“Flag Mountain is a low elevation trail that can be used almost year round with a well-placed bench.
— Kathleen Walker
Flag Mountain Trail is open most of the year since it is under 2,500 feet in elevation.
Flag Mountain Trail #766 is a running and mountain biking trail that can be accessed from either end. To access the trail from the west end, turn right on Forest Road 20 (0.4 mile east of milepost 44 on Hwy 26) and follow it to where it “T’s” and go left. Travel approximately 0.6 mile to Forest Road 2620E, also called 2620-200, and turn left (northeast). Travel another 150 feet and park in the trailhead parking lot on your left. Cross the road to get to the trailhead.
Running the trail from the west involves a fairly steep climb for the first half mile+, but it is a pleasant run once you make it to the Flag Mountain ridge line. A memorial bench is located about 1/3 of a mile up, providing a well-placed rest stop for a snack and views of Hunchback Mountain across Still Creek drainage.
The bench was carried up and placed in 1995 by the Zigzag Hotshots from the nearby Zigzag Ranger District in honor of their friend and compatriot Kathi Beck, a fellow hotshot fire fighter on the Prineville Hotshots. Both Hotshot crews were dispatched to the South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain in Colorado in July, 1994. Sadly, 14 firefighters, most part of the Prineville crew, were killed when the winds shifted and the fire blew up. Kathi's mother owned a summer home cabin nearby that Kathi visited. The bench provides a contemplative spot for Kathi's friends, family, and forest visitors.
Above the bench, the trail continues to climb for another 1/3 mile before the trail mellows out somewhat and viewpoints along the ridge line of Flag Mountain offer views of Mt. Hood and the Zigzag Mountain valley to the north and the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness to the south. The trail bobs up and down along the spine with short drops between peaks until it begins dropping towards the east and comes out on an old reclaimed road 2632-160.
If accessing Flag Mountain Trail from the east end of 2632 side, there is a slight climb to the ridge line. You can stage a car on the west side trailhead for a one-way trip. Flag Mountain Trail is open to mountain bikes, however it is a fairly rough trail for those users. Be mindful of them if you are running.
The Flag Mountain Trail cannot be accessed from Still Creek Road 2612 because the two bridges across Still Creek along Road 2632 and Road 2620 are both closed.
The Flag Mountain Trail is home to classic low elevation Douglas fir and western hemlock forest with rhododendron and dogwood blooming in early summer.