[Flower Hikes and Trips for Grant County, OR]

Wildflowers of Fields Peak

Malheur National Forest

(Forest Service Trails #212 & #216)

Fields Peak as seen from Forest Service Road 2150 (near the junction with FS Rd 21)...........July 3, 2010.

Fields Peak as seen from Forest Service Road 2150 (near the junction with FS Rd 21)...........July 3, 2010.

Fields Peak is located in the Aldrich Mountains south of US Highway 26 and situated between the South Fork John Day River and US Highway 395. The Fields Peak trail climbs approximately 2000 feet in just under 3 miles, from mixed conifer forest to open, subalpine ridges. Near the top, mountain mahogany and subalpine fir communities alternate with high meadows where bunchgrasses mix with lupines, paintbrushes, balsamroot, columbines, and fleabanes. The peak is a good site for observing butterflies displaying in mass on warm days from late June to mid-July. They can be seen spiralling upwards for one hundred feet or more from the location of the old lookout at the top. Views from the top are also impressive, with near 360 degree views. Several of the Cascade peaks should be observed along with Snow Mt. to the south, the Strawberry Mts to the east, and the Elkhorn and Greenhorn Mts. to the northeast.

Flora highlights include: arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), Brown's peony (Paeonia brownii), daggerpod (Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides), fairybells (Prosartes trachycarpa), foothill daisy (Erigeron corymbosa), glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum), Great Basin Claytonia (Claytonia umbellata), long-flowered bluebells (Mertensia longiflora), mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus), nettleleaf horsemint (Agastache urticifolia), Rocky Mt. sunflower (Helianthella uniflora), showy daisy (Erigeron speciosus), silky phacelia (Phacelia sericea), wild hollyhock (Illamnia rivularis), woolly goldenweed (Stenotus languinosus), and 7 species of buckwheats (including oval-leaf buckwheat: Eriogonum ovalifolium).

Colonial luina Luina serpentina is a local endemic with a very narrow range in the Aldrich Mountains. It can be seen along the drive to the trailhead along with masses of mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii) which should be in bloom in June. The trail is moderate to difficult, and driving time from John Day is about one hour on paved and gravel roads.

Trail Length: 4.0 miles, one way.

Elevation: 6600-7400'

Rating: Moderate to Difficult. The trail become difficult upon leaving the junction with the McClellan Mt. Trail #216 on the south side of Fields Peak. The Fields Peak trail ascends very steeply to the top of the north side of the peak, which is often snow covered into mid-July, which accounts for the difficult rating.

Season: June to November

Allowed Activities: Hiking, horse use, ATVs and mountain bikes. ATV's are not allowed on the McClellan Mt. Trail #216 which travels eastward along the top of the ridgeline from Fields Peak.

Use: Moderate

Access: From John Day, travel west on US Highway 26 for approximately 18 miles to Forest Service Road (FS Rd) 21. Drive south on FS Rd 21 for approximately 8 miles to FS Rd 21.115. There will be a sign along the road indicating the direction to McClellan Trailhead. Drive east on FS Rd 21.115 for 1/4 mile to FS Rd 2160. Drive south on FS Rd 2160 for a short distance to FS R d 2160.041. Continue driving south on FS Rd 2160.041 to the trailhead. Parking is available for a number of passenger vehicles and stock trailers (unless someone is camping there). The elevation variation is 5600'-7400'. Round trip trail mileage is about 6 miles or 8-11 miles (if hiked to McClellan Mt.).
Plant Lists for Fields Peak:

Partial Flora for Fields Peak

June 24, 2011: Fields Peak - A Native Plant Society of Oregon Field Trip

July 15, 2003: Fields Peak, Malheur N.F.

May 24, 2003: Fields Peak Trail, Malheur National Forest

Fields Peak: Malheur National Forest - Fields Peak: Malheur National Forest - Fields Peak: Malheur National Forest

The photo at left shows a view north down the ridgeline towards the John Day valley from the summit of Fields Peak. The photo at center shows a view eastward along the crest of the Aldrich Mts. McClellan Mt is visible about 2 miles east in the middle distance, while Canyon Mt. and the Strawberry Range are visible on the horizon at center. The photo at right shows a view north towards the summit of Fields Peak from the access trail.

Paul Slichter