[Wildflower Hikes and Trips in Harney County, OR]

Wildflowers of Snow Mountain Lookout

Ochoco and Malheur National Forests

Bighead Clover: Trifolium macrocephalum

Bighead Clover (Trifolium macrocephalum)

Elevation: 7166' --- N 43* 58.220' --- W119* 29.797' --- +/- 17 ft

Malheur or Ochoco NF Map Coordinates: T18S R27E S32 & 33

Snow Mt. is a broad high mountain or ridge found at the boundary of the Ochoco and Malheur National Forests. From the Aldrich and Strawberry Mountains, Snow Mountain is a broad dark ridge seen on the southern horizon with a prominent snow patch near the top. The 10' lookout tower is manned during the summer, although the forest service employees drive from Burns everyday except when fire danger is high. Views from the 7160' summit span 360 degrees. They are views that most of us would never see of central Oregon, spanning west to the Maury Mts and Lookout Mt. (west of Big Summit Prairie) and further west to the high Cascade volcanoes. South one can see Glass Butte and several other buttes to the south of US Highway 20 and to the southeast, the area around Burns, OR as well as the Steens Mt. on a clear day. To the northeast, one can see the Aldrich and Strawberry Mt. Ranges and to the north, the gorge through which the South Fork John Day River flows. Views include much coniferous forest as well as broad swaths of higher sagebrush plains.


Access is best gained to Snow Mt. from the north using County Rd 112 from Paulina or County Rd 67 from Izee and then turning south on County Rd 318 (which becomes County Rd 69). Upon entering the Ochoco National Forest, the road becomes FS Rd 43. This road is a good gravel road. After climbing though coniferous forests for a few miles, you will intersect with FS Rd 4380 which is on the east side of the road. This intersection is marked with a sign to Snow Mt. Proceed on the road for about 3.5 miles to the summit, although plants in the middle of the road may be tall enough to give smaller passenger vehicles problems with clearance. Early season driving may also present problems for accessing the lookout via FS Rd 4380 if snow is still melting or the roads are particularly muddy and wet.

From Burns, travel west to Hines, then turn north on County Rd 127. Upon reaching FS Rd 43 (23 miles northo of Hines), turn west and drive on FS Rd 43 along the delightful Emigrant Creek. Shortly after entering the Ochoco NF (unmarked), the road climbs more steeply and becomes gravel (38.8 miles from Hines) at a sign for Delintment Lk. Continue on FS Rd 43 until reaching FS Rd 4380 (43.4 miles from Hines), at which point you turn east to climb 3.5 miles to the lookout at Snow Mt.

Other roads to the summit of Snow Mt. should not be attempted by passenger vehicles, due primarily to lack of clearance with the middle portion of those roads, which generally become two deep grooves in the soil with a high, plant filled center section.

Plant Lists for Snow Mt.:

Partial Flora of Snow Mt.

July 13, 2003: Snow Mt.

June 23, 2003: Snow Mt.

Paul Slichter