Meet by 8:15 am for 8:30 am departure at the parking lot in front of the BLM and USFS ranger stations and depart as soon after as possible. Trips return to Prineville approximately 4-4:30 pm.
Ticks and rattlesnakes are a possibility (rarely seen) on most hikes, so long pants and sturdy hiking shoes are recommended. Carry plenty of water.
Click the trip name to find longer descriptions of hike destinations, maps, photos, access info and plant lists.
1) Maury Mountains (Ochoco National Forest): Leaders - Jan & Dave Dobak
All-day car botanizing trip through the Maury Mountains, a few miles southeast of the tiny town of Post, the geographical center of Oregon. We'll make several stops along the gravel road that traverses the forest at 5000 feet elevation, with short walks for viewing plants in forest, meadow, and wetland habitats. Helianthella uniflora, Wyethia, and Triteleia should be abundant. The gravel road is suitable for most passenger cars. Driving distance: 38 miles on gravel + 61 miles on pavement, roundtrip.
Expect to find such plant species as Columbia monkshood (Aconitum columbianum), nettleleaved horsemint (Agastache urticifolia), orange agoseris (Agoseris aurantiaca), pale agoseris (Agoseris glauca var. glauca), tapertip onion (Allium accuminatum), twin arnica (Arnica sororia), sagebrush mariposa (Calochortus macrocarpus ssp. macrocarpus), desert paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa), Wyoming paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia), elk thistle (Cirsium scariosum), bushy birdbeak (Cordylanthus ramosus), fennel spring parsley (Cymopterus terebinthinus v. foeniculaceus), threadleaf fleabane (Erigeron filifolius), sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum var. incisum), Columbia cutleaf (Hymenopappus filifolius), crag aster (Ionactis alpina), scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata), western blue flag (Iris missouriensis), bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), prickly phlox (Linanthus pungens), silvery lupine (Lupinus argenteus var. argenteus), tufted evening-primrose (Oenothera cespitosa ssp. cespitosa), woolly groundsel (Packera cana), fuzzytongue penstemon (Penstemon eriantherus var. argillosus), lowly penstemon (Penstemon humilis), showy penstemon (Penstemon speciosus), sticky starwort (Pseudostellaria jamesiana), Oregon campion (Silene oregana), woolly groundsel (Stenotus lanuginosus), gray horsebrush (Tetradymia canescens), showy townsendia (Townsendia florifer), Cusick's clover (Trifolium eriocephalum ssp. cusickii), and hyacinth cluster lily (Triteleia hyacinthina).
2) Juniper Hills Preserve (Nature Conservancy, Oregon): Leaders - Berta Youtie & Brooke Gray (Juniper Hills Preserve Steward)
We will meet Brooke Gray, the preserve manager, and discuss Nature Conservancy goals and current preserve management. We will hike approximately 3 miles in flat to slight rolling terrain exploring juniper sagebrush and riparian habitats, stopping to identify all the spring wildflowers and grasses. Driving distance: About 35 miles (50 min) one way on paved roads with a few miles of good gravel roads in the preserve.
Expect to find Thurber's needlegrass (Achnatherum thurberianum), Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides), basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus), bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata), John Day penstemon (Penstemon eriantherus var. argillosus), showy penstemon (Penstemon speciosus), threadstalk milkvetch (Astragalus filipes), woollypod milkvetch (Astragalus purshii), broadsheath desert parsley (Lomatium vaginatum), bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius), blue flax (Linum lewisii), harsh paintbrush (Castilleja hispida), purple sage (Salvia dorii), threadleaf fleabane (Erigeron filifolius), showy townsendia (Townsendia florifer) and many others.
3) Line Butte Trail #807 (Ochoco National Forest): Leader - Ron Klump, Assistant - Cindy Roche (Pacific Northwest grass specialist)
This moderate, seldom visited hike of the south side of Lookout Mountain offers a look at the park-like ponderosa pine forest that one would have found there 100 years ago in the Ochocos with large ponderosa pines and an open understory of grasses, sedges and forbs. This is a much gentler approach to Lookout Mountain, useful for those not wanting to hike the steeper trails on the north side of the mountain. We'll learn the history of this part of the forest and follow an old road with gentle grade (moderate, 5-6 miles RT, 800-1000' gain). Driving distance: About 50 miles (1.75 hrs) one way on paved and generally good (but sometimes bumpy) gravel roads. A Subaru Outback or equivalent vehicle is helpful the last 3 miles. Watch for pronghorn antelope, elk, mule deer and feral horses and sandhill cranes during the drive!
