Rimrock Springs Trail #850 is a short trail that can either be done as an in and out or as a loop. The trailhead is located on the north side of US Highway 26 between Madras and Prineville. There is room for up to a dozen vehicles to park in the gravel, pull through lot. There's a picnic table and some interpretive signing at the trailhead. The paved trail descends eastward, ending at two bird blinds. Junipers were cut recently to give a better view of the wetlands from the bird blinds. A dirt trail about 100 meters east of the trailhead heads uphill to the crest of a low hill with views westwards towards the Three Sisters and Mount Jefferson. Gray Butte looms to the south several miles away. The full loop is about one and one-quarter miles long. While birding and botanizing, it took us about 2 hours or so to complete the full loop.
Trailhead Description from the Crooked River National Grasslands
Map of the Rimrock Springs Trail #850
Facilities: Paved parking area with room for a dozen vehicles or so. Picnic table under the junipers (a nice lunch spot). No water, no vault toilets. Paved northern part of the loop trail to the northern-most bird blind. The south part of the loop trail follows the fall line but should be fairly easy for most hikers to do.
From Madras: Drive east on US Highway 26 for about 9 miles. The signed trailhead will be on the left (north).
From Prineville: Drive northwest on US Highway 26 for about 18 miles (20 minutes). The signed trailhead will be on the right (north).
Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. The area should see a lot of weekend traffic, so it is best to be safe!
Plants to expect from Memorial Day through the first week of June: Expect to find stiff milkvetch (Astragalus conjunctus), threadstalk milkvetch (Astragalus filipes), woollypod milkvetch (Astragalus purshii var. lagopinus), yellow desert daisy (Erigeron linearis), cushion fleabane (Erigeron poliospermus), Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum var. integrifolilum), bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), western blue flax (Linum lewisii), prickly phlox (Linanthus pungens), large-fruited desert parsley (Lomatium macrocarpum), Broad-fruit lomatium (Lomatium triternatum ssp. platycarpum), silvery lupine (Lupinus argenteus), prairie lupine (Lupinus lepidus var. sellulus) woolly groundsel (Packera cana), lowly penstemon (Penstemon humilis), showy penstemon (Penstemon speciosus), Douglas' phlox (Phlox douglasii), antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), and showy townsendia (Townsendia florifer).
Plant Lists for the Rimrock Springs Trail #850:
May 20, 2017: Rimrock Springs Trail #850 (Crooked River National Grasslands)