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Cairn Basin

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mt Hood from Cairn Basin (Tom Kloster)
Cairn Basin Shelter (Jeff Black)
Lupine blooming in late August (Steve Hart)
This sign points out the upper end of the Eden park Trail, just west of the shelter (Steve Hart)
Looking north from one of the nearby meadows (Steve Hart)


Cairn Basin, home of a shelter and several campsites, is on the north side of Mount Hood, between McNeil Point and Wy'East Basin. It is 4.7 miles from the Top Spur Trailhead if you go via the face of Bald Mountain, 4.1 miles if you go direct, and 4.2 miles from the Vista Ridge Trailhead. The shelter is open on one side, there's a fireplace with chimney, and though the roof drips when it's raining, it's still a good place to keep in mind in stormy weather.

Unlike Elk Cove or Wy'East Basin, Cairn Basin is mostly timbered, if sparsely. The widely spaced trees create enough openness for camping, but enough shelter to break the wind. There are meadows on both sides of the timbered camping area that bloom in late July and August, with several species blooming at once.

The Timberline-Eden Park Loop Junction is just 100 feet or so west of the shelter. Since the 2011 Dollar Lake Fire, this junction has been unmarked. It is on the east bank of the little stream that runs behind the shelter.

This is a popular camping spot in the summer, but it's a big enough area so you're not on top of each other. If it's really busy, try going to the left (northwest) or keep going to the other end and go left (northwest). Another possibility is to take the trail to the right, up past the shelter, some distance from the other sites.

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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.

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