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Elkhorn Crest Trail #1611

star-full star-full star-full star-full star-half 4.7 (3)

One way

23.7 miles

38.2 km

Difficulty

Difficult

Elevation gain

2,251 ft

686 m

Highest point

8,380 ft

2,554 m

Avg grade

4% (2°)

Elevation loss

-2,605 ft

-794 m

Max grade

30% (16°)

Elevation loss

-2,605 ft

-794 m

Avg grade

4% (2°)

Lowest point

7,194 ft

2,193 m


Discover more hiking nearby

Whitman National Forest, OR

Getting there

Driving directions

Current weather


Shared by Chris Wandervans

Features

Dogs - Off-leash  ·  Commonly Backpacked  ·  Views

Overview

The Elkhorn Crest is the highest elevation singletrack trail in eastern Oregon. You'll need a high clearance vehicle to drive to the trailhead or you can park as far up as you can go and hike from there.

There are lots of mountain goats on the Elkhorn Crest Trail and it is great as a multi-day out and back to Columbia Hill. If you're looking for something a little easier, there are a couple of shuttle options that can be pieced together. The first 5 miles to the Twin Lakes Trail intersection is a blast both out and back. From 5 miles to 8 miles is rocky and has significant exposure -- but it's fun and possible to hike it all. From 8 miles to 14 miles is great singletrack, there are some rocks but it's mostly a relatively fast downhill trail.
The Elkhorn Crest is the highest elevation singletrack trail in eastern Oregon. You'll need a high clearance vehicle to drive to the trailhead or you can park as far up as you can go and hike from there.

There are lots of mountain goats on the Elkhorn Crest Trail and it is great as a multi-day out and back to Columbia Hill. If you're looking for something a little easier, there are a couple of shuttle options that can be pieced together. The first 5 miles to the Twin Lakes Trail intersection is a blast both out and back. From 5 miles to 8 miles is rocky and has significant exposure -- but it's fun and possible to hike it all. From 8 miles to 14 miles is great singletrack, there are some rocks but it's mostly a relatively fast downhill trail.
Can be snowbound until July.

Need to Know

Water is scarce along the ridge. A stream draining into Sardine Gulch crosses the trail 12.5 miles from Marble Pass, which is the only perennial water source I know of from the trail itself. There is access to several lakes from the ridge trail via connecting trails full of switchbacks. These lakes would be nice to visit but each one requires additional mileage and significant elevation loss and regain. Even if you hike to Twin Lakes, it is still about 10 miles from there to the stream.

Contacts

Land Manager: USFS - Wallowa-Whitman National Forest Office

Shared by Chris Wandervans
Improvements to this page by Bruce Hope and 1 other

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Reviews & Conditions

star-full star-full star-full star-full star-half
4.7 from 3 hikers

Difficult

Difficulty average from 3 hikers
1-2 of 2 reviews

Boise, ID
star-full star-full star-full star-full star-full
Jul 30, 2019
Conditions: Dry: The trail was in great condition
Rated difficulty: Difficult

Boise, ID
Jan 2, 2019
thank you so much for this. Looking to take some Scouts on a high adventure

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