because it is only 12 miles round trip. It was nice to get away from the city lights for a night, as the stars lit the canopy of this beautiful old growth forests...some of the biggest trees I have seen in Oregon. We got to camp late around 6pm so If you leave earlier you will probably get a spot at cedar flats, a far more superior campsite than most of the smaller ones along the way.
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The scenery is beautiful, lava rock was not friendly on the dogs, signs are a bit tricky (well marked, but you should get a local map) and we got lost, not a lot of shade, gets cold at night, the trail is deep and very noticable, day hikers on weekend.
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Bull of the Woods offers many miles of trails that a dayhiker or backpacker can use to create anything from an easy stroll to a fairly rigorous multi-day trip. There are so many trails and cutoffs, that a hiker could easily get mixed up and even lost if not careful. So, make sure that you bring your topo and have a plan going into Bull of the Woods. It's also a popular hiking spot in the area, so be prepared to stumble upon a fair amount of fellow hikers. There are, however, areas and trails that are less traveled than others -- so, if you like your solitude, like I do, then finding those spots is worth the effort. Most recently, I spent a short weekend trip in Bull of the Woods and found a wonderful spot that wasn't populated at all save myself and my hiking partner. The bottom line: Enough space and trails to spend days or simply hours alone or in the company of fellow hikers.
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Bull of the Woods is an area, not a destination. It ranges from Elk Lake to Pansy Lake, and includes numerous lakes, one stream, an authentic lookout and several abandoned gold mines. Many of the lakes were stocked in the '30s, by air. The fish are persistent, and manage to survive from year to year, but do not get large. Elke Lake Creek, which looks like a beautiful fishing area, and is. However, the lakes and creeks are so cold there isn't a lot of food, and the fish are rarely if ever larger than the equivalent of one hot dog. The trails tend to be uphill or downhill, and take their toll of knees. For people with patience, this is an absolutely wonderful area. There are traces still of the "slack line", and early telegraph line for communication with fire crews. It used a heavy aluminum wire and doughnut-shaped insulators, so that when a tree fell across it the line wouldn't break. An early book about it, which I haven't been able to find, is entitled "Oregon's Hidden Wilderness". It has some of the most beautiful camping sites in the entire world. Corky Corcoran

Bull of the Woods Trail #550 Photos

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Trail Information

Mount Hood National Forest
Nearby City
Bull of the Woods Wilderness Area
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Additional Use
Clackamas River Ranger District, 503-630-6861, www.fs.usda.gov/mthood
Local Contacts
USFS Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Green Trails Map 524 (Battle Ax).
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018