September is one of the best months to explore the Cascade mountains, with chances of a dusting of snow as well as 75 degree afternoons! This photo was taken near the summit of Devils Peak, which is located just outside of Zigzag. The hike is a grueling 4.2 miles straight up with little to no flat areas and a grueling 4.2 miles straight down. Plan on feeling like you were given charlie horses throughout your entire legs as well as hobbling for the next few days but you will be glad you did it. Just make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks since you will surely work up an appetite and you will get pretty dehydrated as you march straight up the mountain.
[/caption] This is the view from the top of Devils Peak with the pristine forest far below and as far as the eye can see. You can read about the trail and the area from my previous blog post. I wanted to include this photo since it’s the view you have from the summit of Devils Peak. You’re looking due south with great views of Mt. Jefferson as well as the top portion of Mt. Washington. However, I didn’t include the photo with the mountains since there are a lot of clear cut spots just below the mountains. I think that it really ruins part of the view as well as the serenity and solitude but at least the majority of the views are pristine for now. Unfortunately, the weather started to turn sower and the clouds really started to create too much glare. However, there were some sun breaks and it really created a nice look around the hilly forest. To get to this viewing spot you will need to hike past the lookout tower and walk a few hundred feet to the edge of a massive cliff. You really want to watch your footing and if you have a dog you may want to leash them since the fall would be fatal. If you stay at the edge of the cliff long enough, you may witness a bald eagle or a clan of Turkey Vultures soaring through the skies.
[/caption] A long and difficult trail takes you to the top of 5,045′ Devils Peak but the 3,200′ of elevation gain will really take a toll on you! The trail that takes you to the summit of Devils Peak is 8.2 miles round trip but the trail pretty much goes straight up without many even patches. However, even though the trail is steep and long, there is a spot where a very cool and refreshing creek runs over the trail. However, if you wait too long during the summer months, the creek may dry up. The forest service lookout tower is still standing but it’s no longer used for spotting forest fires. Backpackers or hikers are more likely to enter the worn down building. The views are stunning and offer some great views of the pristine forest that lies just to the south and west of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Washington that loom in the distance. If you’re truly looking for a very demanding and strenuous hike, I would recommend this hike since you will destroy your hams and quads going up and destroy your knees going down. Plan on at least two days of recovery time and make sure to bring plenty of food and water since you will want to spend as much time at the top taking in the views. This shot was taken from about .3 miles below the summit and looking east. There is a great vantage point to view Mt. Hood and there are several small alpine wildflowers that dot the craggy basalt rocks. However, watch out for the ants because they’re everywhere.