Easy (boardwalk trail)
0.6 miles round-trip
100 feet elevation gain
Open all year
Easy (Little Illinois River Falls)
160 feet elevation gain
Left: Boardwalk to Darlingtonia Fen
Almost perfectly conical, 3-mile-wide Eight Dollar Mountain looks like a young volcano, but it’s actually an erosional remnant that includes some of Oregon’s oldest rocks. The reddish peridotite and greenish serpentine here began as seafloor rock more than 200 million years ago. These rocks produce a soil so infertile that plants have struggled to adapt. As a result, Eight Dollar Mountain is an island of botanical diversity, home to odd bogs and rare flowers.
The mountain’s name dates to the 1850s gold rush, and most likely recalls a nugget unearthed along the Illinois River at the mountain’s base.
With the purchase of 650 acres by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in 2008, all of Eight Dollar Mountain is now in public or nonprofit ownership. One recreation proposal would build an 8-mile loop trail around the peak. In the meantime, the mountain’s two best trails are a boardwalk to a viewpoint and a loop to a churning chute on the Illinois River. Construction of a 1.4-mile connector between the two trails is planned.
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Above: Darlingtonia at Eight Dollar Mountain
This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon.