A Late Summer Outing to the Indian Racetrack


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Indian Racetrack

It was a cool and drizzly morning on the edge of the Indian Heaven Wilderness. The 32 square-mile Wilderness has many large, open meadows to explore.

In a couple of miles I was standing by a small lake at the north end of a huge, flat meadow. The open area was used by the tribes for centuries as a place to race horses until the 1920s. A beautiful spot indeed!

From the meadows it was a steep one-mile climb to the summit of Red Mountain, the remains of a cinder cone volcano. There was a rare, standing lookout site at the top. If there hadn’t been a heavy cloud cover, the views would have extended to Mt. Hood in the south to Mt. Rainier in the north.

Open returning to the Indian Racetrack, I took a short connector trail to the Pacific Crest Trail and followed it for awhile to the south.

Indian Heaven remains one of the prettiest late summer and autumn areas near Portland.

Shallow Lake on the edge of the Indian Racetrack

Many mushrooms along the trail

The Indian Racetrack

Volcanic rock near summit

Huckleberry leaves picking up their autumn colors

Trail from PCT to the Indian Racetrack

Beargrass lining the upper trail

Early morning sunshine filtering through the trees

An old wilderness sign

Rough trail to Red Mountain

Mt. Adams from Red Mountain (on a much prettier day on a previous hike)

Categories: Washington Cascades HikesTags: ,

3 comments

  1. I love the drizzly and overcast days, even for hiking. These pictures seem very ethereal with the lower lying clouds and mists that threaten to hazily obscure the tree tops and the pathway to where? No matter, I want to go! Beautiful shots, John – these have made my day!

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