[Wildflower Bloom in Central and Eastern Oregon: 2016]

Wildflowers of Spanish Peak via Road 3800-200

From the trailhead for the Ochoco Mountains Trail #823 to the summit of Spanish Peak

Ochoco National Forest

September 25, 2016

View east up the John Day River drainage towards the Aldrich and Strawberry Mountains from Spanish Peak......September 25, 2016.

The view east from the summit of Spanish. Road 3800-200 comes to a trailhead at center with a trail headed west for a southern approach, or one can hike Road 3800-200 (driveable with high clearance vehicles with good tires and a good low gear) from the east. Ochoco National Forest.........June 14, 2015. Sheep Rock and Picture Rock Gorge (John Day Fossil Beds NM) are behind the mountain mahogany at left. In the distance at right are respectively, Aldrich Mt., Fields Peak, Canyon Mt, Strawberry Mt and the north half of the Monument Rock Wilderness. On the north side of the John Day Valley one can pick out Dixie Butte and the Greenhorn and Elkhorn Mountains. The towns of Mount Vernon, John Day and Prairie City were all observable from this vantage point.

Weather: Temperatures in the 60s in the morning climbing to the low 70s by the afternoon. The morning saw clear skies with a light wind that persisted all day long which made the hike comfortable. The sky was incredibly clear, affording views northwest to Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood and to the west to South Sister looming over Lookout Mt. To the southwest we could see Newberry Crater and Pine Mountain, to the south the Hampton and Glass Buttes, to the southeast Snow Mountain loomed over the horizon, and to the east we could see nearby Aldrich Mt., Fields Peak, Canyon Mt., Strawberry Mt. and the north end of the Monument Rock Wilderness as well as Dixie Butte. The Greenhorn Mts. were far off to the northeast with part of the Elkhorns beyond them. The Simcoe Mts in Klickitat County could be seen to the north. Sheep Rock and Picture Rock Gorge in the John Day Fossil Fossil Beds NM were clearly visible downhill several miles to the northeast.

Spanish Peak is found near the northeastern edge of the Ochoco National Forest, or just northwest of the Black Canyon Wilderness. It is several miles west of the South Fork John Day River. There are a number of trails here, although an old access road worked for us when road 3800-200 was blocked by downed trees about one mile uphill from the junction with road 3800. Few hikers and campers appear to use the area, and ATV traffic seems to be light (on the roads).

Ochoco Mt. Trail #823 extending east from Spanish Peak, Ochoco National Forest......September 25, 2016. - Ochoco Mt. Trail #823 extending west towards Rock Creek from Spanish Peak, Ochoco National Forest.......September 25, 2016.

Spanish Peak from about one mile away on Road 3800-200, Ochoco National Forest......September 2, 2016. - Spanish Peak with mountain mahogany trees from about one-half mile from the summit, Ochoco National Forest.......September 25, 2016.

View west along the northern edge of the Ochoco Mts towards Rock Lake and with Mount Pisgah, Round Mt. Lookout Mt. and Big Summit Prairie towards the horizon, Ochoco National Forest......September 25, 2016. -

We parked on FS Road #3800-200 about 2 miles from the summit of Spanish Peak where the Ochoco Mountain Trail #823 crosses. We then hiked up the road (driveable to the summit with high clearance vehicle with good tires and low gear, Subaru Forester and Outback probably okay). The first two photos show the Ochoco Mountain Trail #823 signage at the trailhead. The eastern segment of the trail descends through forest and open balds to the Cottonwood Trailhead near the north forest boundary on Road #3850. The western segment of the trail descends westward towards Rock Creek or to the Mascall Corral (Trail #822). The Rock Creek Trailhead is a 12 mile hike. One could do this as a through hike, although its about a 35 minute drive between trailheads. The middle pair of photos show Spanish Peak from one mile and one-half mile away, respectively.The lowest photo looks west from the summit down into the lower Rock Creek drainage with Rock Creek Lake (private) visible. On the horizon from left to right are Lookout Mt., Round Mt., Mount Pisgah and the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds NM is hidden at the horizon at right. Ochoco National Forest.........September 25, 2016.

* indicates the wildflower is currently in bloom.

