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Plaza Trail #783

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

9.1 mile 14.7 kilometer point to point
84% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,113' 644 m
Descent: -1,699' -518 m
High: 4,612' 1,406 m
Low: 3,721' 1,134 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 45% (24°)

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Trail shared by Kathleen Walker

Plaza Trail stretches from Boulder Ridge Trail, nine miles south, across the heart of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness.

Kathleen Walker

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers

Plaza Trail requires a BLM parking pass on the north end at Wildwood day Use Area. This trail is snowed in until mid- to late June. The trail is very rugged and does not get much trail maintenance due to its limited use. Also, there is very little water sources on this trail, so you must carry adequate water. This trail does not see much use, so while it has outstanding opportunities for solitude, it also gets less trail maintenance, so blowdown is possible. Take a map.

Description

Plaza Trail is one of the more rugged and isolated trails you can take on the Mt. Hood National Forest, close to Portland. Even on a summer weekend day, you are not likely to run into more than a few other runners, if that. You can reach Plaza Trail on the north end by parking in the BLM Wildwood Day Use Area off Hwy 26 near Welches, and running 4 miles south on Boulder Ridge Trail #783A to its end and pick up Plaza Trail. Or you can start Plaza Trail on the south end, off of Abbot Road outside of Estacada off Hwy 224.

In either case, Plaza Trail follows the ridge lines of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness namesake mountains. At the end of Boulder Ridge, Plaza Trail follows the ridgeline of Huckleberry Mountain as it winds across the wilderness towards Salmon Mountain and then a feature called Sheepshead Rock at the south end of the wilderness. The following description assumes you start at the south end and run north.

This trail starts at Forest Road 4610 and ends at it junction with Boulder Ridge Trail #783A. From Forest Road 4610 (4,240’), the trail heads north and after 50’ the trail branches. The trail heading west is Old Baldy Trail #502. Head east (right) onto this trail (#783). At 1.3 miles, the trail passes Sheepshead Rock (4,460’) which offers nice views to the north, west and east. Leaving Sheepshead Rock, the trail climbs several switchbacks, descends briefly then contours a further 1.5 miles to the junction with Salmon Mountain Trail #787 (3,840’).

From the junction, #783 continues north, and after 2.6 miles the trail reaches the junction with Douglas Trail #781 (4,040’). Head right to stay on #783 and continue 1.6 miles to the junction with Bonanza Trail #786 (4,200’). Head left to stay on #783 and the trail passes Huckleberry Mountain (4,290’) in 0.1 mile. Continue heading north, going downhill 1.7 miles to the trail’s end at the junction with Boulder Ridge Trail #783A. The only significant sustained grades on this trail are between the Sheepshead rock and Salmon Mountain Trail #787. There are some short, steep sections along the trail.

Flora & Fauna

Plaza Trail runs through thick second growth forests of Douglas fir, mountain hemlock, silver fir, and noble fir. Vine maple and alder make for fall colors. Undergrowth consists of sword ferns, salal, Oregon grape, and rhododendrons. Blooms are best in June and include bear grass, lupine, penstemon, Indian paintbrush, larkspur and many other wildflowers that are found in the rocky outcroppings along this trail.

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  3.0 from 1 vote

#21442

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#694

in Oregon

#21,442

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383 Since Jan 16, 2017
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Photos

Mt. Hood and Salmon Mountain command the view from Sheepshead Rock on the Plaza Trail. Photo by John Sparks.
Jan 25, 2017 near Mount H…, OR
This view from the Plaza Trail looks toward Mt. Hood and Devil's Peak on Hunchback Mountain. Photo by Cameron Brown.
Jan 25, 2017 near Mount H…, OR
The remnants of the fireplace at the Plaza Lake Guard Station still stand. Photo by Cameron Brown.
Jan 25, 2017 near Mount H…, OR
Great views reward visitors to the Plaza Trail on Huckleberry Mountain. Photo by Cameron Brown.
Jan 25, 2017 near Mount H…, OR
Lupine and larkspur dot the Plaza Trail. Photo by Cameron Brown.
Jan 25, 2017 near Mount H…, OR
The junction of the Plaza Trail and the Salmon Mountain Trail has good signage.
Jan 25, 2017 near Mount H…, OR

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