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Palisade Point via Fret Creek Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to Palisade Point and on to Badger Lake (bobcat)
Old growth larch on Fret Creek Trail (bobcat)
Oval Lake from Palisade Point (bobcat)
Arch formation at Palisade Point (bobcat)
The hike to Palisade Point (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: National Geographic Topo
  • Start point: Fret Creek TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Palisade Point
  • Hike type: In and out
  • Distance: 4.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,325 feet
  • High point: 5,822 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Late spring into fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: Yes: camp at Oval Lake
  • Crowded: No



This short hike takes you directly into the Badger Creek Wilderness along a trail brimming with huckleberries in late summer and up to the spectacular formations at Palisade Point overlooking the heart of the wilderness area. There are also options to extend the hike to Lookout Mountain or Flag Point.

The Fret Creek Trail #456A begins across the road from the parking pullout. You'll be entering the Badger Creek Wilderness immediately, but there is no sign-in register. It’s a dry forest of Engelmann spruce, silver fir, noble fir, western white pine, and western larch with a carpet of grouseberry and huckleberry. Fret Creek runs to your left as you rise rather steeply at first on a dusty track that sees some horse use. The trail then drops across the creek on a footbridge. In this area, you can find some luscious huckleberries. Take time to investigate some of the huge old growth larches, some of the biggest you will see in our area. The trail rises gently and recrosses the creek on a footbridge. Then the tread levels as you cross a creek on a footbridge and walk over a boggy patch. Head up again and recross Fret Creek on its third footbridge. Now the trail rises steeply past some large mountain hemlocks. Pay a visit to Oval Lake, with its mantle of sedges, down to the left. After seeing the lake, rise again through dusty penstemon meadows to reach the Fret Creek-Divide Trail Junction.

Go left here and make a rising traverse above the forested bench below. There are two rocky switchbacks before you reach the ridge. There are at least three access points through mats of pinemat manzanita to the rock outcrops of Palisade Point. Contorted whitebark pines sprout from the weathered andesite. There are interesting needle formations below and a view east to more rocks and the Flag Point Lookout. Head west to another palisade and scramble up to a view of a natural arch while also getting a look back down to Oval Lake. You can scramble up steeply to the top of a rockpile and see Mount Hood peeking over Lookout Mountain. The whole Badger Creek valley is below, including the tip of Badger Lake. When you've had your fill of the views, return the way you came.

Extending Your Hike

From the Fret Creek-Divide Trail Junction you can head west on the Divide Trail to Lookout Mountain. The trail climbs through the forest for 1.6 miles, gaining about 900 feet, before reaching the summit of Lookout Mountain. On a clear day the views include the Three Sisters and Mount Jefferson to the south, Mount Hood to the west, and Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Adams to the north.

Alternatively, you could continue east on the Divide Trail from Palisade Point to Flag Point. The trail descends about 300 feet over 1.2 miles before reaching road 200. Turn right on the road and hike 0.8 miles to the lookout tower, which is staffed in summer. Be sure to ask permission before climbing the stairs.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Wilderness rules apply


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Flag Point, OR #463
  • Discover Your Northwest: Mt. Hood National Forest North: Trail Map & Hiking Guide
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Mt. Hood National Forest
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Barlow Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Columbia Wilderness and Badger Creek Wilderness
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • Adventure Maps: Hood River, Oregon, Trail Map
  • Adventure Maps: 44 Trails Area plus the best of the G.P.N.F.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Off the Beaten Trail by Matt Reeder
  • 100 Hikes: Northwest Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • One Night Wilderness: Portland by Douglas Lorain
  • Hiking Oregon's Mount Hood & Badger Creek Wilderness by Fred Barstad
  • 105 Virtual Hikes of the Mt. Hood National Forest by Northwest Hiker
  • A Guide to the Trails of Badger Creek by Ken and Ruth Love

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.