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Primrose Path

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

User sign marks start of route
Older map showing the original route
  • Start Point: Devil's Rest
  • End Point: Trail #415
  • Trail Log:
  • Hike Type: Connector trail
  • Distance: .7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 800 feet
  • High Point: 2,424 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: Early spring through late fall
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Crowded: No


The Primrose Path, also known as the Primrose Trail, is a historic user-maintained trail that was listed on maps and in guidebooks as recently as the early 1980s. The trail begins at the summit of Devil's Rest, leading off from the east side of the summit and following a steep ridge downhill until it meets trail #415, the connector between Angel's Rest and Wahkeena Spring.

The Primrose is unique in that it's one of the few trails in the area with an outstanding view. A rock outcropping at 1946 feet affords 180 degree views of the river below, the cliffs of Cape Horn, Hamilton and Table Mountains and the Bonneville Dam complex.

Dropping down from Devil's Rest, there is no clearly defined trail and the route can be something of a bushwhack as this section crosses through thick stands of Oregon Grape and then encounters a wide swath of salmonberry and Devil's Club. The route then descends on a conifer ridge through fairly open wooded terrain until merging with an old logging road. From here, the Primrose follows the old road until it ends, becoming a narrow but well-defined path cutting through stands of small alder and small conifers. At 1946 feet the path opens onto a rock outcropping with outstanding views of the Gorge. From here, the Primrose follows a rocky ridge downhill until reaching trail #415.

The path from #415 to the rocky overlook is strenuous but easy to navigate. Past this point, the Primrose requires good route finding and off-trail skills. There is often no clear tread and the route is not signed or marked.

The expression Primrose Path was coined by Shakespeare in Hamlet. The reference to a "steep and thorny way" describes at least one small section of this trail.

Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede.


View from rocky outcropping
The lower Primrose is narrow
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.