Cairn Basin & Owl Point

  • Easy (to Owl Point)
  • 4.8 miles round trip
  • 650 feet elevation gain
  • Open mid-July through October


  • Moderate (to Cairn Basin)
  • 7.9-mile loop
  • 1700 feet elevation gain

Since a 2011 wildfire burned through the forests high on Mt. Hood’s scenic north face, the Vista Ridge Trail now offers two interesting options: either climb through the burn to the spectacular alpine wildflower vales at Cairn Basin, or avoid the burn altogether, hiking away from the mountain to views at Owl Point.

From Portland, drive ...If you opt for the easier hike through unburned woods to Owl Point, turn left. Blue huckleberry bushes line the route with fruit in August. The path climbs a mile along the ridgecrest before you get your first viewpoint of Mt. Hood, on a 20-foot spur to a clifftop to the right …

Carin Basin is a featured Wildflower Hike that is at its best from mid-July to through October.


This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington.