The Badlands

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 Sand Lily Sand Lily 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 …

Broken Top Hikes

In my opinion, the premier hikes in Central Oregon are on Broken Top Mountain. There are three main trails to access the area. Starting with the lowest in elevation and therefore the earliest to be accessible and full of flowers is the trail up from Todd Lake. And don’t forget to check out the meadows around the lake. Lots of …

Canyon Creek Meadow

This loop hike begins at Jack Lake. The lake area is heavily used and has few flowers, but I usually see Rosy Spirea there. You soon come to a split in the trail and it is suggested that the loop be made clockwise, so stay left. Two things stand out in my mind about the early part of this loop. …

Coffin Mountain

An Extravaganza of Rhododendrons and Beargrass Most years the best time to take this trip is the last week in June—but it all depends on the snow pack and the kind of a spring we have had. If you plan to hike to the lookout on Coffin Mt., expect to find a little snow at the top. West on Hwy …

Cone Peak Iron Mountain Loop

The most popular hike in central Oregon is undoubtedly the Cone Peak/Iron Mt. loop. I like to begin the hike from the parking area at Tombstone Pass on Highway 20, and hike in a counter-clockwise direction. Do not cross the highway here, but follow the designated trail from the parking area downhill through the woods. Along this woodsy path reside …

Lookout Mountain

There is more than one Lookout Mountain in Oregon. This one is in the Ochoco Mountains. Go east of Prineville on Highway 26 for 17 miles, and turn right on Road 42. In about 7 miles, reach a pass and turn right on Road 4205 for a rough mile to the marked trailhead. This is a 7 mile loop trail …

Mill Creek

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 …

Suttle Lake

Suttle Lake is located just south of Highway 20 about halfway between Sisters and Santiam Pass summit. I suggest beginning your hike at the day use area a little past the Suttle Lake Lodge and hiking counter-clockwise. The first half of the loop is not served by a road, but the last half skirts close to the lake past boat …

Pilot Butte State Park

Recently the host at Pilot Butte State Park in the city of Bend confronted a woman who had been cutting across the trails with two dogs off leash–both definite no-no’s. Her reaction was “Why should I care? It’s just a pile of dirt in the middle of town!” Well maybe, but what a pile of dirt! And how many cities …

Gray Butte

This hike is best in the spring. Even early May can produce a good show, depending on what kind of spring we have had. The earliest flowers may be the grass widows, phlox, larkspur, desert parsley and frasera. In late May and early June, many others will appear, including balsamroot. big-headed clover, death camas, paintbrush, waterleaf, brodiaea, lupine and bitterroot. …