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Jackpot Meadow Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Jackpot Meadow, Jackpot Meadows Trail (bobcat)
Mud Creek ravine, Jackpot Meadows Trail (bobcat)
Salmon River, Jackpot Meadows Trail (bobcat)
Blue chanterelle (Polyozellus multiplex), Jackpot Meadows Trail (bobcat)
The hike to Jackpot Meadow (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Salmon River East TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Jackpot Meadow
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 6.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1140 feet
  • High Point: 3,825 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No



The Jackpot Meadows Trail serves as a little-used connector between the Salmon River Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. It descends to cross the Salmon River at a quiet and rarely visited spot, and then rises to the meadows themselves, once a venue for cattle grazing. The meadow is the usual turnaround for day hikers, but the trail continues to cross paved FR 58 and join the Pacific Crest Trail 2.3 miles north of Little Crater Lake. This is a good hike for early summer, to catch the blooming rhododendrons, or in fall, when vine maple lights up the talus slopes and the meadows burn golden. Note, however, that in early summer, the trail near Jackpot Meadow is often a flowing stream of water and mosquitoes are ravenous and profuse!

The Jackpot Meadows Trail #492 begins from the road near the trailhead. Do not hike down behind the information sign – this leads to a trashy campsite and hunters' trails that lead off and gradually disappear into the undergrowth. From the road, drop down past the trail sign through rhododendrons and bear-grass in noble fir, mountain hemlock, western white pine, western red-cedar, and silver fir woods. Oregon boxwood and lupine verge the trail. Enter dense woods on the level, and then pass a large cedar before the trail veers right to make a descending traverse. Switchback at an andesite outcrop. You can do a little scramble here to view Mud Creek flowing through a scree-lined valley. The trail traverses down, crossing a talus slope supporting some old Douglas-firs and switchbacks once more to reach a footbridge over the Salmon River.

The route heads left and passes a campsite among huckleberry bushes. Traverse up and switchback twice before making another long traverse. Switchback four times to a ridge crest, and then hike at the level to cross a dark, mossy creek. Cross the 240 spur road, and walk on flat ground to reach the rocky bed of Jackpot Meadow Creek in a spiraea thicket. Hike through boggy woods, noting some burned snags. Reach an old road bed, and go right to view Jackpot Meadow itself.

You can continue on the road bed to a large camp before resuming the trail to cross the 241 spur road at a shattered signpost. The trail rises gradually to cross FR 58 and skirt the slopes of Basin Butte before joining the Pacific Crest Trail.

According to McArthur and McArthur’s Oregon Geographic Names, Jackpot Meadow was so named because “after periods of wet weather it was easy to get into and hard to get out of.”

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • none


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: High Rock, OR #493
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Zigzag Ranger District
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain

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.