The Badlands Central Oregon Hike
There is a certain beauty in the Badlands east of Bend that one learns to appreciate. Whizzing by at 60 miles per hour, one only sees a bunch of junipers
and sagebrush. Find a trailhead and start wandering. You will find a world of interesting things out there. I recommend that you drive to a parking area on the left at milepost 16 on Highway 20. There you will find a trail sign and brochures with maps directing you to this and other trailheads within the Badlands Wilderness. In the spring there are flowers out there for you to find. The first to appear is the lovely sand lily.
Later in the spring larkspur, tidy-tips, blepharipappus and death camas make an appearance. The yellows of wallflower, oregon sunshine and buckwheat are not far behind. As the season progresses the yarrow and the bitterbrush bloom and you might be lucky enough to spot the little annual dwarf monkeyflower (yes, in the desert!)
The flowers are a bonus, but the intriguing beauty of the Badlands is in the rock formations, the shapes of the ancient junipers, and the patterns of fallen dead wood. They are nature’s sculptures.
Sometimes late fall is the best time to see the desert at its best.