Saddle Mountain State Natural Area is cherished for its rare wildflowers and stunning viewpoint at the 3,290-foot summit.
The main trail begins in a picnic area and zigzags through mature old growth forest to a final accent up grassy slopes to the rocky peak. On a clear day, the panoramic view includes the sweep of the Columbia River as it enters the sea and miles of Pacific shoreline to the west; to the east, the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington frame the horizon.
The main trail is steep and difficult in spots, with a 1,640-foot rise in elevation over 2.5 miles. The hike is recommended for experienced hikers wearing proper footwear and clothing. Weather conditions can change rapidly, bringing wind and rain year-round and snow in winter. Portions of the trail can be slick in wet conditions.
If you aren’t up for the rigorous climb, try the short, 10 minute Humbug Mountain Viewpoint trail that shoots off from the main trail a quarter mile from the trailhead. For the safety of your dog and as a courtesy to others, please keep your dog on a leash (max 6').
Saddle Mountain, the tallest mountain in Clatsop County, formed during the Miocene when a large lava flow of Columbia River basalt touched the ancient sea. Steam explosions caused by the hot rock hitting the cold water broke the rock into a giant pile of basalt fragments. This resulted in thin, rocky soils at the highest elevations, supporting diverse meadows full of wildflowers. Saddle Mountain is believed to have served as a refuge for many plant species during the last Ice Age.
Some of the rarest and oldest species of wildflowers, lichens, and mosses in the northern Oregon Coast Range can be found at the top of Saddle Mountain. A few, such as Saddle Mountain bittercress and early blue violet, are found almost nowhere else. The violet, in turn, is the main food source for the threatened silverspot butterfly.
This uncommon habitat affords the property the highest level of protection as a State Natural Area.
Here are just a few of the special animals and plants found on the mountain:
Special events and nontraditional activities require a special use permit.
OPRD does not issue special use permits of any kind at this park for events that take place between the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day.