[Wildflower Hikes and Trips in Crook County, Oregon]

Wildflowers of Mount Pisgah

as accessed from Pisgah Meadows via FS Roads #2630 and #2230 from the north

Ochoco National Forest

Wheeler County, Oregon

View north towards Pisgah Meadows and the Bridge Creek Wilderness from the summit of Mount Pisgah, Ochoco National Forest........June 13, 2015.

Map of Pisgah Meadows to Mt. Pisgah, Ochoco National ForestMount Pisgah (6816') gets light hiking and equestrian traffic. No trails exist in the area, so instead, carefully park along the road at Pisgah Meadows (6190') and hike along FS Roads #2630 and #2230 to reach the summit, about 7.6 miles roundtrip. There are plenty of wildflowers and birdlife to view from the edge of Pisgah Meadows or enroute along the roads. The north-facing slopes of Mt. Pisgah pass through a mix of open to thick coniferous forest with the last mile through a recent wildfire burn. Atop the ridgeline, the road passes a mix of rock gardens, talus, patchy coniferous forest, and lithosol grasslands and scablands. Views from the summit allow views north towards Mitchell and the Painted Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds NM. Round Mt. and Lookout Mountain dominate the skyline to the southwest with Big Summit Prairie to the south. Spanish Peak can be seen in the distance to the east.

The roads here appear to get moderate to heavy OHV traffic on weekends. Weekday traffic should be light. I would probably recommend against driving a passenger vehicle (including Subarus) along FS Rd 2630 east of Pisgah Meadows. There are one or two deep wallows in the road that stay wet, at least into mid-summer in the vicinity of Pisgah Springs.

From the junction of FS Roads #2630 & #2230, one can continue east on Road #2630 to East Point (6625'). This hike over rolling terrain is about 1.5 miles each way with a total elevation gain of about 200'. That route is a mix of conifer forest, open meadows and shrublands. Look on rock outcrops and talus slopes for rock garden species.

An early spring (late April into early June) option to access Mount Pisgah would be to drive FS Road #22 along the north edge of Big Summit Prairie and then turn north onto FS Rd #2230 which is a primitive road. Find a place to park without blocking the road and then hike Road #2230 up the south-facing slope which should be clear of snow several weeks earlier than the north side of Mt. Pisgah. From Road #22 to the summit of Mt. Pisgah, that route would be 5.6 miles (11.2 RT) one way with elevation gain of 2060'. By late May, this route probably sees moderate OHV use on weekends. We haven't been along this southern approach route yet, so I don't know if there is an option to drive passenger vehicles further up the road for a shorter hike.


From Prineville: From Prineville, Oregon, drive east on US Highway 26 for approximately 13 miles. Turn right onto County Road #123 (signed Ochoco Ranger Station and Walton Lake) and drive approximately 7 miles, passing the old Ochoco Ranger Station and then turning left onto paved Forest Service Road #22 at a Y junction just past the old ranger station. Paved Road #42 heads uphill to the right at this junction to the south trailhead. Continue uphill on FS Road #22 for approximately 7 miles, passing the entrance to Walton Lake Campground on the left. After an additional one and one-half miles uphill on FS Road #22, the road makes a very sharp turn to the right an should become gravelled. At this point, stay left or somewhat straight onto the gravelled FS Road #2630. This road becomes progressively worse, but should be okay for Subaru Foresters or Outbacks or short wheelbase vehicles with decent ground clearance as long as the road has been dry for a few days. After a few miles, the road rounds a corner and begins heading east and begins a descent with a view of a magnificent basalt outcrop nearby to the northeast. The road reaches a junction with the better road (spur road #450) heading north towards the base of the outcrop. However, to get to Pisgah Meadows, stay right on a lightly gravelled to dirt surface road which can get muddy after rains. You'll climb a bit but within a mile, Pisgah Meadows becomes visible to the right. Uphill to the south, one can note the lookout atop Mount Pisgah. Find a good wide spot next to the road and park (avoid parking in the meadows).

The slope up to the lookout from there is full of downed timber, so cross country travel is to be discouraged. Instead, walk the FS Road east, eventually crossing Bridge Creek and heading uphill into the woods and passing Pisgah Springs on the left after about a quarter mile. Water is available there, but it's best to filter it. Continue uphill along the road for another mile and a quarter, noting interesting flora and birds along the way. As the road crests the east end of the ridge, note a junction with FS Road #2230 (may be unsigned) heading right. Take this road which eventually levels out and heads west along the south side of the ridge crest. There are plenty of vernally moist meadows, balds and rocky slopes to view flowers on. After approximately one and one-half miles, FS Road #2230 turns downhill to the south at a junction. Instead, hike the rough road to the right which climbs steeply about one-quarter of a mile to the lookout.

From the south: One could probably also hike Mount Pisgah via roads from the south. From FS Road #22 at the north edge of Big Summit Prairie, find spur road #450 and drive north about a mile and a half or so, or until the road becomes worse. Park at a safe, wide spot in the road, and then walk the road up to the junction with the access road to the lookout mentioned above. It should be about a 6 mile hike.

Plant Lists for Mount Pisgah:

May 10, 2017: Road 2630 from Scotts Campground to a forested, rocky point west of the road about the one mile mark (Ochoco National Forest)

June 13, 2015: FS Roads 2630 & 2230 from Pisgah Meadows to Mount Pisgah Lookout (Ochoco National Forest) - Note that 2015 was an exceptionally dry and warm winter, so access to this area might be several weeks later during a normal year!

Paul Slichter