Posted by: columbiahighlands | November 11, 2011

Day hike: Clackamas Mountain

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Hike approximately 10 miles through some of the last unroaded wildlife habitat in the eastern Okanogan National Forest. Clackamas Mountain Roadless Area contains one of the largest concentrations of old-growth snags in the region, which is vital for cavity-dwelling wildlife such as woodpeckers. Above, grand old ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir and western larch. Under foot, massive rocky escarpments that in late spring shimmer with the electric pink of bitterroot, yellow of biscuitroot, and pinkish-white of Okanogan fameflower, which grows nowhere else in the world outside the western Columbia Highlands. Part of a network of trails long abandoned until the local chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen rehabilitated them, this loop–scenic, easily accessible from Republic, and easy to hike even when the snows have closed the high-mountain trails–is one of the underappreciated gems of the Columbia Highlands.

Driving directions: From Republic, travel approximately 8 miles west on Highway 20 to Sweat Creek Picnic Area, on the north side of the highway. The trail system begins approximately 50 yards beyond the outhouse, past a wooden gate. The loop is easiest to follow if hiked counterclockwise; turn right once through the gate.



  1. Great series of photos, Aaron! I’d like that hike! Maybe some day…

    • This area has a very Montana-like feel; it actually reminds me a lot of areas I explored as a kid during summers in western Montana. Clackamas Mountain is tied with Thirteenmile for my favorite hike.

  2. […] In early summer, buckwheat, bitterroot, and fameflower grace places such as Cougar Mountain and Clackamas Mountain with their delicate, brightly colored blooms. Although lithosol plants and lichens are remarkably […]

  3. […] pines can be found throughout the Columbia Highlands, with particularly impressive stands in Clackamas Mountain roadless area, west of Republic, and Cougar Mountain/Thirteenmile roadless areas, south of […]

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