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Mt Hood Shooting Areas

Discussion in 'Outdoor Shooting Areas' started by shredjesse, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. shredjesse

    shredjesse Vantuckey Active Member

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    So, I bought a house out here on Mt Hood a while back, and one of the cool things about living out here in the sticks is I am so close to places to go shooting! After doing a bunch of research, I've found a few cool places to shoot and I figured I would share, and perhaps others would be able to recommend other places to shoot. I'm also looking to find a really good place to shoot where I can actually invest some time in putting up wood for mounting targets to and the like.

    Anyways, here's the three main shooting spots I have found on Mt Hood.
    (They're hardly secrets as I've met others at them who said the rangers gave them directions to it)

    1: East Miller Road

    When driving into the welches/brightwood area of 26 from Portland, the highway drops to 45 mph for that particular section of highway. About a mile before the speed limit drops to 45, on the right hand side of the roadis East Miller Road. The entrance is gated, and you've got to park and walk in a good ways. This is a bit of a bummer as bringing fun things to shoot stinks. The road will hit it's first Y, and if you go left you go down to the lower levels and what not, where it isn't bad for shooting, but it's a bit close to where a lot of people like to go and fish. Best avoided. Go right at the fork, and stay left from there for a while. This will take you into the gravel quarry area, and there's plenty of space there to shoot with. It's about a 1/4 mile hike all said and done, so it's not bad, but it's a bit of a drag for hauling in a bunch of people and guns for fun. Still though, it's REALLY close, and really convenient, and the rangers recommend this one so go there and do what you want!

    2: Wood Lot Road -- Sand Pit / Quarry

    This is another place that I didn't discover until recently, but the first time I went I met two others shooting there who told me it is where the ranger recommended they go. This is another place where you drive in and park and then walk a 1/4 mile to a quarry/sand pit. To get there, turn off of Highway 26 at mile 48.5 I believe... double check this yourself on Google maps per the link above. Drive a short distance (<100 yards) to a gate. Stop at the gate, unload and hike on in.

    The quarry is much more spacious with a lot more room to shoot than the aforementioned quarry, but it isn't without some issues. Namely, the highway isn't all that far away. I've shot a ton of rounds down there from some ridiculously loud guns and blown up Tannerite and no trouble yet, but uh... if anyone was parked and outside their car on 26 they might feel a bit close for comfort. This also might introduce a potential risk as if you shoot in a completely ridiculous direction with a powerful enough rifle you could hit the highway... but overall there's lots of safe backdrops to shoot against, it's a nice place to shoot as long as you're responsible.

    3: Wood Lot Road Powerline Spot

    This spot is accessed much the same as you would for the sand pit / quarry above, only as soon as you turn off the road you look to take a right hand turn immediately and drive down a very rocky road that leads you to the power lines. This is NOT a road to take a car down though. You need a vehicle with some ground clearance, and if it's wet 4 wheel drive may be nescessary. If it's snow you will DEFINITELY need 4 wheel drive to go shoot down here, but other than that, it's a simple trail for even a cruddy Toyota running on 3 cylinders that is RWD.

    Drive to the end of that first road, and it will intersect with the power lines. The road does not continue to the left (despite the image google has) but does continue to the right and runs the power lines. To the left, there are a bunch of rocks and that's your line to shoot from. Some one went out there and marked the distance on some rocks, and it appears to go out to about 75 or so yards with a good amount of clearing. LOTS of people must shoot here as the amount of ammo put downrange is really apparent.

    The god part about shooting here is you can drive to it, unlike any of the aforementioned spots. This means you can bring friends, a wide variety of guns and ammo, and fun things to shoot with ease. The bad news about this spot though is that it's not very wide. While there's a good enough distance youc an shoot and setup targets, the entire "range" (it feels a bit rangeish) is maybe 50' wide, with the shooting area only 30 or so feet. This really limits the space, and means it's definitely a first come first serve spot. Other problems would appear to be that local yodels like dumping trash there (gross, seriously people!) and it's also where ODOT appears to go to drop off dear who get hit by cars on highway 26, so occasionally there is a smell carcass there.

    Another issue with this spot is that it faces towards the aforementioned quary/sandpit... so in theory if some one were back there in the gravel pit you could be shooting at them. However, it would be nearly impossible to get through the 1/8 mile of trees between you and them, and not to mention some elevation change, and it only faces a corner of the quary where most people wouldn't be shooting from. Still, for my own paranoia's, I always look to see if anyone is parked at the gate for the quarry first, before choosing the easy location, and then when I do shoot from there I stop occasionally to listen and check if anyone is at the quarry/sand pit.

    If you use this location PLEASE try and leave it cleaner than you found it! It's a great spot but ODOT and the rangers may respond strongly if people keep dumping trash and leaving shot up printer and things out there!


