6 - 7
FATMAP difficulty grade
Both Elk Mountain and Kings Mountain are popular hikes in Tillamook State Forest, but combining them both into one 10-mile loop is less popular and will get you away from most of the crowds in the upper reaches. The route begins with a steep push to the top of Elk Mountain, gaining "almost 2,000 feet in less than 2 miles," according to Rini Sugianto on [OutdoorProject.com](https://www.outdoorproject.com/united-states/oregon/elk-mountain-kings-mountain-traverse).
"With high steps and unstable ground, you will be forced to use your hands for balance in some sections," he continues.
But if you persevere to the summit, you'll be rewarded with one of the best views in Oregon's Coast Range! If you have any doubt that you'll be able to complete the loop, you'd better turn around now, because it only gets more difficult from here.
The two peaks are connected "via the Wilson River Trail and trail connections on the back sides of both peaks that involve a couple of scramble sections," according to [OregonHikers.org](oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Elk_Mountain-Kings_Mountain_Loop_Hike).
A few ropes have been tied to trees to help provide handholds in very steep, slippery sections.
After tagging the top of King Mountain, the trail descends steeply back toward the river far below.
Once you reach the parking lot, take a left on the Wilson River Trail to return to the Elk Mountain parking lot where you began.