Hardesty Mountain is just spitting distance inside Willamette National Forest. The trail is a common training hike and a mountain biker challenge. I’ve hiked it a couple of times every year for the last several years … today’s was the best yet. The weather report was more of the same – unstable air, clouds, sun but probably no rain. Yet, it had rained the night before – lightly.

While often used by mountain bikers, the trail was in great condition with only a couple of bike damaged areas and several small muddy spots. I was expecting much more wet, muddy conditions. There was only 1 blow down that I had to scramble over and several others that had already been cleaned up. I started at the Hwy 58 trailhead and hiked to the ‘upper Hardesty TH’ (which requires a high-clearance vehicle on a twin-track).

Heading out to the TH, the sky looking east / south-east was exactly what was forecasted … and exactly where I was going.

At the TH, there was another couple taking their dogs out for run w/ mountain bikes. They would be the only two people I saw until back near the TH on the descent.

Once getting going up the hill, Hardesty is beautiful if you look … the flowers (especially the Rhododendrons) were just coming out.

These little guys were all over down at lower elevation

For most of the hike, one is in the trees (or clouds and mist like today), but just past the summit on the ‘cutoff trail’ there is an opening

This meadow / opening is deceptively steep. A slip would be incredibly dangerous and maybe fatal

But that spot gives some good views to the west

I also saw these tags in a tree – something i had not noticed before. Anybody know about these?

Summary: When you hike Hardesty, ya gotta understand that it’s straight up and steep – without views. But the forests are dynamically different and at the right times, the flowers are great. It’s a quiet forest with low ambient noise given how often / recently it’s been farmed. If you want a fitness test within typical newer Willamette National Forest foothills, … go.

All Trails Factoids
Distance: 12.44 miles | Elevation Gain: 3,963 ft | Avg Pace 25:15 / miles — Recording

Gear TypeFor this Hike
PackGregory Citro 30
New Pack: A gear review will be published shortly
ShoesColumbia fabric boots
Top LayersBaselayer LS + poly LS
Bottom LayerREI Sahara convertible pants
SocksDual layer REI Silk liner + REI lightweight Merino wool
GaiterREI ‘On the Trail Gaiters’
WaterBladder 2 L – 1L + 375ml consumed
Supporting toolsTrekking pole – used and needed
No toe callous bumpers – emergency only

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