Portland: Indian Racetrack Trail

This 6.2-mile dayhike leads to the site of the original Kentucky Derby, a centuries-old racetrack tucked into the mountains of Indian Heaven Wilderness.
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This 6.2-mile dayhike leads to the site of the original Kentucky Derby, a centuries-old racetrack tucked into the mountains of Indian Heaven Wilderness.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 5.1

Waypoints

IRT001

Location: 45.9678802490234, -121.846702575684

Head E on Trail 171 into healthy grove of mixed conifers

IRT002

Location: 45.9677543640137, -121.841743469238

Sign trail register, then cross Falls Creek on new log bridge

IRT003

Location: 45.9677963256836, -121.840995788574

Cross into Indian Heaven Wilderness, a 20,000- acre plateau with ancient volcanic cones and crunchy lava runs. Trail becomes super-steep

IRT004

Location: 45.9592247009277, -121.829605102539

Trail levels as fi rs and cedars yield to lodgepole pines with colorful bands of wildfl owers

IRT005

Location: 45.9482307434082, -121.822853088379

Racetrack Lake: A swill of swampy grasses, blue waters, and, on windless days, clouds of bugs

IRT006

Location: 45.9469871520996, -121.822357177734

Turn R. Legend has it that as many as seven Indian tribes used to drag-race horses in this fl at meadow during huckleberry season until the early 1900s. A long track groove still remains

IRT007

Location: 45.9465255737305, -121.822639465332

In a few paces, swing L to continue on Trail 171 to Red Mountain

IRT008

Location: 45.9406852722168, -121.819061279297

Turn L @ sharp R in trail. This short, off-trail section leads up a glassy red pumice slope to knobby overlook

IRT009

Location: 45.9430541992188, -121.819122314453

Photo op: Red lava-rock slopes offer a unique stage to the iconic domes of Mts. Adams, Rainier, and St. Helens. Backtrack to car