Malheur National Forest
Malheur offers a full range of outdoor recreation opportunities in an uncrowded region. Some of these opportunities include Some of the many activities include camping, picnicking, fishing, backpacking, horseback riding, hunting, four-wheel driving, motorcycle and ATV riding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
On the Malheur there are hunting seasons for mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep. The fishing season is regulated by the State of Oregon, usually beginning in April. Stream fishing does not really become good until after spring runoff in May, June and July.
The Malheur National Forest has 502 miles of designated snowmobile trails and 6.5 miles of cross-country ski trails. Snowmobile trails are marked in a reflectorized brown and creme with orange diamonds, cross-country ski trails are marked with blue diamonds and/or user symbols used in conjunction to denote appropriate trail use.
The Malheur National Forest encompasses 1,460,000 acres of the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. The diverse and beautiful scenery of the forest includes high desert grasslands, sage and juniper, pine, fir and other tree species, and the hidden gems of alpine lakes and meadows. Elevations vary from about 4000 feet (1200 meters) to the 9038 foot (2754 meters) top of Strawberry Mountain.
The Wallowa-Whitman offers opportunities for a variety of outdoor recreation activities. Some of the many activities include camping, picnicking, fishing, backpacking, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, hunting, four-wheel driving, motorcycle and ATV riding, downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
The Wallowa -Whitman National Forest contains 2.3 million acres ranging in elevation from 875 feet in Hells Canyon, to 9845 feet in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (HCNRA) straddles the Snake River which forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon and encompasses 652,488-acres.
The Hells Canyon Wilderness comprises nearly 215,000 acres within the HCNRA. The HCNRA, Oregon side, has 15 campgrounds that are located in four distinct and separate areas. The Imnaha River area supports a total of six facilities. The Imnaha River is a designated Wild and Scenic River and is considered critical habitat for the listed Chinook Salmon and the listed Bull Trout. Forest Road #46 or Wellamotkin Drive area supports two developed facilities, which are located north and west of Enterprise and offers some spectacular views of Hells Canyon. These facilities are located along the rim area within timbered groves.
The Hat Point complex begins at the town of Imnaha and terminates at Hat Point Lookout where two developed facilities are available. A variety of experiences are available along the 26-mile trip including vistas and hiking trails. The North Pine area is comprised of three sites (North Pine Rest Stop, Duck Lake, and Twin Lakes), two located in an alpine zone and associated with lakes, and the North Pine Rest Stop located along the Scenic Byway.
Ochoco National Forrest
The Ochoco offers opportunities for a variety of outdoor recreation activities. Some of the many activities include camping, picnicking, fishing, backpacking, horseback riding, hunting, four-wheel driving, motorcycle and ATV riding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
For camping on the Ochoco, developed campsites provide vehicle spaces, picnic tables, and fire grills, however, drinking water is not always available. Come prepared and bring water with you. Electrical hookups and showers are not provided. Camping is on a first-come first-served basis except for group sites. If you prefer “roughing” it and you discover a nice spot, feel free to camp. Please pack out your garbage, and be sure your campfire is out before you leave.
The forest is a winter playground for many people. There are areas suitable for cross-country ski touring, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and sledding. The most use occurs above 5,000 feet, near three Sno-Parks located on U.S. Highway 26. Oregon State Sno-Park permits are required for parking. Permits are available at the Prineville Motor Vehicle Division and Ochoco National Forest Headquarters. The open country, developed trails, and some back roads closed by snow to vehicle traffic are open for snowmobiling and skiing. Snow-covered roads surrounding Big Summit Prairie offer marked trails and large loops, which are especially suitable for snowmobile uses.
With a total of almost 1,500 square miles, the Ochoco National Forest is endowed with vast natural resources, scenic grandeur, and tremendous recreation opportunities. People are drawn to the Ochoco for it’s majestic ponderosa pine stands, picturesque rimrock vantage points, deep canyons, unique geologic formations, abundant wildlife, and plentiful sunshine.
The Ochoco National Forest is divided into four ranger districts; Big Summit, Paulina, Prineville and Snow Mountain. The Crooked River National Grassland is also administered by the Ochoco and encompasses about 111,000 acres.
The Ochoco contains three designated Wilderness Areas. The largest of the three, the 17,000 acre Mill Creek Wilderness contains deep canyons, towering pinnacles and opportunities for solitude. The wilderness has meadows at 6,000 feet giving way to lower-elevation forests of dense pine and fir, dissected by Mill Creek and its tributaries. A unique feature of this wilderness is the pair of volcanic plugs called Twin Pillars. The Black Canyon Wilderness is 13,400 acres in size. It incorporates a variety of ecosystems ranging from dense forests to rugged canyons. Three sides of the canyon reach elevations to 6,000 feet, while waters in the gorge have downcut through lava basalt, and empty into the South Fork of the John Day River at 2,800 feet. The 5,400 acre Bridge Creek Wilderness is small but boasts some wonderful scenic vistas and solitude. There are no trails maintained in this wilderness but an old trail and a mile of old road exist. The Bridge Creek Wilderness is characterized by steep terrain, open meadows, forested slopes, and barren plateaus called scab flats. Bridge Creek flows through the heart of the wilderness. Most visitors to the Bridge Creek arrive for fall hunting seasons.
With a large elevation range, climate on the Ochoco changes depending on elevation. The high elevations receive much more precipitation and colder temperatures. Much of the precipitation comes from October to April, mostly in the form of snow in the higher elevations. Winter temperatures can drop well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Late spring, summer and early autumn tend to bring clear, sunny days, with warm to hot temperatures at the low elevations and moderate temperatures at the higher elevations. Summer afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon.