Gearhart Mountain Wilderness was one of the original areas included in the Wilderness Act of 1964. This route passes on or near domes, hoodoos, cliffs and other interesting rock formations for which this area has long been known for. Summiting this wilderness highpoint quickly demands an ability to avoid being distracted by intense natural beauty, sure footing to avoid slipping or tripping, and an appreciation for reaching remote places.
Gearhart Mountain is more than just a geological wonder, it's the most prominent point in Lake County, Oregon, the 10th-most prominent point in Oregon, and the 67th highest peak in the state as well.
The standard approach for Gearhart Mountain is from the east, beginning from Gearhart Trailhead, located 0.2 miles north of Corral Creek Campground. Follow Gearhart Mountain Trail. In 0.7 miles, pass through the Palisade Rocks. Travel beneath The Dome then at mile 4.7, reach a prominent saddle (at ~7,925ft). From the saddle, it's 1.5 miles cross-country to the summit. During this section, cliffs and hoodoos are encountered that must be negotiated. Expect to see lots of big game wildlife as well, including elk, wolves, and black bears.
This route travels from Gearhart Mountain Trailhead to the summit of Gearhart Mountain, and back.
While preparing to attempt this route, I learned that OR 28 had been shot and killed. This was a female wolf roaming just north of Gearhart Mountain. Before her passing, she had successfully given birth to a litter of pups, which are still presumed to be alive and on the loose. In 2019, her killer was caught but avoided jailtime. "Dick will spend a year in supervised release, pay the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife $2,500 in restitution, not hunt any wildlife for a year and perform 100 hours of community service." While wolf sightings are extremely rare, in areas where they're known to be, they should still be expected. Solution? Carry PPE: Mace, a bear bell, a much slower friend in case you get chased. JK! At the end of the day, this is their landscape and habitat. Please travel thru it respectfully and follow existing routes and trails during your visitation.