Hike Difficulty: moderate
Hike Length: 2.5 mi to The Dome
Elevation Gain: approx. 1000 ft
Time: 2 hrs 26 mins
My past roommate and I went to Gearhart Mountain Wilderness area for the first time this weekend. Since it’s still a little early in the season, we weren’t able to get to the North Fork Sprague Trailhead — the road up the east side of the wilderness still had some snowy patches. So, ditching our original plan, we headed back down to the Lookout Rock Trailhead to enter Gearhart Wilderness from the southern entry point.
The climb was difficult because I packed pretty heavy. I need to learn to leave some things at home since I always end up having back and shoulder pain from my 40 lbs of gear. I did, however, get to relieve myself of some weight by filling up Grace’s pack with her sleeping gear and food.
The Lookout Rock Trail climbs into some beautiful open rock formations known as Palisade Rocks around .8 miles in. From there, the trail drops down into a sort of flat area before climbing toward The Dome. My friend and I ran into some impassable snow drifts around this point, so we decided to climb the hill and see what The Dome was all about. It was a tough climb of a few hundred feet in a short distance. But it turns out that we found an amazing camping spot by climbing up beside the rock formation.
I will have to return to explore Gearhart Mountain Wilderness more, especially since pretty much no one else visits there according to the local I ran into.