Central Oregon Hiking Lakeview Oregon Trip report

Lake Abert and Summer Lake – 07/24/2020

Our time in Lakeview had come to an end and we were ready to head home after a week of hot, challenging, but enjoyable hiking. Before we went home though we had planned two more stops on the way. The second stop was to do the final featured hike in William L. Sullivan’s “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Easter Oregon” 3rd edition in the Klamath Falls section. That hike was at the Summer Lake Wildlife Area but before that hike we had originally planned to hike to the top of Abert Rim.

The Abert Rim hike had been a featured hike in the 2nd edition of Sullivan’s book but was now relegated to an “additional” hike. The hike to Abert Rim entails a 1.6 mile, 2100′ elevation gain climb entirely off-trail. By this point of our trip we just weren’t up for another off-trail adventure let alone one that gained 2100′ in 1.6 miles. We decided that instead of climbing Abert Rim we would park at the wildlife viewing area where the hike would begin and walk down to Abert Lake. We parked at a signed pullout between mile posts 84 & 85 of Highway 395.

After reading the interpretive signs at the pullout we headed down a steep trail (we missed the dirt road that led down at a much gentler grade).




Once we were down the steep little hill we found the dirt road and followed it right along the lake watching the birds and the sunrise.






IMG_2114Gulls and avocets



IMG_2140American avocets

We walked down the shore until we reached a brushy area which was likely Juniper Creek. From here we had a good look across the highway at Juniper Gulch which would have been where we bushwacked up to the rim.


To get back to our car we followed the dirt road up from the lakeshore.

We wound up doing a short .7 mile loop which was perfect. From there we drove back south on Hwy 395 to Hwy 31 and turned right (NW). We turned into the wildlife area headquarters (near milepost 70) and followed a pointer fot a “Wildlife Viewing Loop”. After 1.6 miles at a junction we turned right and followed this road to its end at the Windbreak Campground (a $10 parking permit is required, we purchased ours online prior to our trip).

When planning the trip we had been worried about mosquitoes but for the most part they had been a non-issue. They were a bit of a nuisance along South Fork Crooked Creek (post) and behind Barnhardi Cabin (post) but that had been it. I had received one bite (I think) while Heather had not been quite as lucky, her shoulders were pretty bumpy with just a few on the legs. Our luck ran out at Summer Lake with it’s marshes and ponds it was the prefect recipe for the little buggers. Deet was applied quickly but not before Heather had a 20+ new bites.

Despite that the hike here was nice, it was flat following dikes for 2.3 miles which meant no elevation gain. Birds were almost as plentiful as mosquitoes but boy are they skittish. Most of the ducks flew off before we really got a chance to focus on them. The white faced ibis were more photogenic and we got to see another sandhill crane. We also spotted a coyote and two pups crossing the dike.



IMG_2172A white faced ibis and some ducks.



IMG_2187Swallow rave



IMG_2218Sandhill crane

IMG_2220Look more ducks!

IMG_2226White faced ibis coming in for a landing.



IMG_2272Looking out over Summer Lake

IMG_2294White faced ibis


IMG_2312Black-neck stilt



IMG_2319Great blue heron in flight.


After 2 miles the dike made a hard right and .3 miles later (at a tractor) we reached private land and turned back.

The dike also provided a good view of Winter Ridge where we had started our Lakeview area hikes (post).

We double timed it back to the car in an attempt to keep the bugs at bay. We could have done without those pests but c’est la vie. It had been a fun week but our feet were done and by the time we had gotten back to the car we were even happier with our decision to save Abert Rim for another time. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Lake Abert and Summer Lake

Central Oregon Hiking Lakeview Oregon Trip report

Petroglyph Lake, Warner Valley Overlook, and DeGarmo Canyon – 07/22/2020

We took our second outing to the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in three short hikes. The temperatures were still expected to be high and Wednesday also provided the best chance for afternoon thunderstorms so we wanted to be done early for the day.

Our first hike for the day was Petroglyph Lake. As I mentioned in our previous post the Petroglyph Lake Road was closed so we had to decide how we wanted to get there. The easiest choice would have been to walk the closed road for 1.6 miles to visit the lake but Sullivan described a 5 mile off trail loop that not only visited the lake but also a viewpoint along Poker Jim Ridge. We picked the loop and parked along Hart Mountain Road near the signed Hill Top Reservoir Road.

