Vista Ridge Trail to Cairn Basin is a 7.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Rhododendron, Oregon that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Hood River: Travel south on Highway 281 for approximately 13 miles. Turn right at the sign for Dee/Lost Lake. Immediately bear left, following signs for Lost Lake. After eight miles, turn left onto Road 18 (Lolo Pass) and continue for an additional three miles. Turn left again on road 16. After 5.5 miles, turn right onto Road 1650 and follow to the trailhead. Caution: the last 0.5 mile of road is very rough.
We did this yesterday. Overall a great day hike with excellent views. Not sure how long ago it burned but the first couple miles are through the burned area. It certainly opened up the views though. We went up the ridge to the Cairn trail junction then via that trail to the Cairn cabin. I don't know the name of the creek but you have to cross it twice on this route. It was rushing pretty good but not too serious a crossing. That could change of course according to temps, snow etc. I would give this more of a moderate rating rather than difficult.. well depending on the crossings I suppose.
This will always and forever be a favorite hike. Solitude (although can be crowded on the weekends), varying landscapes and a great place to camp for the night. The views are breathtaking, and it's a fairly easy hike with some steep climbs and descents.
Started at Vista Ridge to Cairn Basin. Climbed a steep snowy hill to he base of Mount Hood...Maybe got a little off the trail? or its not very prominent. Beautiful views, crowded parking lot but not the trail. Bring the dog!
Nice trail once the snow is gone. First hike was July 28th ran into snow fields and followed the pink ribbons up to the trail junction with Carin Basin which was clear until we hit too much snow again and turned around. Continued up Vista Ridge to the next trail junction which was the Timberline Trail, first went west and hit snow (some of which was still there on our second trip in September). Turned around and headed East on the TT and hit large snowfields in the draws which were just too hazardous for us to continue. Second trip September 15th went much better with the flowers still in bloom but not at their peak. The parking lot is very small!!! for the number of people who find the trailhead. In July we ended up parking the pickup back down the hill. When we arrived at the parking lot there wasn't even a spot to turn around and the road is too narrow therefore we backed down the hill for about half a mile.
Hiked Vista Ridge today. It was fantastic. 7 mile round trip with amazing views of MT Hood and Adams. Saw about 10 people total. Fantastic day. Took a while to get to trail head from Portland and the roads had a lot of washboards. But great hike.