    Concerning Shooting on Lolo Pass

    Lolo pass is most often the place I'm told by other locals out here to Shoot. I initially checked this with the local ranger station, and the answer is that you SHOULD NOT GO SHOOTING BACK THERE. They don't want you back there, and apparently there is some concern about lead ammo and the shooting locations proximity to bull run (the watershed that provides all of Portland City's drinking water). Whatever the story may be, the Rangers do not want you shooting back there. I can also say from experience driving around up there prior to where they lock the gate... there really isn't much going on up there. You can drive up along the power lines if you have a decent 4x4 and find some random place to plink, but it won't be anything nice. Perhaps some one knows of a spot I don't, but I've been told multiple times now the rangers don't want people shooting off of Lolo pass.





    If you have other shooting spots in this area that you want to share, please let me know / share!
     
  2. shredjesse

    shredjesse Vantuckey Active Member

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    Huh, I'm surprised there are so few Mt Hood Area Shooters :(

    Zig Zag Mountain (Great for shooting Skeet/trap/clay pidgeons/whatever you choose to call it)

    Drove up this yesterday exploring for a shooting spot. First off, don't try this without a vehicle with some an alright amount of ground clearance! It's a good length drive up this road, and moderately fun. Some locals use it as a screw around dirtbiking area, but I'm not sure why, it's all pretty boring and tame as far as dirtbikes are concerned. About 3/4 of the way to the top you'll come to a sharp left hand turn, and there's a big cliff straight and to the right ish. This is a great place for shooting clay pidgeons, as there is tons of air space for them to float out to, there's nothing around, and it's fun to shoot. There really isn't much going on there for clear long places to shoot though. The closets I found was at the end of the road at the trail head to the hiking area, there is an old continuation of the road that has been intentionally blown out. You can lay on the tank trap to shoot prone (or stand up) and put targets out to about 75 yards or so for shooting. It's not amazing though, and it may upset some hikers... so I'm not considering it a spot I would use.

    There's a REALLY nice view at a turn off about half way down. It'll look like a well established side road, but it will quickly peter out to a hiking trail. It's only about 100 yards total off the road, but once you get back there, it's a BIG old cliff with an amazing view of all of zig zag/Roadie/welches valley area.
     
  3. Twodogs

    Twodogs portland Or Active Member

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    Miller road area has been closed to shooting for years.
     
    blackgun and (deleted member) like this.
  4. shredjesse

    shredjesse Vantuckey Active Member

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    Welp somebody forgot to tell the rangers who enforce the rules then, as this is where they tell anyone who goes in and asks as of the past six months. They even provided a map with hand written directions. I also called and talked about cleaning up and throwing the trash in their dumpster and they were very happy to let me use the dumpster.

    So unless you can cite something else, this is no longer the case. I'd believe it was possibly the case for a while there though as there was a murder down that road apparently (drug deal gone bad I heard, weird place to have a drug deal though) but that's come to pass for that location it would appear.
     
  5. Twodogs

    Twodogs portland Or Active Member

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    There used to be signs posted all over in there so I just quit going things could have changed scene then.
    I lived up there for 18yrs, my girl friend for alot longer I know the story your talking about it was a body dump up wildcat road from a pot theft got bad.
    I will be headed up there today to do some scouting.
     
  6. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Actually, the body that was dumped up in the Wildcat Mountain Rd quarry was an 85 year old woman named Kate McCabe.
    She was a neighbor of mine and McCabe road was named after her husbands family. She lived all alone and was self sufficient
    The guy who killed her lived up on Wildcat Mt. in a tar paper shack.
    He was a crank / speed addict pot growing druggie, and when he wasn't murdering his neighbors was molesting his 14 year old daughter.
    She finally had enough of the beatings / sexual attacks and ran away to a neighbors house down the road and turned him in to the police.
    He had some of Kate's firearms and that is what put him in prison.
     
  7. Twodogs

    Twodogs portland Or Active Member

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    Sorry it would seem we have two different story's going on here.
     
  8. jeeves

    jeeves SE Portland New Member

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    Did you scout it out? what did you find? I may be headed up there myself today.
     
  9. Twodogs

    Twodogs portland Or Active Member

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    Didn't get a chance to go I've got a couple of cameras out I need to check.
     
  10. jeeves

    jeeves SE Portland New Member

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    2: Wood Lot Road -- Sand Pit / Quarry


    I went out there August 5th 2012. I drove down until i got to the gate, but instead turned at the last right. I went down a bumpy road until the first turnout. Parked there and walked in 200 yds.
    There were a bunch of tree stumps piled up against a 12' high dirt berm. Wanting to be sure of out backstop, we climbed around the tree stumps and over the berm, where we found the gravel pit. I was concerned, because as mentioned, it seemed like we would be shooting into the backstop, but TOWARDS hwy 26. We decided to use the dead tree stumps and had a great day. We were pleased to find the area pretty clean and only gathered up a few bits of trash and some shotgun shells to throw out.

