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Pilot Knob, WA | July 2022

NR7Y's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

Pilot Knob is a quiet peak inside the boundary of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, and a stone's throw away from the Pacific Crest Trail. The approach is just short of 2 miles one-way, with some travel on an old trail and some bushwhacking.

The drive is about 1 hour and 15 to 30 minutes from somewhere in Portland. The hike is about 2 miles one-way with 1300' elevation gain and took about 1.5 hours to complete in the dry season.

Navigation software will easily get you to the parking spot at (45.79118, -121.88020) on the side of Wind River Rd. There is a closed old gate (picture below) but plenty of space to park out of the way. Take note of the sign indicating "Cougar sighted in area". Begin hiking by going past the gate and following the old and overgrown trail/road.

The trail is fairly overgrown but still navigable by sight and feel, avoiding saplings and other overgrowth. I consulted the GPS track a couple times just to make sure, but never felt like I had actually lost the trail. After about 1.2 miles, take sharp right turn off the trail and begin climbing up up the first hill. I (45.80049,-121.89668) because it seemed to thin a bit around there, but anywhere around here that looks good should work fine. Past this point, the trail is more overgrown and doesn't get any closer to the summit.

Once you reach the crest, continue directly east to the AZ. The ridge has a slight up and down, but direct is easier than trying to go around on the slope edge. This area of the forest has pretty low and open ground cover, medium density trees, and a medium level of windfall branches and trunks to navigate. Trail runner shoes are ok in the dry seasons, but boots and trekking poles to help stability while picking through some spots is helpful. 

The AZ is fairly wide and open with room for mutiple activators, and a nice collection of trees for antenna raising. The forest is dense enough throughout that there is no appreciable view.