This trail is a challenging hike. In order to reach the summit of Kings Mountain, hikers face a 2,546-foot elevation gain in 2.5 miles, but the panoramic views from the top are worth the effort. The trail is a steep but gradual climb that in some places can be a scramble, making sturdy boots and plenty of water essential.
The young forest you walk through at the base of the mountain was planted after the 1945 Tillamook fire. Nearing the ridge, you can see smaller trees that were seeded by helicopter during the replanting efforts, along with standing dead trees, sometimes called “gray ghosts.”
Signs along the trail allow hikers to note their elevation. A short distance from the summit, a picnic table is a pleasant sight and an inviting place to rest before tackling the final very steep push to the top.
Make sure to read and sign the summit register to be among those who have conquered the mountain. Ambitious hikers can continue hiking on to Elk Mountain or Elk Creek Trails.
The 1.3 miles of trail between Kings Mountain Summit and Elk Mountain Trail are even more challenging. Sections of this segment are steep, narrow and traverse along narrow ledges running above and below cliffs with sheer drop-offs in some areas. This trail can be difficult to see and follow in places, particularly during the winter or in inclement weather.
(Source: Oregon Dept. of Forestry)