This short hike is not for the faint of heart, as it climbs nearly 1300 feet in a little over a mile and a half. The wildflowers begin almost immediately, though, and as the trail climbs, the species change and the views improve; photo stops are inevitable and give hikers an excuse to rest.
|Panorama from Cone Peak, Iron Mountain to the right|
However you may choose to reach the summit of Iron Mountain, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views in all directions. This was once the site of a fire lookout, and until recently the charred and twisted remains of the old building littered the mountaintop. Now the Forest Service has replaced the old lookout with a wooden viewing platform.
If You Go
Be prepared to pay a parking fee (currently $5) if you do not have a Northwest Forest Pass. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and carry drinking water. Keep children and dogs under control, as this trail passes along some steep dropoffs. A walking stick can be helpful when crossing snowfields.
The closest camping is available at House Rock Campground to the west and Lost Prairie Campground to the east. Lost Prairie can accommodate trailers, but please note that individual camping is only available here when the campground is not reserved for groups. House Rock is best suited for tents and small campers.
This is a rewarding hike any time during the summer and fall. Hikers who miss the big spring show will enjoy the quieter trails of late summer and early fall, and the views are always well worth the climb.