Looking across Hart Mountain Road we could see the small juniper covered knoll along Poker Jim Ridge that we were going to be aiming for.
IMG_1258The knoll is the lower rise to the left.

There was a lone pronghorn grazing in the morning light.

We set off across through the sagebrush angling for the rim.

IMG_1268From left to right: Flagstaff Lake, Upper Campbell Lake, and Campbell Lake.

IMG_1271Hart Mountain Road climbing up to the plateau.


IMG_1273Campbell Lake

We followed the rim north toward the knoll.


IMG_1282An Orobanche




Petroglyph Lake was not visible at first but it lay to the east and we could make out the basin that it was in.

As we gained elevation the further north that we got we finally could see the lake in the basin.

We arrived at the knoll a little over 2 miles from where we’d parked.

IMG_1301White pelicans and seagulls on Campbell Lake.

IMG_1305Looking south along Poker Jim Ridge

IMG_1307Looking north along Poker Jim Ridge

IMG_1308Junipers on the knoll

We made our way to the north end of the knoll to get a better view in that direction.
IMG_1312Bluejoint Lake below the ridge.

IMG_1313Stone Corral Lake

To reach Petroglyph Lake we had to backtrack to the south on the knoll to avoid a rocky descent.


When we found a suitable spot to descend we could see the lake clearly but we knew that we would lose sight of it again once we were down off the knoll so we picked out some other features to use as reference points. When we were able to see the lake again we aimed for the left side knowing that a rock ledge rimmed its right side.


IMG_1345Pronghorn above the lake.

As we neared the lake we got below the rim rock and turned right to explore along it as this is where the petroglyphs are.

It was approximately a half mile to Petroglyph Lake Road at the far end of the lake and most of that distance was along the cliffs looking at the petroglyphs.






IMG_1390Dragon fly

IMG_1398Western fence lizard

IMG_1410Yellow bellied marmot



When the cliffs began to fade we followed a clear path along the lake to the road where we encountered the first other hikers since the previous Saturday (we’d been passed by a single mountain biker the day before).

After a brief (6 foot) conversation with them we were ready to continue on but we faced a choice. Sullivan’s loop would have had us setting of cross country for 1.5 miles back to the hill top where our car was parked. We could also walk Petroglyph Lake Road to Hart Mountain Road and then walk up that road back to the car. This second option doubled the mileage but it also took us to within a mile of the refuge headquarters where we’d seen the bulk of the pronghorn the day before and it was road walking and not bushwhacking which we were both about done with for a while. The road it was.

The road walk was fine, there were several flowers, a plethora of butterflies, and we did see a few more pronghorn, albeit at a distance.

IMG_1433Some type of primrose I think.




IMG_1460There were dozens of butterflies and other pollinators on this rabbitbrush.




IMG_1483The gate at Petroglyph Lake Road

IMG_1485Hart Mountain Road

IMG_1489The juniper knoll along Poker Jim Ridge and yes there are a few pronghorn out there.

IMG_1498Pronghorn keeping their distance from us.

After making it back to our car we drove just under 2 miles back down Hart Mountain Road to a small pullout with a Warner Mountain Overlook sign and a short (.4 mile) loop trail. We weren’t aware of this little interpretive loop until we drove past it the day before but it looked interesting so we added it to this days itinerary.
IMG_1505Sign for the overlook.

IMG_1506View from the pullout back up toward Hart Mountain.

IMG_1509The start of the loop trail.

Since we had already been up to the juniper knoll which looked this same direction the views from the overlook were not much different from those, but the half dozen interpretive signs along the route were interesting and worth the quick stop.
IMG_1511We like interpretive signs like this where we can see with our own eyes what is being described.

IMG_1518This one helped with identifying the different lakes plus provided the history.

IMG_1524Another of our favorites are the ones that identify the various hills and peaks.

IMG_1527We worked really hard on spotting some big horn sheep on this trip to no avail. There was so much space that they could be in it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

After completing the loop we continued our drive back toward Lakeview on Hart Mountain Road. We turned off once more at a small pointer for DeGarmo Canyon (4.5 miles after pavement resumed in this direction or 9.4 miles from Plush). Sullivan described the half mile dirt road as very rough and requiring a high clearance vehicle, otherwise he suggested parking along Hart Mountain Road and walking to the trailhead. Typically we heed these warning from him but for some reason I decided to test the road with our Outback. It wasn’t pretty but we did make it to the parking area and I vowed not to make that mistake again.