Expect to find nettleleaf horsemint (Agastache urticifolia), silvery pussytoes (Antennaria argentea), arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), valley cinquefoil (Drymocallis convallaria), Eaton's shaggy daisy (Erigeron eatonii var. villosus), spotted frtillary (Fritillaria atropurpurea), blue stickseed (Hackelia micrantha), western blue flag (Iris missouriensis), threeleaf lewisia (Lewisia triphylla), slender woodland star (Lithophragma tenellum), slender-fruited desert parsley (Lomatium leptocarpum), Brown's peony (Paeonia brownii), northern black currant (Ribes hudsonianum var. petiolare), sticky currant (Ribes viscosissimum), upland yellow violet (Viola praemorsa ssp. linguifolia), goosefoot violet (Viola purpurea ssp. venosa) among others.
4) Big Summit Prairie Scablands (Ochoco National Forest): Leader - Jill Welborn (Botanist, Ochoco National Forest)
This field trip will be a driving tour with several stops and short hikes on sloping, rocky terrain. Scablands are forest openings and sloping uplands of shallow soils and sparse vegetation. They host distinctive plant communities and rare plant species adapted to the harsh environmental and soil conditions; these plant communities exhibit a riot of color and botanical richness in the spring. The geology, ecology, flora, and conservation of Ochoco scablands will be discussed, as will NPSO's High Desert Chapter citizen science monitoring project, Adopt-A-Scabland. Driving distance: 45-50 miles (1.5 hours) one way on pavement with several miles of generally good gravel roads suitable for most vehicles.
Expect to find: several biscuitroot species (Lomatium spp.), extensive stands of tapertip onion (Allium acuminatum), Tolmie's onion (Allium tolmiei), possibly some Sierra onion (Allium campanulatum), the later stages of the yellow and white mule's ears bloom (Wyethia amplexicaulis and W. helianthoides), bigheaded clover (Trifolium macrocephalum), twolobe larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum), wavyleaf paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum), one-spike oatgrass (Danthonia unispicata), Rydberg's sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum var. incisum), prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), slender woodland star (Lithophragma tenellum), upland yellow violet (Viola praemorsa var. linguifolia) and many others. Numerous elk, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and sandhill cranes may be observed in Big Summit Prairie during the drive to the destination.
5) Whychus Canyon Preserve (Deschutes Land Trust): Leader - David Miller & DLT Assistant
Join the Deschutes Land Trust and David Miller for an early wildflower hike at scenic Whychus Canyon Preserve. Scan the canyon for colorful native blooms like balsamroot and pale blue flax, and watch for songbirds and signs of wildlife. Walk the wildflower-studded slopes and hear the wind through the towering ponderosa pines. Explore boulder outcroppings and take in panoramic views of mountain peaks and dramatic canyons.
This is a strenuous hike (due to steep side slopes and rocky trail) with 300' elevation gain, 4-6 mile hike based on weather, group, speed & ability.
Bring plenty of water, hiking pants & sturdy hiking shoes. Dress for the weather.
Driving distance: About 45 miles (1 hour) one way, mostly on asphalt with some gravel and rocky road the last few miles. Directions will be provided by the trip leader at the meeting site.
* Please print, fill out and bring Deschutes Land Trust's waiver with you to the meeting site.
Expect to find: Thurber's needlegrass (Achnatherum thurberianum), low sagebrush (Artemisia arbuscula), big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata ssp tridentata), stiff milkvetch (Astragalus conjunctus var. conjunctus), threadstalk milkvetch (Astragalus filipes), sagebrush mariposa (Calochortus macrocarpus var. macrocarpus), narrowleaf paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia), large-flowered collomia (Collomia grandiflora), red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), tapertip hawksbeard (Crepis acuminata), bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides), yellow desert daisy (Erigeron linearis), shaggy daisy (Erigeron pumilus), sulfur buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum), scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata), western blue flag (Iris missouriensis), prairie junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), prickly phlox (Linanthus pungens), lowly penstemon (Penstemon humilis), threadleaf phacelia (Phacelia linearis), oregon checkermallow (Sidalcea oregana) and panicled deathcamas (Toxicoscordion paniculatum).
