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Difference between revisions of "Paradise Park via Burnt Lake Hike"

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

(Add links)
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=== More Links ===
=== More Links ===
* [https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mthood/recarea/?recid=72007  Burnt Lake Trail #772 (USFS)]
* [https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mthood/recarea/?recid=53646  Zigzag Mountain Trail #775 (USFS)]
* [https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mthood/recarea/?recid=53586  Paradise Park Trail #778 (USFS)]
* [https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mthood/recarea/?recid=53448  Paradise Park Loop Trail #757 (USFS)]
* [https://wanderingyuncks.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/burnt-lake-to-paradise-park-overnight/  Burnt Lake to Paradise Park Overnight (wanderingyuncks)]

Revision as of 18:09, 14 March 2020

Mt. Hood from Paradise Park (bobcat)
Mt. Hood and Burnt Lake (bobcat)
Split Rock, Paradise Park (bobcat)
The Burnt Lake and Zizag Mountain Trails to Paradise Park (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: North Burnt Lake TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Paradise Park
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and back
  • Distance: 15.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3400 feet
  • High point: 5,855 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Seasons: July - November
  • Family Friendly: No
  • Backpackable: Yes
  • Crowded: At Burnt Lake and Paradise Park


Hike Description

There are easier ways to get to Paradise Park - from Timberline Lodge or on the Paradise Park Trail - but if you're looking for a long hike on a trail with few people (once you pass Burnt Lake), try this. Also, in the early summer, when there is too much snow to go from Timberline Lodge, this route might work. You'll pass a waterfall, stop at a serene mountain lake, and get splendid ridge top views from wildflower meadows before hiking up through montane forest to reach Paradise Park.

The Burnt Lake Trail #772 begins wide and gentle on an old road track in a lush forest that was burned over in the late 19th century. Start to the right of the trail sign, where you pass through a stile. The principal tree cover here is Douglas-fir, western hemlock, silver fir and vine maple. Review the map board and sign in at the wilderness permit box. Burnt Lake Creek runs down to the right and is shaded by red-cedar. Large, scorched stumps, mainly cedars, are all that remain of the magnificent old-growth forest. Lady fern, devil's club, sword fern, starry solomon plume, oxalis, and bunchberry form a lush groundcover. Gradually ascend. A spur to the right leads down to a tributary of Burnt Lake Creek. Cross the creek after this and round another large cedar snag. Then, cross several small creeks using plank walks. Another spur to the left leads down into the Lost Creek valley for views from the top of multi-tiered Lost Creek Falls and a campsite. To get a head-on view of the falls requires more of a scramble and bushwhack to the creek bed.

The trail switchbacks up from here and makes a traverse, crossing a creek and then becomes a long gradual ascent. Brooklets gush from springs above the trail. The path dips to cross a creek reeking of skunk-cabbage. The trail crosses a plank bridge and enters a Sitka alder clearing. Cross Burnt Lake Creek and head up to Burnt Lake, keeping right. At a spot marked B, No Camping Here, one can go left to the shore and get a classic view of Mount Hood reflected in the still waters. The montane forest encircling the lake is composed of silver fir, cedar, hemlock, Sitka alder and mountain ash. The trail heads up to a junction with the circular path around the lake. You can take this path, which is very brushy in spots, around Burnt Lake to reach other designated campsites. There are at least five small tarns in the vicinity of the lake: the largest, reached by a short, brushy bushwhack, are at the foot of a talus slope just southeast of the lake.

Continuing on the Burnt Lake Trail, pass a campsite and then a small tarn on the left. The trail drops to cross Burnt Lake Creek and reaches the bottom of a slope. You'll traverse up to the left and then make a couple of switchbacks. Hike through dark woods and cross an open wet meadow before traversing up to the right. The trail switchbacks under mountain hemlock, noble fir, and lodgepole pine. A spur leads right to a view of Mount Hood. Then you'll make four more switchbacks and come to the signposted junction with the Zigzag Mountain Trail #775 at mile 4.2. Make sure and remember where you came from for the return trip: the turn would be easy to miss.

From the junction, go left (east). There is a spot to camp on the Zigzag Mountain Trail in about 0.1 miles. It's not much more than a flat area next to the trail, but there are some views. At mile 4.9 (4900') there is an amazing view of Mount Hood and Paradise Park. At about mile 5.6 (4600 feet) is Lady Creek Saddle. There's no drinking water, but you can find a couple places where you could camp. At mile 6.6 (5050') are two drinking water streams.

At mile 7.0 (5050 feet) is the junction with the Paradise Park Trail. Go left (up) on the Paradise Park Trail, making sure you take a good look where you are coming from so you don't get lost on the way back. At mile 7.2 (5280 feet) is the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, where you'll keep going straight. Next, at mile 7.8 (5750 feet) is the junction with the Paradise Park Loop Trail. Go left here, again remembering where you came from. You are now in Paradise Park, one of the nicest alpine areas on Mount Hood.

This tread winds up and then traverses and then descends to the South Fork of Lost Creek Crossing in a lovely flower-filled valley. Heading up, you come a campsite area and the site of the now-destroyed Paradise Park Cabin. Keep right here and traverse (Going down from the campsite to the left will only take you to more campsites). False hellebore blooms luxuriantly on these slopes in summer. Make the North Fork of Lost Creek Crossing, and pass along open slopes of pyroclastic material to see Split Rock up to your right before stepping over another creek. The west face of Mount Hood, including Mississippi Head and the Zigzag Glacier, looms above. Open meadows here bloom with mariposa, false hellebore, lupine, paintbrush, partridge foot, and knotweed. Towhead babies, the seed heads of pasque flower, stud the grasslands later in the summer. Ahead, one can see the verdant spine of Yocum Ridge. Find a place to camp, turn back, or continue on the loop to return via the Pacific Crest Trail to the Pacific Crest-Paradise Park Trail Junction.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Government Camp, OR #461 and Mt Hood, OR #462
  • Adventure Maps: Mt. Hood Area
  • 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
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Mount Hood Wilderness

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Northwest Forest Pass (or America the Beautiful Pass) required.
  • Port-a-potty at trailhead
  • Self-issued wilderness permit
  • Wilderness rules apply

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

More Links


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.