Sullivan lists three possible hikes with with some additional optional side trips. He has a 1.4 mile out and back to a 35′ waterfall, a 2.6 mile loop, and a 9.4 mile hike to DeGarmo Notch. If you make it to DeGarmo Notch it’s only 2 more miles (4 round trip) to Warner Peak. When our vacation started my plan had been the 9.4 mile hike with the optional trek up Warner Peak. As the week progressed we wound up hiking to Warner Peak the day before from Barnhardi Basin (post) so we didn’t need to do that anymore. We had toyed with the idea of still hiking up to DeGarmo Notch but we had seen that feature the day before as well and we were hot, tired, and a little sick of bushwacking which the 9.4 mile hike had some more of. That left us with the 1.4 mile out and back or 2.6 mile loop, both of which visited the waterfall.

Before we decided which option we would be doing we needed to get across DeGarmo Creek. Sullivan had warned of a dangerous crossing just above a 10′ waterfall and recommended following a rock ledge 50′ upstream to an easier crossing. Given the time of year the creek wasn’t flowing very strongly and vegetation was crowding the rock ledge so we opted to cross above the 10′ waterfall despite the warning.
IMG_1533It’s not visible in this photo but there were dry rocks close enough on the far side to simply step over the water onto. The wet rock would have been very slippery and certainly dangerous.

We followed a path upstream and found the location of Sullivan’s recommended crossing.

A steep trail led up around the vegetation along the creek into a wider canyon that had some very interesting rock formations. It was also extremely warm as it was directly in the sun and there was no breeze.




We had our eyes out for snakes but only saw a couple of lizards.

The 35′ waterfall was just .7 miles up the canyon and it came into view well before we arrived at it.

The temperature at the falls was much more pleasant and was a popular spot with the local butterflies.






We took a relaxing break at the falls surrounded by the butterflies. When it was time to continue our hike we both agreed that neither one of us was up for what it would take to do any of the options other than the 1.4 mile out and back. In order to do any of the longer hikes, even the 2.6 mile loop, we would have needed to follow a steep scramble route 200′ before the falls up around some cliffs. We had both spied the route on our way to the falls and both thought “not today”.
IMG_1619The scramble route is at the base of the cliff to the right.

IMG_1620Looking up from the trail at where the scramble route was heading.

We were happy with our choice and ready to get out of the heat so we retraced our steps back to the 10′ water fall.


The smaller waterfall had been invaded by butterflies too.


After carefully driving the wretched half mile to Hart Mountain Road we headed back to Lakeview to treat ourselves to burgers and milkshakes from the Burger Queen drive thru. It was our shortest day so far of the vaction at 8.7 miles (6.8 at Petroglyph Lake, 0.4 at the overlook, and 1.5 at DeGarmo Canyon) but that was plenty. Thursday’s hike had the potential of being the longest of our trip as we were set to visit one of the six remaining wilderness areas in Oregon that we had yet to hike in, the Gearhart Mountain Wilderness. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Petroglyph Lake, Warner Valley Overlook, and DeGarmo Canyon

Central Oregon Hiking Lakeview Oregon Trip report

Flook Lake and Hart Mountain Hot Springs – 07/21/2020

Tuesday marked the start of a short stretch of possible showers and thunder storms but not until Tuesday night so we had decided the night before to start the day at Flook Lake in the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. Originally we had planned on doing hikes at Flook Lake, Petroglyph Lake, and Hart Mountain Hot Springs all in the same day, but that plan had changed. We wanted to do Flook Lake before any possible showers because Flook Lake road can become dangerously muddy when wet. We had also moved a side trip to Warner Peak, the high point in the refuge, to our Hart Mountain Hot Springs stop instead of tacking it onto our DeGarmo Canyon hike. The reason for that move was to avoid being exposed at an elevation over 7000′ if a thunder storm rolled in which looked possible both Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Finally we believed that the road to Petroglyph Lake had been closed adding at least 3 miles to that hike which would have been a little too much distance for one day. If that road turned out to be open we were still planning on doing it along with Flook Lake and the hot springs, but if it was indeed closed we planned on doing it first thing Wednesday morning before DeGarmo Canyon.

