Summary: From the start to the top, you'll be climbing. A short distance from parking lot cross Hwy 20, then follow signs thru mountain meadows and old forests to the look-out station on top. Near the top, trail is a rocky. There are benches all along the way. Eighteen different plant communities and over 300 species of flowering plants are found along the trail. The most famous are the 5 species of penstemon, notably the red rock penstemon. To catch those blooms at their height, plan to go during early July. Once at the top, spectacular views of the Three Sisters, Three-Fingered Jack, and Mt. Jefferson await. When visibility is good, one can see other Cascade crest peaks such as Mt. Hood and even Mt. St Helens. Both the North and South Fork Santiam canyons are very visible, as is Browder Ridge to the southeast. The lookout is gone and beautiful deck is on a precipitous rock point with rails all around. Exercise caution, and stay in the designated areas.
Trailhead: From I-5 (Oregon) take the Lebanon exit and follow Hwy 20 to and thru Sweet Home. From Sweet Home, travel east on Highway 20 for 34 miles to Forest Road 15 and turn right (look for Iron Mountain trailhead sign). The parking area is 0.5 miles down the road to your right. The hike is open April to October (closed when it starts snowing) and you'll need a wilderness park permit ($30 for a year purchased before hand) or for $5 at the Kiosk "self-pay" station in the parking lot. Trail is clearly marked (all along the trail). You can also pick-up the Santiam Wagon Trail and the Cone Peak Trail from this hike (signs direct the way). (Lat:44.3946 Lon:-122.1413)
Trail Guides for Iron Mountain:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Sweet Home Ranger Station
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Craig Cole, who has posted 74 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by KJ on 8/1/2010
My sister and I randomly picked this location on a map from our campground on the highway. We thought we were just driving up to a lookout and surprised to find a trailhead instead. So we went for it and we were so glad we did. Amazing flowers along the way and a view to die for at the top. Yes, it was uphill all the way but well worth it!
Reviewed by EP on 7/18/2010
The new platform on top of the mountain is finished and all of the old lookout scraps are gone. The view is still spectacular and yesterday offered a profusion of wildflower colors. The trail has been well maintained and widened from earlier years.
Reviewed by Terry on 11/16/2008
I hiked Iron Mountain by myself on November 14th 2008. The trail is awesome! The trail is continually up. Part of the way along the trail you run into some large boulders that have very limited vision, and hike below several cliffs. This was a bit sketchy, since I knew there were Cougars and Bears up here....but I proceeded. I was only a few switchbacks from the top when I heard a bear roar! It was definitely a bear! I started to head back down at a little quicker pace. After going down around a couple more switchbacks, I heard another roar, which sounded further away. The views along the way were great! I want to come back and finish the hike, but with another hiker or two. I will definitely not hike by myself in Bear country again.
Reviewed by Cindy on 9/17/2008
Took this hike yesterday and was truly amazed at the beauty in our backyard. The trail was strenuous but many places to stop and sit. It was hazy from forest fires that are burning but the view at the top was spectacular. We couldn't get to the very top since the platform was being worked on. There is a large outcropping at the top that is great for pictures and gazing.
Reviewed by Terri on 7/8/2008
Iron Mt. is an amazing hike. I do it every year and never get tired of the flowers and views. My family went to the top yesterday, July 7th and were surprised when we reached the top to see the lookout totally demolished and only rubble and ashes were left. It's a aweful mess and I hope it gets cleaned up soon. Everything that could be burned was in ashes. Everything else was in piles. Wood stove, metal containers, windows, lumber, carpet. I hope it doesn't sit like that for very long.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Oregon Hiking, Oregon Trails, Oregon Hikes, Linn County Hiking, Linn County Trails, Linn County Hikes