California White Fir: Abies concolor x Abies grandis

Western Juniper: Juniperus occidentalis

Ponderosa Pine: Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa

Douglas Fir: Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii

Quaking Aspen: Populus tremuloides - Beginning to change color.

Orchard Grass: Dactylis glomerata

Bottlebrush Squirreltail: Elymus elymoides (var. elymoides or hordeoides ?)

Idaho Fescue: Festuca idahoensis

Bulbous Bluegrass: Poa bulbosa

Bluegrass: Poa secunda

Tapertip Onion: Allium accuminatum

Yellow Bells: Fritillaria pudica - Pods ripening.

California False Hellebore: Veratrum (californicum var. californicum ?)

Parsnipflower Buckwheat: Eriogonum heracleoides var. heracleoides

* Bicolor Sulfur Flower Buckwheat: Eriogonum umbellatum var. dicrocephalum - Most plants past bloom.

Mountain Sandwort: Eremogone capillaris var. americana

Western Columbine: Aquilegia formosa

Creeping Oregon Grape: Berberis repens

Wormleaf Stonecrop: Sedum stenopetalum

Daggerpods: Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides

Roundleaf Alumroot: Heuchera cylindrica var. alpina

Wax Currant: Ribes cereum var. cereum

Mountain Currant: Ribes montigenum

Mountain Mahogany: Cercocarpus ledifolius var. intermontanus

Nevada Cinquefoil: Drymocallis lactea var. lactea ?

Prairie Smoke: Geum triflorum var. ciliatum

Bittercherry: Prunus emarginata var. emarginata - Berries ripening.

North American Red Raspberry: Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus ? - Atop Spanish Peak summit on north-facing cliffs.

Rocky Mountain Mountain Ash: Sorbus scopulina - Leaves turning bright red.

Whitney's Balloon Milkvetch: Astragalus whitneyi var. sonneanus

Broadleaf Lupine: Lupinus latifolius var. latifolius ?

Silky Lupine: Lupinus sericeus ?

Oregon Boxwood: Paxistima myrsinites

* Snow Brush: Ceanothus velutinus var. velutinus

* Tall Annual Willowherb: Epilobium brachycarpum

Spreading Groundsmoke: Gayophytum diffusum

Large-fruit Desert Parsley: Lomatium macrocarpum

Western Sweet Cicely: Osmorhiza occidentalis ?

Large-flowered Collomia: Collomia grandiflora

Harkness' Linanthus: Leptosiphon harknessii

Mountain Navarretia: Navarretia divaricata

Hood's Phlox: Phlox hoodii ssp. canescens

Purple Phacelia: Phacelia hastata var. alpina

Blue Stickseed: Hackelia micrantha

Nettleleaf Horsemint: Agastache urticifolia

Western Mountain Balm: Monardella odoratissima

Shrubby Penstemon: Penstemon fruticosus var. fruticosus - Crest of north-facing cliffs at the summit.

English Plantain: Plantago lanceolata

Black Elderberry: Sambucus racemosa var. melanocarpa

Mountain Snowberry: Symphoricarpos oreophilus var. utahensis ?

* Yarrow: Achillea millefolium - Mostly past bloom.

Low Sagebrush: Artemisia arbuscula ssp. arbuscula

Western Mugwort: Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. candicans

Mountain Big Sagebrush: Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana

Canada Thistle: Cirsium arvense

* Rabbitbrush Goldenweed: Ericameria bloomeri

* Rubber Rabbitbrush: Ericameria nauseosa var. oreophila

Yellow Desert Fleabane: Erigeron linearis

* Showy Fleabane: Erigeron speciosus - Fading out of bloom.

Rocky Mountain Sunflower: Helianthella uniflora var. douglasii

Mountain Tarweed: Madia glomerata

Western Groundsel: Senecio integerrimus var. exaltatus

Tall Butterweed: Senecio serra

* Meadow Goldenrod: Solidago elongata

Common Dandelion: Taraxacum officinale

Oyster Plant: Tragopogon dubius

Animals Observed During This Hike:

Elk - tracks

Coopers Hawk


Red-tailed Hawk

Common Raven

Mountain Bluebirds

Western Bluebirds

American Pipit - Summit of Spanish Peak

Dark-eyed Juncos

Golden-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Yellow-rumped Warblers


Milbert's Tortoiseshells

Ochre Ringlet

Juba Skippers

Paul Slichter