This is a little-known, delightful hike with a mix of summit views, changing landscapes, and enough elevation gain to count as a solid mountain adventure. There are two main trails to the summit, coming from opposite directions. The eastern trail is just over two miles long, and the western path is roughly a mile and a half.
Both trails climb through old growth Douglass fir forests and end at the summit of Tidbits Mountain. Expect a mix of forest cover, gentians, trilliums, and rhododendrons. You’ll walk in and out of patches of trees, hike across rocky scrambles, and see many impressive monoliths. The elevation gain is about 1,000 feet, but it’s a gradual incline on both trails.
At the top of Tidbits Mountain, take in all of Central Oregon and beyond in a 360-degree view. Sharing the summit is a wooden platform, a concrete pad and some posts. This is all that remains of one the of the first fire lookouts in the state. It was built in 1915, and was followed by a 1926 Forest Service cabin. The building was destroyed in the late 1960s, but remnants of the old lookout remain scattered around the mountaintop.
Hiking directions from the eastern trailhead: Hike through old growth 1.2 miles to the junction signed Gold Hill Trail #3370. Turn left here and hike half a mile to the junction with Trail #3398. Turn left again and climb to the summit.
From the western trailhead: Hike on the path along a ridge and then through forests for just over one and a half miles to the top of Tidbits Mountain.
There are no fees associated with this hike. Note that snow can linger on the trails into July.
Directions from Springfield (or use GPS/Google Maps, etc from your location):
-- Take Hwy 126 East for 44 miles
-- Turn left onto NF-15 near mile post 44 (past town of Blue River) at the Blue River Reservoir sign.
-- Follow NF-15 for 4.8 miles and then continue straight on gravel road 1509 for 8.3 windy miles
-- Turn left onto road 877 and drive .2 miles to its end, or park and walk the steep .2 miles up to the trailhead.