Battle Ax Mountain

Oregon's Western Cascades — Willamette National Forest

Often people will access Battle Ax Mountain by way of Opal Creek and Battle Ax Creek trail. Our initial trip to Battle Ax Mountain was via the east end of the trail at Elk Lake where we set up a base camp.

For all practical purposes, Forest Service road 4697 pretty much peters out at Elk Lake, however, enough remains to hike or, if you have 4WD, drive farther down toward Beachie Saddle. Don't expect much though ... the road is more of a rough track than a road and will probably continue to degrade. Plan on parking and hiking sooner than later.

Time out will take a couple hours. Take plenty of water, a snack to refuel, and wear good shoes. Sharp rocks can take a serious bite out of the unwary.

Battle Ax Mountain Trail (#3340) is relatively short, about a mile and a half long, and very steep. It's a challenging hike for all but the most conditioned hikers, but pays off with spectacularly beautiful vistas on the trail and at the summit. The scenery in every direction is breathtaking ... so make sure the camera battery is charged and you have plenty of gigabitage on your SD card.

  • Details
  • Getting There
  • Trail Map

Permits & Passes: The Forest Service requires a self-issue permit.

Distance: About 1.5 miles to the Battle Ax Mountain summit from Beachie Saddle.

Elevation gain: 1244 ft.

Level of difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Season: June to November

From I-5 near Salem, drive east on Hwy 22 (aka Santiam Hwy) to Detroit Lake (approx. 50 miles). Turn left onto Highway 46 (Breitenbush Rd.) at the northeast end of the lake where you'll pass the Detroit Lake Marina. Proceed approximately five miles, then turn left on to National Forest Service road 4696. Pass service road 720 on your left; take the right fork to continue on 4696. At the next branch in the road, turn left on 4697 to reach Elk Lake. There is a switchback somewhat further up (service road 350 is marked); you want to continue on 4697.

You can park at Elk Lake, or continue on 4697 to where it meets 390. The trail has no marked trailhead. The former logging road is disused and overgrown.

View Larger Map

Disclaimer: The trail map shown here is for information only. For accurate, up-to-date information, visit the ranger station at Detroit Lake for Forest Service maps.

Related links

USDA Forest Service Information— Information for Battle Ax Trail is posted at the Forest Service website.