New Years Day Hike – Castle Rock and Carpenter Mountain Lookout

New Years Day 2014 was amazing! My husband, nephew and I went for a 2 short hikes in the Mckenzie Valley.

We started our day off late as usual and then going the wrong way at Cougar Reservoir but finally made it to the right road for Castle Rock lookout. The lookout is no longer there but the views are great. This trail is a heavy use mountain bike trail so I wouldn’t recommend it in the summer but on this crisp winter day we had the trail to ourselves.

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Top of Castle Rock

Sun hiking at Castle Rock

Finally out of the fog in the valley and there’s SUN!

Castle Rock

He doesn’t look very happy with me!

Castle Rock

A little rest before we head down the mountain.

The pinky promise from attempt #1.

It was only 11am when we got in the truck so we decided to head across the highway to Blue River Reservoir to hike up to Carpenter Mountain lookout. I was skeptical that we could get up there due to the elevation, 5,039 feet, but sure enough the roads were clear. I’ve attempted this hike twice already and failed. The first time was just the kids and I, we were about half way up the mountain and a lightning storm struck. Colton was scared out of his mind and made me promise I would never take him hiking in the rain again.  The second time we tried in February, I know not too smart but I just bought my Jeep and we wanted to play in the snow.

The long drive and the steep ascent were certainly worth the views. WOW, it was amazing. Carpenter Mountain is a staffed lookout in the summer, I believe its one of the few in the cascade mountains.

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The start….

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The first look at the lookout.

 The start of our hike began with the sign, heck 1 mile is not far at all. Well, let me tell you when you feel like you are going straight up it takes a while. The worst was scaling the rocks.

Our first look at the lookout, yep its on top of this HUGE rock.

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Amazing view. We could see from Diamond Peak to the tip of Mt. Hood.

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Wolf Rock

This was probably the most interesting discovery of the day, Wolf Rock. It’s the largest monolith in Oregon and towers 1000 feet over the surrounding area. It’s our next adventure!

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A nice outhouse near the lookout. You should check it out!

Thanks for reading my blog. If you have any hiking adventures that I should attempt please share them with me.

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