    I hope any shooters going out to Mt Hood represent the best of the community by leaving the place cleaner than they found it.

    jeeves.
     
  11. hoody

    hoody Tigard/Beaverton area Active Member

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    The Zig Zag rangers told me Miller Rd and Wood Lot quarry are both closed. Both less than 200 yards to Hwy 26.

    Took a drive up Still Creek Rd, but didn't find any ideal spots for rifles (100+ yards). At least not close by the road. Google Earth is a tease.
     
  12. shredjesse

    shredjesse Vantuckey Active Member

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    I guess it really depends on which ranger you speak to. I was given written directions to the Easter Miller Road quary on a map, and another person the same for the Wood lot Quarry. By their own handout those two locations qualify as legitimate shooting places. The roads are closed in the sense you can't drive directly into them, but people all the time walk the short distance in all the time.


    I actually got permission from a ranger to throw any trash I clean up at shooting spots into their dumpster, so I'm making it a point to bring out trash bags with me every time I shoot and to try and pick things up.


    Yeah, as for what direction to shoot there, it's interesting. That is one of the better spots, but it surely isn't perfect.

    If you don't hike in from where you parked your vehicle, you can shoot there. It's obviously been an extensively used spot. It is in the general direction of highway 26, but you've got a 100 foot back drop past the 200 yards or so of trees inbetween you and the quarry. As far as shooting into the big sand pile, yes, it is in the general direction of HW26. The sand pile is about a 75' tall pile at it's peak though. Most people I see shoot against that, but I can see your concern I suppose. I don't think the line of sight from that backdrop would allow you to hit a car, but I'm not an expert...

    Where I shoot is different though. If you head over to the west side of the gravel quary, there's a 60' wide clearing with a very steep backdrop behind it that is 40' tall or so, and it is only about 60 meters deep from the "tank trap" that prevents a person from driving into that area. I hung a rope up there and put some plastic bottles on it (I come back and keep shooting them, hence it's left up). I intend to get a weedwacker and clean that area up a bunch to make for a fun place to shoot my 22's. It's a bit short range for anything else, but for fun screw around plinking, it's fine, and the backdrop is pretty safe. Decent enough for pistol training I suppose and iron sights on an AR. As an added safety measure, above the backdrop is yet another quarry with another large cliff face between you and HWY 26.

    The only concern I would have with shooting into hte stumps is that there is a river back behind there, and in the handout I received from the rangers it is clearly illegal to shoot over a river. There's also a road back there on the other side of the river. I've driven it a long ways in search of more hidden shooting places, but there isn't anything and it dead ends at a locked gate.
     
  13. shredjesse

    shredjesse Vantuckey Active Member

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    Wood lot RD powerline spot is getting pretty trashed. I did manage to get a good 500 .223 brass cases though to sell to some ambitious reloader though!

    I'll be cleaning it all out when I can.
     
  14. Flyingswords

    Flyingswords Texas Active Member

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    I hardly trust it or google maps. They hardly update their databases with updated info
     
  15. shredjesse

    shredjesse Vantuckey Active Member

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    ... you don't trust who and google maps?

    Google maps is just for Satellite view approximations to share with people. I got nothing from them.

    Only other person I could think you mean is forestry service... and yeah... their knowledge can be spotty.
     
  16. Focer

    Focer Mt Hood Active Member

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    I noticed this spring that there is a sign for "no target shooting" on the gate. You only see the sign when the gate is closed. That being said I shot there a hand full of times before the gate was closed :p
     
  17. shredjesse

    shredjesse Vantuckey Active Member

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    Interesting... I went there when the gate was closed around Feb/Mar and never saw the sign.

    I've stopped going there as the hike is a hassle and there's a lot of fishers and other people down there I don't want to disturb. There are other better locations for shooting.
     
  18. hoody

    hoody Tigard/Beaverton area Active Member

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    I found several good spots for rifles about 50 min from Government Camp. Involves rough road. Super clean. Cell service. Sunny and shady spots. 100 yds easy to set up. 400 yds, maybe more, possible (depending on tolerance for trudging thru clear cut).

    PM for details.
     
  19. shredjesse

    shredjesse Vantuckey Active Member

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    Okay, so this has come up a few times, and I wanted to lay this all to rest... here is the gate. THERE ARE NO SIGNS! It meets all of the criteria for shooting on National Forest property, and it's good to go. It's still not my favorite, but East Miller Road is not signed and kosher to shoot at per the Forest Rangers.

    EastMillerRoad.jpg
     
  20. solv3nt

    solv3nt Portland Well-Known Member

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    I've fished East Miller Rd quite a few times, and I've NEVER seen a no shooting sign on the gate. Tested out my first batch of handloads out there a few weeks ago.