We left Lakeview at 5am and headed northeast to Plush stopping along county road 3-13 to admire the sunrise.
IMG_0804Hart Mountain in the morning.

After passing through plush we continued on county road 3-12 (Hart Mountain Road) climbing past the rim of Hart Mountain where we spotted our first pronghorn.



We continued on past Petroglyph Lake Road which was, as we suspected, closed to cars.
IMG_1483(photo from the next day)

A mile past Petroglyph Lake Road (24 miles from Plush) we came to the refuge headquarters which was closed to visitors due to COVID-19. There were numerous pronghorn antelope near the headquarters.
IMG_0822Just a few of the many pronghorn.

At the far end of the headquarters we veered left following pointers for Frenchglen for 6.7 miles to Flook Lake Road. We turned right onto this rocky dirt track for 1.8 miles (the final 6 on Flook Lake’s former lake bed, now an alkali flat) parking next to a dry reservoir.
IMG_0825Flook Lake Road continuing on with Beatys Butte in the distance.

IMG_0824The reservoir

IMG_0828Steens Mountain on the horizon to the east through smoky skies.

It was going to be another 90 degree day and even with our early start it was already warm as we set off toward a canyon SW of where we had parked. We expected to have to walk cross country for nearly a mile to reach the mouth of the canyon but well worn tire tracks allowed for a little easier walking. (I’m not sure if the road was official or the result of illegal off-road driving which would be very disappointing.)
IMG_0829The canyon we were aiming for from near our car.

IMG_0830Zoomed in a bit.

The track we were following eventually faded out along an outwash channel.

After a short stint walking through sagebrush we picked up another track that went right past a closed to motor vehicles sign.

This track didn’t appear to enter the canyon though and it was cross country through the canyon which was busy with wildlife.


IMG_0843Rabbit #1

IMG_0851Rabbit #2

IMG_0855Rabbit #3

IMG_0857A lone juniper in the canyon.

IMG_0860Rabbit #4

Near the end of this half mile canyon there are some Petroglyphs which are currently being guarded by a yellow bellied marmot.




After looking at (and NOT TOUCHING) the petroglyphs we continued to the canyon’s end at Antelope Spring.


IMG_0892Horned lark near the spring.

We returned the way we’d come commenting on how far way our car still looked from the mouth of the canyon.

IMG_0906Rabbit #5, this one was a jack rabbit.

After returning to our car we drove back through the refuge headquarters staying straight following pointers for the hot springs. Keeping right for 4.5 miles brought us to a parking area next to the hot springs.



We saved the soak in the 102 degree hot spring for after our hike and set off from the parking lot along a gated road toward the Hot Springs Campground.


This road passed another hot spring before arriving at Barnhardi Road in half a mile near the campground.

IMG_0927Hawk hanging out near the hot springs.

IMG_0930Butterfly on dusty maiden.

IMG_0942Barnhardi Road

IMG_0943Campground across Rock Creek.

We turned right on Barnhardi Road for .3 miles to a gate.
IMG_0944Becker’s white


IMG_0950Sagebrush mariposa lily


We walked past the gate continuing on the road for almost two miles ignoring a road on the right at the 1 mile mark atop a crest.
IMG_0957Hawk overhead

IMG_0973Balsamroot in the sagebrush.

IMG_0983Wild roses in a quaking aspen stand.

IMG_0985Biggest bumble bee either of us had ever seen.

IMG_0997Coming up on the crest at the 1 mile mark.

IMG_0998_stitchView after the crest heading down to Barnhardi Basin.

IMG_1010Sheep moth

Almost two miles from the gate we arrived at a post marking a trail to the collapsing Barnhardi Cabin.

We followed the faint path through a wet meadow filled with mosquitoes to the cabin.
IMG_1016Lewis flax blooming in the meadow.

IMG_1020Barnhardi Cabin

Our plan was to hike up to Warner Peak from the cabin following a route described by Sullivan. Our first misstep was not going back a bit from the cabin and getting well away from the marshy area behind the cabin. Instead we simply angled away from the cabin. This led us through the marshy area where there were some nice flowers but also a ton of mosquitoes.