6) Twin Pillars North (Mill Creek Wilderness & Ochoco National Forest): Leaders - Roger Brewer
Journey into the northern edge of the Mill Creek Wilderness to view moist wildflower meadows at Bingham Prairie and then hike through forests partly burned by a 2000 fire to an overlook of Twin Pillars which are 200' rhyolite intrusions into a 40 million year old vocanic caldera. If time permits, we'll hike down to view the unique flora on the pillars themselves. This moderately difficult hike is 6 miles (RT) with 600' elevation gain (mostly on the return). Driving distance: 25 miles (1 hour) one way on good roads though the last can be a problem for slow slung vehicles, especially if wet. Limited to 12 participants.
Expect to find: nettleleaf horsemint (Agastache urticifolia), pale agoseris (Agoseris glauca var. glauca), sagebrush agoseris (Agoseris parviflora), heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia), snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus var. velutinus), mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius var. ledifolius), lace lip fern (Cheilanthes gracillima), upland larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum), desert shootingstar (Dodecatheon conjugens), cutleaf fleabane (Erigeron compositus var. glabratus), Modoc buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum var. modocense), alpine alumroot (Heuchera cylindrica var. alpina), bush oceanspray (Holodiscus microphyllus var. glabrescens), whiskerbrush (Leptosiphon ciliatus), longspur lupine (Lupinus arbustus), false solomon seal (Maianthemum racemosum ssp. amplexicaule), nodding microseris (Microseris nutans), a few early-blooming shrubby penstemon (Penstemon fruticosus var. fruticosus), sticky currant (Ribes viscosissimum), black elderberry (Sambucus racemosa var. melanocarpa), western groundsel (Senecio integerrimus var. exaltatus), Oregon checkermallow (Sidalcea oregana), claspleaf twisted-stalk (Streptopus amplexifolius), northern bog violet (Viola nephrophylla), white-headed wyethia (Wyethia helianthoides).
7) Lookout Mountain (Ochoco National Forest): Leaders - Susan Saul
Lookout Mountain is the most well known geologic feature in the western Ochoco Mountains as its flat top is visible for up to 50 miles in all directions. Its slopes harbor numerous habitats, and we'll visit examples of the coniferous forest, riparian springs, rocky rim and scabland areas. We'll plan to hike the Mother Lode Trail #808A up to the summit with some off trail hiking. Depending upon the speed of the group and trail conditions, we may return via the Lookout Mt. Trail #804. Difficult (steep ascent) 4-6 miles (RT) with 1200' gain. High point: 6930. Driving distance: About 32 miles (50 minutes) one way, mostly on paved roads with bumpy gravel roads the last 2-3 miles. Suitable for most vehicles.
Wildflowers: From Memorial Day weekend through the first half of June, expect to find: Tolmie's onion (Allium tolmiei), heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia), Whitney's balloon milkvetch (Astragalus whitneyi), arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), wavyleaf paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum), pale Wallowa paintbrush (Castilleja oresbia), Baker's hawksbeard (Crepis bakeri), gray hawksbeard (Crepis intermedia), upland larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum), steershead (Dicentra uniflora), King's smooth sandwort (Eremogone kingii var. glabrescens), Eaton's shaggy daisy (Erigeron eatonii var. villosus), foreign fleabane (Erigeron glacialis), yellow desert daisy (Erigeron linearis), Nevada lewisia (Lewisia nevadensis), threeleaf lewisia (Lewisia triphylla), up to 7 desert parsleys (Lomatium sp.), long-flowered bluebells (Mertensia longiflora), smooth-leaved gilia (Navarretia capillaris), alpine pennycress (Noccaea fendleri ssp. glauca), mountain sweet cicely (Osmorhiza occidentalis), Brown's peony (Paeonia brownii), shrubby penstemon (Penstemon fruticosus), daggerpods (Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides), roughfruit fairybells (Prosartes trachycarpa), sagebrush buttercup (Ranunculus glaberrimus var. glaberrimus), woolly goldenweed (Stenotus lanuginosus), bighead clover (Trifolium macrocephalum), upland yellow violet (Viola praemorsa ssp. linguifolia).
8) Badlands Wilderness, Millican Valley & Dry Canyon: Leader - Stu Garrett
30 miles south of Prineville we will explore the dramatic high desert and sagebrush steppe of central Oregon. Oregon’s newest wilderness is quite accessible and contains possibly the best ancient juniper forest in Oregon. Wildflowers can be spectacular in early June and the geology of nearby Millican Valley and Newberry Volcano add a fascinating sidelight. Easy hiking in sandy soils with minimal elevation gain. Several stops and hikes covering under 4 miles with at most 100' gain. No pets. Driving distance: About 45-50 miles (50 min-1 hr) one way, mostly on asphalt with some good gravel roads.
