Sweating Our Way To Mount Pisgah Views


One of the arboretum trails

Pisgah is a very old term term meaning “peak” in the same way as “yama in Japanese.  Fujiyama means Mount Fuji, so you don’t need to call it Mount Fujiyama.  So last week, when Denise, Jackie Chan and I climbed Mount Pisgah, I preferred to think of it as Mount Redundant.  The trailhead for the popular hike is located a few miles out of Eugene, Oregon in the same parking lot as the Mount Pisgah Arboretum, which we checked out ever so briefly.  Then we got on trail number one and headed into Buford Park, part of the patchwork of public lands managing a couple thousand acres in the area.

Mount Pisgah

We were already thankful for this shade

When Denise and I head up trail number one from the kiosk at the parking lot, I am surprised to realize how steep the trail is in sections.  We had done the hike back in the nineties when our boy may have needed an occasional piggyback ride on the steep spots.  Now he has more facial hair than I do, and he can outpace me easily on tough trails.  Strangely, the temperature seems to rise rapidly as soon as we are huffing and puffing.  It doesn’t help that the sun is blazing and there is little shade on the lower part of the trail.

Mount Pisgah trail number one

Steeper than it looks

This is a very popular trail, and we encounter a number of energetic walkers as we enjoy the scenery.  Dogs are supposed to be on leash but as always, a number of people fudge this rule.   We try to be good.  Views arise in just a few minutes over the treetops of the arboretum.  The trail then roughly diagonals up the side of a ridge to a sort of saddle where there is a trail junction.  Horses come up on the other trail and cruise past us easily.  The trail cuts back across the open flank of the mountain here, and views open up to the south.  In ten minutes or so, the pitch mellows quite a bit.

Mount Pisgah hike

The views are pretty nice

The final third of the hike meanders between open spots and lovely stands of oak.  There are steep sections, but not too many.

Mount Pisgah flora

This flora here felt more like the Cascades.

As always, I am happy to get to the top.  The summit is a big bald patch with a bench and an official looking marker topped with a bronze three dimensional map of the area.

Jackie appreciated the shade

Jackie appreciated the shade

Mount Pisgah map

The hat for size reference on the map

A couple other groups are up there, but nobody stays long.  I surmise that for many to them it is an exercise jaunt more than an experience in nature.  It definitely beats working out on the elliptical at a gym.  We stay on top for ten minutes, taking in views, talking with other walkers, and relaxing.

Looking east

Great views to the east. I could barely see a couple major peaks.

The descent goes smoothly, and we are back at the car in about thirty minutes.  The round trip, including our summit relaxing time, takes about 90 minutes.

Some great sections of oak forest

A great section of oak forest up high

The Mount Pisgah trail system is popular for a reason. The summit is a mile and half from the parking lot and elevation gain is right at 1000 feet.  It doesn’t take much time out of the day, but it is still a workout, and the views are terrific.  This is a great little hike.

About Josh Baker

"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” ― John Muir

Posted on September 17, 2013, in Flora and Fauna, General Hiking, Hiking with dogs, Mountains, Outdoors and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. One of my faves. I love the Arboretum too.

  2. FYI, there is a Mt. Pisgah in North Carolina as well. I didn’t realize it had been named by the Redundant Department of Redundancy – thanks for the trivia!

  3. That Jackie Chan gets around – looks like a lovely hike and a beautiful day for it.

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