We took a hard right following game trails through the wet area and out a grassy area where a faint path was visible.

Sullivan’s directions were to follow a little creek up through aspen groves to DeGarmo Notch but after fighting through the vegetation and mosquitoes along the creek behind the cabin we decided to try and skirt the aspen groves in the sagebrush. Growing up in the Bend/Redmond area I was used to walking through sagebrush but here the sagebrush was much taller and thicker than I was used to.

20200721_101324Another sheep moth

It was tough going but we were making progress and came to a spring with yellow monkeyflowers. Near the spring we both thought we heard a rattle although neither of us saw a snake or were 100% sure that it was really what we’d heard.
IMG_1035The spring.

IMG_1038White triteleia

We headed away form the spring loudly just in case there were snakes about and decided to cross the creek in a gap between aspen groves. Sullivan’s map showed the route crossing to the other side at some point and we felt this was as good a time as any.

The next obstacle was a rocky knoll to the left of the creek and more aspen. We veered between a bit of a gap in the aspen and sidehilled around the knoll.

IMG_1045Barnhardi Basin from the side of the knoll.

IMG_1046View across the creek.

IMG_1047The knoll was steeper and brushier than it had appeared from below but we managed to make it around.

IMG_1056Hawk flying around above us.

From the other side of the knoll we got a good look at the next leg of our uphill bushwhack.
IMG_1059High Point is the peak ahead.

We were being watched from the hillside above as we tried to figure out are next move.


Looking at the map in the guidebook and checking the elevation on our GPS units showed that we were actually above DeGarmo Notch which was shown on the map with an elevation of 6970′ and we were around 7150′ which was fine with us because we would have had to climb up eventually. To get to the notch as shown on the map we would have needed to continue to follow the aspen to their end. From where we were we could see the spot and it would have added needless distance and climbing.
IMG_1198DeGarmo Notch

We were now heading south west toward High Point as we traversed across the hillside above Barnhardi Basin.

IMG_1084We had to drop under this.

IMG_1088Warner Peak is straight ahead with a tower on top beyond the line of trees in the distance.

IMG_1090Barnhardi Basin getting further away.

IMG_1092Looking back toward DeGarmo Notch.

When we could see beyond High Point we could see that the terrain did some up and down on it’s way to Warner Peak. Our plan was to climb as gradually as possible to avoid having to lose elevation and make it back up later.
IMG_1095We first aimed for the the small rock outcrop beyond High Point then bent to the right to pass the larger rock outcrop before climbing up to the trees in the distance.

IMG_1101Passing another canyon coming up from the west.

IMG_1106Made it past the first outcrop and heading for the right side of the second.

IMG_1107At the second outcrop.

It was a fairly steep climb from the second outcrop to the trees. I arrived first and was greeted by a doe.


I waited for Heather here to plot the final climb to Warner Peak which was now fully revealed.

It was a fairly level walk from the trees to the start of the final steep climb that brought us to Hart Mountain’s highest point.

From Warner Peak we could see the parking area by the Hot Springs and much of the route we’d taken to get to the summit.
IMG_1143The white patch in the distance to the right just beyond the shadow is the parking area.

IMG_1147Our car was still there.

IMG_1137View south over Hart Mountain.

IMG_1158SW to Drake Peak with part of Hart Lake visible below the cliffs.

IMG_1134Looking north toward Juniper Mountain.

IMG_1133East toward Steens Mountain

After a nice long break we started back down. It was easier going since we weren’t climbing anymore and we knew that we could follow our track up to get back down. The more relaxed walk back allowed us to better enjoy the flowers that were around.
IMG_1162Prairie smoke

20200721_124500Balloon pod milk vetch



IMG_1190Mountain coyote mint

IMG_1200Police car moth on hyssop

We avoided the marshy area around the cabin this time and didn’t hear anything that sounded like a rattle. We did however get a good look at an American kestral.

We had considered doing a loop from the cabin that Sullivan describes by following Rock Creek back to the Hot Springs Campground. It was only .3 miles longer but much of it was trailless and we were hot and tired of bushwhacking so we opted to just walk back on Barnhardi Road. As we got back to that road the clouds were moving in quickly.