Expect to find: western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata), shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), gray rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa), green rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus), bush ocean spray (Holodiscus microphyllus var. glabrescens), bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), wax currant (Ribes cereum), Franklin's sandwort (Eremogone franklinii var. franklinii), sagebrush mariposa (Calochortus macrocarpus var. macrocarpus), desert paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa), common cryptanth (Cryptantha intermedia), oval-leaf buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium var. ovalifolium), pale wallflower (Erysimum occidentale), shy gilia (Gilia sinuata), tidytips (Layia glandulosa), dwarf lupine (Lupinus lepidus - 3 varieties), white stem blazing star (Mentzelia albicaulis), purple monkeyflower (Diplacus nanus), mountain navarretia (Navarretia divaricata), clustered broomrape (Orobanche fasciculata), threadleaf Phacelia (Phacelia linearis), gay penstemon (Penstemon laetus var. sagitattus), Harkness' popcornflower (Plagiobothrys kingii var harknessii), dwarf skullcap (Scutellaria nana), woolly groundsel (Packera cana), showy townsendia (Townsendia florifer), meadow death camas (Toxicoscordion venenosum), bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoregneria spicata), basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus), Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides) and many others.
9) Alder Springs Trail #855 and Squaw Flats: Leader - Jenifer Ferriel (Forest Botanist: Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests & Crooked River Grasslands)
We'll hike the scenic and floriferous Alder Springs Trail down to moist meadows at Alder Springs and downstream to where Whychus Creek joins the Deschutes River, returning to the trailhead where we will then drive several miles west to drier sites near Squaw Flats to view upland High Desert species. Note: A crossing of shallow Whychus Creek will be dependent upon water level (bring light water shoes or sandals). This is a moderate 3 mile hike with 400' elevation gain upon the return, or about 6 miles with 500' elevation gain if the creek is forded. Driving distance: About 45 miles (1.5 hours) oneway with Subaru Outback or similar vehicle needed for the last several miles.
Expect to find: Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides), sagebrush mariposa (Calochortus macrocarpus var. macrocarpus), desert paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa), red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), Deschutes monkeyflower (Diplacus deschutesensis or D. cusickioides), bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides), Modoc sulfur buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum var. modocense), needle and thread grass (Hesperostipa comata), western blue flag (Iris missouriensis), sand lily (Leucorinum montanum), basin wild rye (Leymus cinereus), showy penstemon (Penstemon speciosus), Hood's phlox (Phlox hoodii), threadleaf phacelia (Phacelia linearis), mock-orange (Philadelphus lewisii), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), and panicled deathcamas (Toxicoscordion paniculatum).
10) Steins Pillar Trail: Leader - Paul Slichter
This moderate hike of 4.1 miles, 900' total elevation gain (high point in the middle) passes through rock outcrops, open balds and forested slopes before descending to the base of the 350' high Steins Pillar. If time allows, we'll drive to the nearby Brennan Palisades and make roadside stops in search of other area wildflowers. Driving distance: 18 miles (30 min) one way, with additional mileage if we have time for roadside botany afterwards. Roads are mostly paved with several miles of good but sometimes bumpy gravel roadway.
Expect to find: green-leaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula), heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia), rough eyelashweed (Blepharipappus scaber), wavyleaf paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum), diamond clarkia (Clarkia rhomboidea), tapertip hawksbeard (Crepis acuminata), valley cinquefoil (Drymocallis convallaria), yellow desert daisy (Erigeron linearis), northern buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum), strict buckwheat (Eriogonum strictum var. anserinum), modoc sulfur flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum var. modocense), mission bells (Fritillaria atropurpurea), prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), Rocky Mt. sunflower (Helianthella uniflora), roundleaf alumroot (Heuchera cylindrica var. alpina), Scouler's hawkweed (Hieracium scouleri), false solomon's seal (Maianthemum racemosum), woolly groundsel (Packera cana), hotrock penstemon (Penstemon deustus var. variabilis), shrubby penstemon (Penstemon fruticosus var. fruticosus), lowly penstemon (Penstemon humilis), spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa), juniper mistletoe (Phoradendron juniperinum), roughfruit fairybells (Prosartes trachycarpa) and Douglas' catchfly (Silene douglasii).
[Friday Trips June 1, 2017] - [Sunday Trips June 3, 2017]