[Wildflower Bloom in Central and Eastern Oregon: 2017]

Silver Creek Marsh Campground

Fremont-Winema National Forest

April 30, 2017

Blooming antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) at the entrance to Silver Creek Marsh Campground, Fremont-Winema National Forest...........May 20, 2016.

Blooming antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) at the entrance to Silver Creek Marsh Campground, Fremont-Winema National Forest...........May 20, 2016.

Directions: From Silver Lake, Oregon, head west on Oregon Highway 31. Turn left (south) onto Forest Road #27 about 0.3 miles west of the turnoff to the Ranger Station. Road #27 heads south across sagebrush lowlands on a bumpy road due to frost heaving. You will want to drive no faster than 30 mph until those disappear! You will see the signed entrance to the Silver Creek Marsh Campground on the left about 10.4 miles south of Highway 31. The campground doesn't appear to be heavily used (except perhaps during holiday weekends, and when local backcountry horse groups gather there - check the ranger station to see if they know of heavy use times). Nightly rates are $6 per night. There are two vault toilets and potable water from Memorial Day weekend on. Water is also available along the front fenceline of the ranger station compound. The campground provides great birding and has a nice assortment of wildflowers. Check the grasslands at the south end of the campground. A walk west across Road #27 to the rocky rim has a different assortment of plants. Hike the signed trail across from campsite #5 south to the Fremont Trail #160. Head right to head upstream along the West Fork Silver Creek. The left fork leads down an old road to the creek, then crosses on the road bridge, then heads cross country towards Silver Creek and further east. The area is well worth spending some time searching for south-central Oregon flowers that are less common elsewhere!

Weather: Temperatures in the mid 40s in the morning climbing to the mid 50s by the afternoon. The morning saw partly cloudy skies with light wind which made the hike comfortable. The afternoon became mostly cloudy, with cold winds across the summit, although the winds abated once reaching parts of the trail in the forest.

* indicates the wildflower is currently in bloom.

Western Juniper: Juniperus occidentalis

Lodgepole Pine: Pinus contorta var. latifolia

Ponderosa Pine: Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa

Mountain Alder: Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia

Creek Dogwood: Cornus sericea

Quaking Aspen: Populus tremuloides

* Willow: Salix sp. - Just beginning to bloom in the stream.

Bottlebrush Squirreltail: Elymus elymoides

Panicled Deathcamas: Toxicoscordion paniculatum

Western Blue Flag: Iris missouriensis - New leaves.

Mountain Sorrel: Rumex paucifolius - Only leaves.

* Erubescent Miner's Lettuce: Claytonia rubra ssp. depressa

* Lineleaf Montia: Montia linearis

* Hornseed Buttercup: Ceratocephala testiculata

* Upland Larkspur: Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum

* Hartweg's Buttercup: Ranunculus alismifolius var. hartwegii - Beginning to bloom.

* Sagebrush Buttercup: Ranunculus glaberrimus var. glaberrimus

* Swamp Buttercup: Ranunculus orthorhynchus var. platyphyllus

Creeping Oregon Grape: Berberis repens

Brown's Peony: Paeonia brownii - In bud.

Reflexed Rockcress: Boechera retrofracta ? - In bud.

* Spring Whitlow Grass: Draba verna

* Bulblet Prairiestar: Lithophragma bulbifera

* Golden Currant: Ribes aureum

Wax Currant: Ribes cereum var. cereum - Leafing out.

Cinquefoil: Drymocallis glandulosa var. - Beginning to bloom.

* Broadpetal Strawberry: Fragaria virginiana ssp. platypetala

Horkelia: Horkelia fusca ssp. parviflora

Graceful Cinquefoil: Potentilla gracilis var. fastigiata

Antelope Bitterbrush: Purshia tridentata - Leafing out.

Woolly-pod Milkvetch: Astragalus purshii (var. lagopinus ?)

Oregon Checkermallow: Sidalcea oregana (ssp. ?)

Goosefoot Violet: Viola purpurea ssp. venosa

Snow Brush: Ceanothus velutinus var. velutinus

Green-leaved Manzanita: Arctostaphylos patula

Pleated Gentian: Gentiana affinis

* Dwarf Hesperochiron: Hesperochiron pumilus

* Ballhead Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

* Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary: Collinsia parviflora

Common Mullein: Verbascum thapsus

Low Pussytoes: Antennaria dimorpha

Pussytoes: Antennaria sp.

Leafy Arnica: Arnica chamissonis (ssp. foliosa ?) - Lowest leaves only. Riparian.

Elk Thistle: Cirsium scariosum

Yarrow-leaved Eriophyllum: Eriophyllum lanatum var. achilleoides

False Agoseris: Nothocalais troximoides

Western Groundsel: Senecio integerrimus var. exaltatus - In bud.

* Common Dandylion: Taraxacum officinale

Animals Observed During This Hike:


Red Squirrel

Sierra Nevada Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Red-tailed Hawk

Turkey Vultures

Northern Flickers

White-headed Woodpeckers

Clarks Nutcrackers

American Robins

Mountain Bluebirds

Western Bluebirds

Yellow-rumped Warblers

Mountain Chickadees

White-breasted Nuthatch

California Tortoiseshells

Painted Ladys

Julia Orange Tips

Paul Slichter