We shuffled along the road in the heat looking forward to soaking in the Hot Springs before leaving but we still stopped occassionally for photos.

IMG_1233Butterflies on rabbitbrush

IMG_1238Sagebrush mariposa lily


As we neared the gate on Barnhardi Road two things happened. First we were passed by a mountain biker, the first person we’d encountered since Daly Lake three days earlier and second we finished off our all our water. We were only about a half mile from the car where we had more but we were thankful when we got to the gate and the biker offered us a cold water bottle. We finished that off on our way back to the car and then had our soak before heading back to Lakeview. We never heard any thunder or saw any lightening but a few raindrops hit our windshield on the way back and the wind had picked up so much that there were white caps on Hart Lake as we drove by.

It was another tough day in the heat (although we did get a little chilly on Warner Peak just before heading down). We did 2.7 miles at Flook Lake and another 10.8 to Warner Peak with a combined elevation gain of roughly 2500′.

That night we decided to amend our plan for the next day even further and do the Petroglyph Lake hike followed by the short Warner Valley Overlook Loop that we had passed on our drive to and from the refuge that day. We then would end the day with the shortest option that Sullivan described for DeGarmo Canyon. It would be a shorter day giving us a little more time to rest and an excuse to swing by the Burger Queen in Lakeview and get milk shakes. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Flook Lake and Hart Mountain Hot Springs

Central Oregon Hiking Lakeview Oregon Trip report

Crooked Creek – 07/20/2020

We knew which hikes we wanted to do during our stay in Lakeview but the order of the hikes was up in the air due to the chance of some mid-week thunderstorms. Our hikes were somewhat spread out which allowed us to keep an eye on the forecasts for each one and attempt to optimize our experience. Based on what we had seen Sunday night after arriving in Lakeview we decided to make Crooked Creek our outing for Monday. This was the closest hike to Lakeview so it gave us a bit of a break on driving too.

For the hike we started at the Mill Trailhead.

Like our previous hike at Winter Ridge this hike followed the Fremont National Recreation Trail. We had expected to have to find some rocks or a downed tree to get across Crooked Creek at the trailhead. The trailhead used to be another 2.5 miles further along the road but floods washed it out. We were happy to find a footbridge in place across the creek.

Beyond this initial crossing the map in our guidebook showed the trail following the old roadbed on the left side of the creek to the original trailhead so we were surprised when we came to a second crossing just .2 miles from the trailhead.

In another .2 miles we were once again forced to find rocks to hop across the creek on.

Once we had made it across the creek again we noticed a trail joining on the left.
IMG_0799The trail joining the road after the 3rd creek crossing (picture is from the afternoon).

As it turned out we had walked past a side trail to the left just before reaching the second creek crossing without noticing it. We discovered this when we followed the trail on the way back to the trailhead.
IMG_0801Downed post marking the trail to avoid the creek crossings.

We continued on the road arriving in another .2 miles at a large sign announcing the site of a former sawmill.


We continued on noting the vast stark difference in the trees and vegetation on either side of Crooked Creek. The hills on the north side of the creek were mostly juniper trees and sagebrush while pine and fir trees grew on the south side.

IMG_0394A short stretch where both sides looked similar.


IMG_0406Dry waterfall

IMG_0405Smooth stemmed blazing star

As we gained some elevation we started seeing more wildflowers.
IMG_0410Oregon sunshine


IMG_0417Butterfly sleeping on yarrow

IMG_0419Sticky purple geranium

IMG_0434A mallow


IMG_0442Rough eyelashweed

IMG_0454Various wildflowers along the road bed.


IMG_0463White triteleia

Things got a bit confusing again when we arrived at the old trailhead. Our guidebook showed the Fremont Trail beginning here on the left side of Crooked Creek but the only thing that looked at all like a trail was this.

We tried following it and wound up next to a pile of tree clippings from what appeared to be recent thinning operations.

We did some searching along the hillside above the creek thinking that we might have missed the trail heading further up the hillside.
IMG_0488Piles from thinning while we were searching for the trail.

After almost a quarter mile along the hillside we found the trail coming steeply uphill from Crooked Creek. To add to the confusion here there were National Recreation Trail markers on a number of trees in the area, some of which were no where near the trail.
IMG_0493Marker on a juniper heading away from Crooked Creek.

