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Devils Half Acre-Palmateer Point Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Mt. Hood and Barlow Butte, Palmateer Point (bobcat)
Devils Half Acre Meadow and Palmateer Ridge (bobcat)
Creamy stonecrop (Sedum oregonense), Palmateer Point (bobcat)
Upper Twin Lake with Mt. Hood behind (bobcat)
The loop route described (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Barlow Pass TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End Point: Palmateer Point and/or Upper Twin Lake
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Loop
  • Distance: 8.8 miles or 5.8 miles (shorter version)
  • Elevation gain: 1330 feet
  • High Point: 4,575 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: No



Reserve this pleasant loop for a sunny summer day when you can appreciate the views and the summer wildflower displays. You'll begin on a section of the Barlow Toll Road and pass the Oregon Trail campsite at Devils Half Acre Meadow. Then head up a slope and take in the views and wildflowers at Palmateer Point. The next destination is serene Upper Twin Lake, which also offers a picturesque vista to Mount Hood. The hike back along the Ghost Ridge section of the Pacific Crest Trail follows the divide between the eastern and western drainages south of Mount Hood.

A shorter option, just under six miles, skips Upper Twin Lake. From the Palmateer View-Palmateer Tie Trail Junction south of Palmateer Point, go left and then right when you get to the Twin Lakes Trail. Make another right to reach the Pacific Crest Trail and walk back along Ghost Ridge.

Head across the parking area to the trail junction at the picnic table (with garbage can) and fading ski trail map. Go straight downhill from here on an original track of the old wagon trail. Reach the rough and narrow vehicle road (FR 3530), and descend 40 yards to where the Barlow Butte Trail #670/Mineral Jane Ski Trail branches off to the left. The trail follows the wagon road down into a deep old-growth forest of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, silver fir, and Engelmann spruce. Look for some impressive Douglas-firs here.

Reach the Barlow Butte-Devils Half Acre Trail Junction. It should be noted that this little meadow was the site of an excavation in 1976 during which a number of Oregon Trail artifacts were found. Based on this, some think the meadow was the site of Fort Deposit, mentioned in trail diaries, where a rough cabin once stood, and where late-arriving emigrants, wanting to travel light over the passes, left possessions and wagons for a late spring retrieval.

Keep straight here (left is to Barlow Butte). The trail crosses two small streams and drops gradually on an old road bed among large noble fir, silver fir, and Engelmann spruce. The path levels and crosses more trickling brooks. Enter a lush vine maple, Sitka alder, mertensia, cow parsnip thicket, and come out at the northeast edge of Devils Half Acre Meadow. There’s a red-painted outhouse to the right before you pass a trail sign. Reach the campground access road for the Devils Half Acre Campground: to the right are campsites. Proceed left down the campground road and reach FR 3530. Across the road is the site of the old Barlow Guard Station and a sign about the Oregon Trail (“The Big Deadening”) with a view of the open meadow, which has an apocryphal association with the Oregon Trail. It didn’t exist when Barlow built his road and the first emigrants came through. In fact, the pioneers bewailed the lack of grazing for their stock until they reached Summit Meadows, near Trillium Lake. Over the years, however, emigrants set fires to burn brush and downed trees. Some of these went out of control, and by the 1880s, the area was a swath of blackened snags.

Go right on the road, which crosses over Barlow Creek in a willow/alder thicket. White bog orchids can be found blooming in the meadow here in summer. At the end of the meadow, there’s a road circle and a couple of campsites on the left. The Devils Half Acre Trail #482A resumes up the slope from these campsites.

The trail rises in Engelmann spruce, silver fir, Douglas-fir, noble fir woods and crosses a footbridge. Enter a vine maple thicket and then a lush mertensia meadow with plenty of elk sign. The tread reenters the woods and crosses two creeks. It winds steeply up in dry ridge forest of mountain hemlock, silver fir and lodgepole pine. The grade lessens before the path reaches the four-way Palmateer View-Devils Half Acre Trail Junction. Make a left here (The path straight ahead is an abandoned section of the Palmateer View Trail #482).

The trail drops gradually in huckleberry/lodgepole pine woods, then levels and drops again. Reach a lodgepole pine meadow carpeted with Tolmie’s penstemon and a view of forested Bird Butte. This is the site of Palmateer Camp and the Palmateer View-Palmateer Point Trail Junction. The spur to the top of Palmateer Point leads up to the left. Head up this trail and switchback, passing up along a dry meadow blooming with penstemon and mariposa lilies. At the summit, there are clear views of Mount Hood, Barlow Butte, and the Barlow Creek valley. Sulfur buckwheat, heart-leaf buckwheat, Tolmie’s penstemon, creamy stonecrop, and little sunflower bloom here in the summer among clumps of common juniper and pinemat manzanita.

Returning to the main trail at the Palmateer View-Palmateer Point Trail Junction, make a left. Western white pines become common in the woodland, and you pass a lush bog to the right, the source of Palmateer Creek. The trail crosses the creek and rises past a meadow with a couple of large noble firs. A loop spur to the left takes you to a view of Barlow Ridge. Soon reach the Palmateer View-Palmateer Tie Trail Junction, and keep straight (left) to continue on Trail #482 (For the shorter loop that misses Upper Twin Lake, you can go right here). The trail winds up to an overhanging rock and a view to Barlow Butte and Mount Hood. Rock penstemon and fragrant snow brush are bright summer blooms. Then the trail traverses a steep slope before dropping to the shore of Upper Twin Lake.

At the Twin Lakes-Palmateer View Trail Junction, keep walking to your left (clockwise) around the lake, and soon come to the Twin Lakes-Upper Twin Lake Trail South Junction. Mount Hood’s snowy peak rises above the lakeshore woods. Keep right here on the Upper Twin Lake Trail #533, and follow the shore, passing a couple of camp sites. Reach the Twin Lakes-Upper Twin Lake Trail North Junction, and head up the wide Twin Lakes Trail.

The path switchbacks up to Bird Butte Summit (elev. 4560’) and drops, switchbacking down twice. The trail traverses down and reaches the Twin Lakes-Palmateer Tie Trail Junction. Stay left at this junction for the Pacific Crest Trail. Ascend slightly and then drop gradually in a dense young ridge crest forest of mountain hemlock, silver fir, noble fir, and Douglas-fir. Eventually, wind up gently to the Pacific Crest-Twin Lakes Trail North Junction. A sign gives 1 ½ miles to Barlow Pass.

Turn right at the junction. The Pacific Crest Trail rises and then drops gently below the crest of Ghost Ridge in a coniferous woodland of at least six species. Pass the Pacific Crest-Palmateer View Trail Junction, and begin a slow rise from here. Then descend in a long traverse. The trail levels long the ridge crest and then drops again. Reach the ski trail sign at Barlow Pass, and go left to the parking area.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required
  • Port-a-potty and picnic table at the trailhead


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • Oregon: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon by Eli Boschetto (PCT section)

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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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