Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge

AreaWillamette Valley
Best time to visitMay
Blooming NowYES
Elevation260-414 feet
Trail Info0.8 mile (or 1.4 mile) round-trip, 160 feet elevation gain
 Hike information - Oregon Hikers Field Guide
DogsPROHIBITED. Please respect this location by leaving your dog at home.

NOTE: The blue marker indicates the trailhead.


Located in the Willamette Valley ten miles west of Salem, Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge was established to provide wintering habitat for geese, particularly the dusky Canadian goose. The Refuge contains riparian, wet prairie, upland prairie, and oak savannah habitats. In particular, the oak savannah habitat supports the largest surviving population of the endangered Fender's blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi), which feeds upon the threatened Kincaid's Lupine (Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii).

In addition to Kincaid's Lupine, the Refuge is home to the following spring wildflowers: the endangered Willamette Daisy (Erigeron decumbens var. decumbens), Golden Paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta), Tolmie's Star Tulip (Calochortus tolmiei), Western Buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), Western Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia var. semiintegrifolia), Spring Gold (Lomatium utriculatum), Small-flowered Prairie Star (Lithophragma parviflorum), Common Camas (Camassia quamash), and the endemic Golden Paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta).

I recommend the trail which leads to the Baskett Butte (formerly known as Mount Baldy) Observation Platform. It climbs a little, but is easy enough for everyone. From the parking area, proceed north. Keep left at a junction in the trail, and climb up the hill. The trail circles around and heads south to the viewing platform, from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Refuge and surrounding area. You will also see a plaque in honor of former Baskett Slough Refuge Manager Rich Guadagno, who was unfortunate enough to be a passenger on the ill-fated United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.

As you return from the Observation Platform, rather than descending the hill and retracing your step, I suggest turning left at the grassy fork in the trail. This is the Baskett Butte Loop Trail, which passes through the oak woods before rejoining the main trail. Here you will see some other types of wildflowers that are not likely to bloom in the prairie. You will also get to see more areas of Kincaid's Lupine along this section of the trail. Plus, if you plan your visit in the early evening, there is a very good chance that you will get a close look at the deer who visit the woods for their nightly pre-sunset snack. The Baskett Butte Loop adds approximately 0.6 mile and a negligible amount of elevation gain/loss to the overall hike.

For more information, visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service web site.


Take Highway 22 west from downtown Salem. Approximately 10 miles after crossing the Willamette River, take the Highway 99 exit (Rickreall/McMinnville). At the top of the exit ramp, turn left onto Highway 99 toward McMinnville. In 1.8 miles, turn left onto Coville Road. Proceed 1.4 miles on this gravel road, and you will see the parking area on your right. There is a pit toilet and a picnic table. The Baskett Butte (a/k/a Mount Baldy) trail starts here.

NOTE: Dogs are not allowed on any trails within the Wildlife Refuge!

Trip Reports

DateSubmitted by
Reports from previous years
05/24/2022Harvey Simmons
03/26/2021Greg Lief
05/01/2019Greg Lief
04/26/2019Greg Lief
05/07/2017Greg Lief
04/27/2015Greg Lief
03/28/2015Greg Lief
05/07/2013Greg Lief
05/23/2010Greg Lief
05/02/2008Greg Lief
05/19/2007Greg Lief
05/13/2007Greg Lief
04/27/2007Greg Lief

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Photo Gallery

Cat's Ear Lily at Baskett Butte

Fender's blue butterflies upon Kincaid's Lupine

Lupine at Baskett Slough Wildlife Refuge

Fender's Blue Butterfly

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'Wildflowers don`t care where they grow.' -- Dolly Parton