Into the Wilderness: The Indian Racetrack and Red Mountain Summit

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Indian Racetrack

It was a cool and sunny morning on the edge of the Indian Heaven Wilderness. It was the first weekend of fall with heavy, cold winds out of the east.

Crimson huckleberry leaves brightened the views in every direction.

Indian Racetrack meadows

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. It 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 4,964′ summit of Red Mountain, the remains of a red cinder cone volcano. There was a rare, standing lookout site at the top.

The summit of Red Mountain is considered one of the best viewpoints in the Southern Washington Cascades. The 360-degree vista overlooks Mt. Rainier and the Indian Heaven Wilderness to the north, Mt. Adams to the east, Mt. Hood to the south and Mount St. Helens to the west.

I laid back out of the wind, ate a snack and savored the vistas of the Indian Heaven Wilderness seemingly at my feet.

Indian Heaven remains one of the prettiest autumn areas to visit near Portland.

Red Mountain

Green Anglewing Butterfly

Red Mountain Lookout

Into the Wilderness (sign-in box for Indian Heaven)

Lodgepole Pines slowly filling in the huge meadows of the Indian Racetrack

Mt. Hood from Red Mountain summit (Whitebark Pine growing at 5,000′)

Mt. Adams behind the Indian Heaven Wilderness (East Crater covered with the impacts of a recent wildfire)

A hazy Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens from summit of Red Mountain

Falls Creek

Entering the large meadows of the Indian Racetrack

A rough, steep trail, but well maintained

Mt. Adams in background




Categories: Washington Cascades HikesTags:


  1. Where does this trail begin, please?

  2. Really enjoy your photos.

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