IMG_0490Markers on seemingly random trees.

In any event we had found the trail again. On our return trip we would follow the trail down to Crooked Creek which we crossed to reach a road bed. We then turned right on that roadbed, crossed Big Cove Creek and then Crooked Creek again to arrive at the old trailhead.
IMG_0769Big Cove Creek crossing.

IMG_0770Crooked Creek crossing near the old trailhead.

The Fremont Trail passed through a series of open hillsides which were pretty dry at first but became greener as we climbed up the canyon.

IMG_0507Sagebrush mariposa lily


IMG_0518Checker mallows

IMG_0534A wetter meadow

IMG_0535Bog orchids

The trail also spent some time in the forest finally leaving the juniper and sagebrush behind.


IMG_0541Blurry doe through the trees.

Just over 5 miles along we reached an easy crossing of the North Fork Crooked Creek.

The trail then rounded a ridge end and followed the South Fork Crooked Creek for .6 miles before crossing it just below a series of meadows.


White water buttercupsWhite water buttercups

The trail skirted the meadows for the next mile and a half which would have been nice if not for the mosquitoes that the meadows were home to. They weren’t anywhere near the worst we’ve seen but we couldn’t stop for long. We eventually were forced to break out the spray but not before Heather had collected a good number of bites (I think I only got one, they like her WAY better).

Just under a mile along this stretch the trail crossed an old road bed that functions as the Crane Mountain Trail (and a mosquito hatching ground).


We did stop for a moment at a second crossing of the creek to admire some pink monkeyflower.


At the end of the meadows we arrived at FR 3615 and the South Fork Crooked Creek Trailhead
IMG_0609FR 3615

IMG_0612The trailhead.

IMG_0614Trailhead host

We stopped at the trailhead to decide our next course of action. It was already warm and a break sounded good, but there wasn’t really a spot for one at the trailhead. Heading back down the trail meant going through the mosquito gauntlet again and taking a break along that stretch was out. A third option was to continue uphill .7 miles from the trailhead following a roadbed to Fence Pass at an elevation of 7440′. Sullivan described it as a sagebrush covered hillside with some of the best views of the Drake Peak area. We figured that there wouldn’t be any mosquitoes up there so we headed up a dirt road arriving at a split that wasn’t shown on the guidebook map.

After consulting our Garmins we discovered that the checkermallow covered roadbed to the right ended shortly near a spring feeding the South Fork Crooked Creek.

We turned left to stay on the correct roadbed which headed steeply uphill past the continuation of the Fremont Trail.

IMG_0625Fremont Trail on the left.

The road headed for Twelvemile Peak before veering to the south of that peak to the pass. The hillside was mostly sagebrush as described with a fair number of wildflowers mixed in.

IMG_0695Oregon sunshine

IMG_0691Grand collomia


IMG_0651A paintbrush

IMG_0635Checkermallow and paintbrush

IMG_0634What had been a Brown’s peony

The views were also as described with Twelvemile Peak on our left (north), Light Peak and Drake Peak on our right and our route up behind us. We made it to Fence Pass where a gentle breeze helped cool us off and the lack of mosquitoes allowed us to take a nice break.

IMG_0666Light Peak from Fence Pass

IMG_0656_stitchDrake Peak and Light Peak

IMG_0658The Drake Peak Lookout which is on Light Peak

IMG_0677Twelvemile Peak

IMG_0653Looking back over our route up.

IMG_0661Mt. Shasta off to the SW

IMG_0664Hart Mountain to the SE.

After a nice break we headed back. The mosquitoes weren’t as noticeable on the return trip but the butterflies (and police car moths) were. In addition the sagebrush mariposa lilies had opened up allowing us to see them better.








It was another 90+ degree day back at the trailhead and after 15.5 miles and a little over 2500′ of elevation gain it didn’t feel all that great, but the hike had been enjoyable. We headed back to Lakeview and checked the weather again to see what had changed. Based on the ever shifting forecasts we decided to tweak our plans a bit which turned out to be for the best in the long run. For Tuesday we decided to do Flook Lake and Hart Mountain Hot Springs to Warner Peak with an option to also do Petroglyph Lake if the road was open. If it was closed as we suspected we would do that one with DeGarmo Canyon later in the week. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Crooked Creek