Palisade Point via Fret Creek Hike
From Portland Hikers Field Guide
- Start point: Fret Creek Trailhead
- End Point: Palisade Point
- Trail Log: Trail Log
- Hike Type: In and out
- Distance: 4.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,325 feet
- High Point: 5,822 feet
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Seasons: Late Spring through Fall
- Family Friendly: Yes
- Backpackable: Yes: connects with trails in the Badger Creek Wilderness
- Crowded: No
This short hike takes you directly into the Badger Creek Wilderness along a trail brimming with huckleberries in late summer and up to some spectacular formations overlooking the heart of the wilderness area. There are also options to extend the hike to Lookout Mountain or Flag Point.
The Fret Creek Trail #456A begins across the road from the parking pullout. Enter the Badger Creek Wilderness immediately. There is no sign-in register. It’s a dry forest of Engelmann spruce, silver fir, noble fir, western white pine, and western larch with a carpet of grouseberry and huckleberry. Fret Creek runs to your left as you rise rather steeply at first on a dusty track that sees some horse use. The trail then drops across the creek on a footbridge. In this area, you can find some luscious huckleberries. Take time to investigate some of the huge old growth larches, some of the biggest you will see in our area. The trail rises gently and recrosses the creek on a footbridge. The tread levels as you cross a creek on a footbridge and walk over a boggy patch. Head up again and recross Fret Creek on its third footbridge. Now the trail rises steeply past some large mountain hemlocks. Pay a visit to Oval Lake with its mantle of sedges down to the left. After seeing the lake, rise again through dusty penstemon meadows to reach the Fret Creek-Divide Trail Junction.
Go left here and make a rising traverse above the forested bench below. There are two rocky switchbacks before you reach the ridge. There are at least three access points through mats of pinemat manzanita to the rock outcrops of Palisade Point. Contorted whitebark pines sprout from the weathered andesite. There are interesting needle formations below and a view east to more rocks and the Flag Point Lookout. Head west to another palisade and scramble up to a view of a natural arch here and view down to Oval Lake. You can scramble up steeply to the top and see Mt. Hood peeking over Lookout Mountain. The whole Badger Creek valley is below as is the tip of Badger Lake. When you've had your fill of the views, return the way you came, or head west to Lookout Mountain or east to Flag Point.
Fees, Regulations, etc.
Green Trails Maps: Flag Point, OR #463
Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Barlow Ranger District
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Columbia Wilderness and Badger Creek Wilderness
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Related Discussions / Q&A
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Guidebooks that cover this destination
100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington by William L. Sullivan
One Night Wilderness: Portland by Douglas Lorain
- bobcat (primary)