[Wildflower Hikes and Trips in Crook County, Oregon]

Wildflowers of Spanish Peak

Ochoco National Forest

Wheeler County, Oregon

Spanish Peak from near Windy Point, Ochoco National Forest.......June 14, 2016.

Spanish Peak from near Windy Point, Ochoco National Forest.......June 14, 2016.

Map of Trails & Access Roads to Spanish Peak, Ochoco NFSpanish Peak (6871') is the high point at the northeast corner of the Ochco Mountains. From its summit, one can view the striped rock pattern of Sutton Mt. far off to the northwest, the man made lakes and ponds along Rock Creek directly below to the west, Mt. Pisgah, Round Mt. and Lookout Mt. towards the west end of the Ochocos, the Maury Mountains and other peaks scattered across BLM lands to the south, Snow Peak to the southeast, the Aldrich and Strawberry Mts to the east along with Dixie Butte beyond Prairie City, OR and the Greenhorns to the northeast, as well as Picture Rock Gorge and Sheep Rock along the John Day River a dozen or so miles to the northeast.

The peak itself and much of the adjacent ridgeline to the east is open shrub scrub country with patches of high coniferous forest mixed with open meadows filled with spring wildflowers, sagebrush and mountain mahogany. The little used Ochoco Mountain Trail #823 traverses the summit ridgeline for several miles and FS Road 3800-200 is a substitute for early season botanizing before the road is safe to drive. The Mascall Corral Trail #817 and Mascall Corrals Trail #822 provide longer hiking access from the south, while if someone wants to do a long car shuttle or key exchange mid-route, one could park at the end of FS Road #3800-200 (Rim TH) and do a full day hike west on the Ochoco Mountain Trail #382, across the summit of Spanish Peak and then descend down into Rock Creek before climbing uphill to the south at the south trailhead for that trail.

USFS Map of the Ochoco Mountain Trail #823 and nearby trails.

Access to Spanish Peak via FS Road #3800-200:

From Paulina: Drive east from Paulina on County Road 112 for several miles, then veer left onto County Road 113 (Beaver Creek Road) and then north towards Sugar Creek and Wolf Creek Campgrounds (this might be FS Road 58, but I haven't driven it, so am unsure of its name). At a junction with FS Road 42, stay right onto FS Road 58. After about 13 miles from Paulina, turn left onto FS Road 5810 at the Sugar Creek Day Use Area. Travel north on FS Road 5810 for 10.5 miles to FS Road 38. Stay straight, cross FS Road 38, and proceed uphill on primitive FS Road 3800-200 for 3.5 miles to a saddle where the Ochoco Mountain Trail #823 crosses, marked by signs in each direction. There is room for several vehicles here. The road does continue to the summit, but becomes much rougher the last quarter of a mile, so it should be attempted by high clearance vehicles with good tires and adequate low gearing. We park at the trail crossing (Rim TH) and hike via the road to the summit. although one can also hike west along the Ochoco Mt. Trail #823 and then up to the summit via a jeep trail to make this a loop hike.

Be aware that FS Road 3800-200 is a primitive road not suitable for trailers and low clearance vehicles. The road can be impassable to all vehicles in wet conditions, especially in spring. We had to walk the road up from near the bottom when it was blocked by downed trees in 2014, so that can be a problem too, although there are plenty of good flowers and birds along the road!

From Deep Creek Campground and Big Summit Prairie: Drive east on FS Road #42 which is paved until after crossing Deep Creek, then continue east on a good gravel road on FS Road 42 to a major interestion (Six Corners on the map). At this junction, stay straight on what is now FS Road #12. After several miles, FS Road #12 turns sharply left at a junction. Stay straight on what becomes FS Road 38. After another 1.5 miles, FS Road #38 reaches a junction with FS Road #3810 on the right (signed for Paulina). Stay on FS Road #38 and follow it eastward to a four way junction with FS Road 58 (to Boeing Field) on the right and FS Road 3800-200 on the right. Turn left onto primitive FS Road 3800-200 and proceed uphill as above. Spanish Peak is about 2 hours driving time east of Prineville via FS Road #42.

Note: Access via Oregon Highway 380 to Paulina is probably the shortest access (about 2 hours or so and 85 miles one way). Access via Highway 26 from Prineville to FS Rd 12 and then south to Deep Creek CG involves about a 3 hour drive (including time for a pit stop at one of the campgrounds enroute) and about a 90+ mile drive one way. One can also drive east from Prineville and take FS Road 42 past Big Summit Prairie (scenic) to Five Corners, but the pave sections of road have frost heaves and it is helpful to have a map to verify your route. This latter route is probably shorter mileage wise with drive time of about 2.5 hours or so, depending on how often you stop to look at wildlife and flowers!

Access to Spanish Peak via Mascall Corral Trail #817 to Mascall Corrals Trail #822:

Mascall Corral Trail #817 to Mascall Corrals Trail #822 - Info from Friends of the Ochocos website.

In late May/ early June, expect tofind the following wildflowers in bloom: Tolmie's onion (Allium tolmiei), arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), fennel cymopterus (Cymopterus terebinthinus var. foeniculaceus), dwarf monkeyflower (Diplacus nana), Alaska draba (Draba stenoloba), golden fleabane (Erigeron chrysopsidis), Eaton's woolly fleabane (Erigeron eatonii), yellow desert daisy (Erigeron linearis), heartleaf buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum), parsnipflower buckwheat (Eriogonum heracleoides), bicolor sulfurflower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum var. dicrocephalum), prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), Rocky Mountain sunflower (Helianthella uniflora), scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata), bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), threeleaf lewisia (Lewisia triphylla), nodding microseris (Microseris nutans), Brown's peony (Paeonia brownii), showy penstemon (Penstemon speciosus), mountain currant (Ribes montigenum), stemless goldenweed (Stenotus acaulis), woolly goldenweed (Stenotus lanuginosus), bluedicks (Triteleia grandiflora), and goosefoot violet (Viola purpurea).

Plant Lists for Spanish Peak:

September 25, 2016: Spanish Peak via Road 3800-200 from the trailhead on the east side of the peak for the Ochoco Mountain Trail #823 (Ochoco National Forest. - We walked the road about 1.5 miles to the summit.

June 14, 2015: Road 3800-200 to Saddle East of Spanish Peak (Ochoco National Forest) - Downed trees blocked the road about one mile uphill from FS Road 38, so we found a place to park and walked the road up to the trail crossing for Trail #823 and hiked east up towards Windy Point.

Paul Slichter