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Monte Cristo

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This is an easy hike-a gentle climb with just under 100 feet elevation gain in a mile and a half to an old fire lookout site where you find great views of the surrounding region. From here you can look south to the Columbia River and into the dry lands of eastern Washington. You don't find any water near this trail, so pack plenty.

From the trailhead, you begin a moderate climb through open forests and clearings, weaving upward on a somewhat rough trail. The trail rolls past wonderful huckleberry patches that provide glorious fruit in late August and early September. If you visit early in the summer, you'll miss the berries but should be able to enjoy the bulbous blooms of beargrass that dot the forest around you.

As you near the top of the ridgeline, the trail turns steeply up the south flank of Monte Cristo at 2 miles to reach the summit at 2.5 miles. Enjoy the views from the summit, including peeks at the Columbia River and Big Lava Bed.
Driving Directions:

From Carson, head east on State Route 14 along the Columbia River and turn north onto U.S. Highway 18, heading north along the Little White Salmon River. Just a few miles past Willard, turn left onto Forest Road 1840. Drive FR 1840 to its junction with Spur Road 1840-100. Turn left onto the spur road and drive a few hundred yards to the road-end trailhead.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 4 trip reports for this hike.
Monte Cristo — May 25, 2013 — robbanks
Day hike
Issues: Overgrown | Water on trail | No water source
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We missed the turn off of the main road and continued up the gravel from Oklahoma Campground. The ol...
We missed the turn off of the main road and continued up the gravel from Oklahoma Campground. The old trailhead for Monte Cristo is at the end of the road, but all the trail signs are down. We didn't realize we were in the wrong spot, so hiked the trail anyway. It has definitely not been maintained, with trees and natives growing in the center of the trail. Found three very squishy morels. After about 1.5 miles of steady climb, you reach the road that you can drive (!!)to get to the trailhead. Foliage was very pretty, and dogwoods were blooming. Made a pretty backdrop, even though no views, for a wedding proposal.
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Monte Cristo — Mar 07, 2003 — Angela and Jacqui, snowshoe babes
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Jacqui and I headed out on a Friday morning (as she was playing hookie from work)for our first snow...

Jacqui and I headed out on a Friday morning (as she was playing hookie from work)for our first snowshoeing adventure. We drove up to the road to Monte Cristo, plowing our way through a decent amount of snow. Arriving at the trailhead, we donned our snowshoes and saw a couple of people on their snowmobiles. Since no one had been on the new snow, we were postholing in 1-2 ft. of snow. It became quite a workout, but it was fun being in all that snow and seeing everything under a blanket of new snow. We went a little beyond the Weden House sign and had lunch standing up as there was no place to sit. Jacqui took some great pictures on her dc. It was a wonderful day to be in the snow! :0)

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Monte Cristo — May 22, 2001 — Sandy-o
Day hike
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The day started on the trail by 9am, no other cars in sight, trail to ourselves. You couldn't beat ...

The day started on the trail by 9am, no other cars in sight, trail to ourselves. You couldn't beat the weather, perfect. The trail itself is in good condition. There were a couple of spots where it was muddy but plenty of room to get around it. Monte Cristo itself has some good views. We hung out in the sun for a while, had a bite to eat and the dog hung out in the river. The first person we saw was on the way back down. In total we saw 11 people and 2 other dogs. Not very many people given the beautiful weather. When we got back to the car we saw a ranger enforcing the trail park pass. Good thing we remembered ours...

We were back to the car by 3pm so we decided to check out the big four ice caves. Really cool. It's too early in the year for the caves to have formed yet but neat none-the-less.

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Monte Cristo — May 13, 2000 — frog
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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Thought this would be a good easy low-elevation trail (trailhead is 2,360 feet, climbing to about 2...

Thought this would be a good easy low-elevation trail (trailhead is 2,360 feet, climbing to about 2,700 feet at the townsite) for a group of varied experience/ability -- was really trying to find a good remote hike with little or no snow. Surprisingly, the road/trail was still about 70% snow covered, which slowed us down considerably. Not too deep, but still trudging over snow is always slippery and wet. No matter, though, it was a beautiful day and the hike was just right. Not too strenuous, a good first ""warm-up"" hike of the season.

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Location
Monte Cristo (#53)
South Cascades -- Columbia Gorge
USFS Mount Adams Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 5.0 miles
Elevation Gain 400 ft
Highest Point 3000 ft
Features
Rivers
Summits
Ridges/passes
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
South Cascades
Green Trails No. 398 Willard

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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