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Pioneer Woman's Grave Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The pioneer woman's grave site next to the old Mt. Hood Highway (now FR 3531) (bobcat)
Looking down the wagon route at Barlow Pass (bobcat)
View to Mt. Hood, Grave Trail (bobcat)
Log bridge, Grave Trail (bobcat)
The trail to the grave site from Barlow Pass (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Barlow Pass TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Pioneer Woman's Grave
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 465 feet
  • High Point: 4,160 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Description

In 1924, workers constructing the Mt. Hood Highway discovered, hidden under debris and brush, the grave of an unnamed woman from the era of the Oregon Trail. The remains were reinterred by the side of the highway and now a pile of stones with various offerings marks the site. This short hike takes you down a section of the Barlow Road, a toll road constructed in 1846 and used by Oregon Trail wagon parties to cross the Cascades. The old wagon route, which went straight up and down steep slopes is still there among pockets of big old growth trees and a full-on view of Mount Hood. This short hike can be combined with any of the other hikes departing from the Barlow Pass Trailhead and is also a great snowshoe excursion in the winter.

From the west side of the parking area, hike down what is an old road bed in mountain hemlock/silver fir/Douglas-fir slope forest. A sign designates this the route of the Barlow Road. Soon come to a small sign that indicates the “original wagon route” heading straight down the hill where the old motor vehicle road veers left. To experience hiking in the rut created by the passage of wagons, walk directly down the slope. Small trees have fallen over the route, so you might need to clamber a little before rejoining the road track.

Go right and keep descending gently. The road bed switchbacks to the left and then levels in a shady woodland of western red-cedar, silver fir, and mountain hemlock. Pass two large cedars on your left and then reach a grove of massive Douglas-firs. Keep following the eroded, rocky track as it descends until it levels in a carpet of vanilla leaf and twin flower. Huckleberry bushes form the understory. Pass another big Douglas-fir. Wind down again and then wade through the huckleberries to your right to get a view of Mount Hood.

Soon the trail departs the road bed to the right and crosses a rotting log footbridge over a creek to descend to a bottomland of cedar, Douglas-fir, and western hemlock. A path departing to the right is the Beaver Marsh Ski Trail, which loops around a clearcut. Rejoin the old road bed and wagon route in this shady grove and soon emerge in a clearing next to the FR 3531 road, the former route of the Mt. Hood Highway. Across from the clearing is the site of the Pioneer Woman's Grave with its plaque and interpretive sign.

For more Oregon Trail memorabilia, walk 60 yards down to where the road crosses the East Fork Salmon River. Past the river sign, find a trail leading off into the trees on the right. There’s an old Barlow Road sign on a tree and you will come to one of the best-preserved wagon tracks in the area. To cross the river, emigrant wagons cut a rut up the bank and piled stones to make for smoother passage.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Pioneer Woman’s Grave Trail #485 (USFS)
  • Green Trails Maps: Mount Hood, OR #462
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Hood River Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Hiking Mount Hood National Forest by Marcia Sinclair
  • Oregon: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Best Short Hikes in Northwest Oregon by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Hikes & Walks on Mt. Hood by Sonia Buist & Emily Keller
  • Hiking Oregon’s History by William L. Sullivan

More Links


Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.