Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Hiking Guide Indian Racetrack

Indian Racetrack

South Cascades > Mount Adams Area
46.1298, -121.8392 Map & Directions
5.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
700 feet
Highest Point
5,200 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Good for kids
  • Lakes
Saved to My Backpack

Visit an ancient recreation area where the local tribes once harvested food during the day and competed in horse races for after-work entertainment. Continue reading

3.33 out of 5

(6 votes) Log in to rate

Hiking Indian Racetrack

Visit an ancient recreation area where the local tribes once harvested food during the day and competed in horse races for after-work entertainment.

This enjoyable out-and-back trail begins with a gentle descent through alternating conifer forest and open meadows on Red Mountain’s north flank, to a healthier descent between two unnamed buttes. Just remember, what goes down, eventually has to come back up.

After a steady descent for one mile, the trail levels out on the sloping flanks of Berry Mountain at a small lake and trail junction. To view the racetracks, take the left fork and head northward through grassy, wide-open meadows. The fork right proceeds 0.75 mile east to connect with the PCT, which heads north and traverses Berry Mountain.

To get a closer look at the rutted tracks, where the pounding hooves of racing horse once thundered, venture into the meadows — but be sure not to disturb the tracks. Once you’ve imagined the raucous scene of exhilarated horseback riders racing across the meadows, snapped a photo or two, and are ready to return, retrace your steps to the small lake and make the climb back to the trailhead.

WTA Pro Tip: Once you're back at the trailhead, venture a few hundred yards to the end of the road to see the Red Mountain Lookout, one of the last remaining manned lookouts in Washington.

From the lookout, take in panoramic views of glacier-clad peaks in two states: Mounts Adams and St. Helens in Washington, and Mount Hood in Oregon. Closer in, hikers can see the Big Lava Bed and a variety of cinder cones, most notably The Wart.

WTA worked here in 2014 and 2013!

Hike Description Written by
Eli Boschetto, WTA Community

Indian Racetrack

Map & Directions

Co-ordinates: 46.1298, -121.8392 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

From Carson, drive north 5.6 miles on Wind River Road. Turn right on Panther Creek Road (FR-65) and continue 11.3 miles to the junction with FR-60. Veer right onto FR-60 and proceed 1.6 miles, then take a left onto FR-6048. Proceed for 4 miles to the trailhead at the hairpin turn near the end of the road. If the gate on FR-6048 is closed, park near the gate, but do not block, and proceed 3 miles up the road on foot to the trailhead. Parking at the gate adds 6 miles roundtrip to your hike.

More Hike Details


South Cascades > Mount Adams Area

Indian Race Track (#171)

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount Adams Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: South Cascades (Nelson - Mountaineers Books)

Green Trails No. 365 Mount Lone Butte

Green Trails No. 397 Wind River

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry!

Indian Racetrack

18 Trip Reports

Hiked here recently?

Submit a trip report!
Trip Reports