The ultimate destination for this hike could be the Twin Pillars in the
Ochoco RangerDistrict, but that would be an 11.6 mile round trip and a bit of a bushwack at the end. So I suggest this as an open-ended and easy-does-it day of enjoying the creek and the flowers.
To find the trailhead, drive Hwy 26 east of Prineville 10 miles to the Mill Creek Road and a sign for the Wildcat campground. After 5.1 miles of paved road and then 5.6 miles of gravel road, you will arrive at the trailhead located at the entrance to the campground. I recommend hiking through the campground and finding the trail at the campground end, rather than beginning by crossing the bridge
This would usually be a good late spring or early summer hike. In 2011 when I first took this hike, the conditions dictated a later start. It would be a good hike on a hot day because the trail if often in the shade and involves many crossing of the creek.
Refer to William Sullivan’s 100 Hikes Central Oregon for detailed descriptions of the many fords, but I found them to be fairly easy and I opted to simply wear an old pair of sneakers and just hike on through them.
While there were not a large number of wildflower species, there were enough flowers blooming to justify this being termed a wildflower hike. Besides that, crossing the creek numerous times kept us cool and amused!