Day Hike - Zumwalt Prairie Preserve


Day Hike - Zumwalt Prairie Preserve

CANCELED 4/5 due to preserve COVID closure. Enjoy spring's great abundance of natural wonders here - see many diverse and endemic wildflowers, bees and butterfly pollinators, raptors and other wildlife, scenic landscapes of Zumwalt Prairie. Our final reward will be a late spring lower subalpine wildflower hike on Falls Creek trail in nearby Wallowas. Naturalist/photo opportunities abound in Zumwalt and along Falls Creek!

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Fri, May 29, 2020 — Sun, May 31, 2020
  • Seattle Naturalists Committee
  • Exploring Nature, Photography, Day Hiking
  • Adults
  • Easy/Moderate, Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 5,000 ft

7:30am - Jct Crow Crk road & highway 82

4/5 update:  Zumwalt Prairie Currently Closed Due To COVID-19 and until further notice.  

Zumwalt Prairie Currently Closed Due To COVID-19

Following Governor Brown's "Stay Home, Save Lives" Executive Order and wanting to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to close our preserves from 03/23/2020 until further notice. While getting outside for a walk, run or hike in an uncrowded area can help keep us both physically and mentally healthy during this trying time if social distancing guidelines are followed, it can be nearly impossible to stay the recommended six feet away from others on narrow trails. Due to large crowds in close proximity in parks and on trails, we are acting consistently with Oregon State Parks and closing our preserves to the public for the time being.

For Mountaineers members only.   Minimum 3.

2 days easy to moderate hiking at Zumwalt Preserve and Buckhorn Lookout area  1/2 day at Falls Creek trail (Hurricane Crk T/H).   See route/trail link for Zumwalt trail descriptions.  Leader will provide copies of Zumwalt and Falls Creek trail descriptions to participants.

Leisurely pace for photo / naturalist opps with short to extended stops.   We'll look at, and aim to identify and photograph some of the abundant and local spring wildflowers, bees and butterfly pollinators, raptors and other wildlife, and the scenic landscapes of the short-grass prairie and Imnaha canyonlands.  Many pollinating bee species (80-100+) and butterflies species (approx 50) are associated with the varied, abundant flowering plant species in the Zumwalt Prairie.  If we're lucky, we'll see a few moths, bees and other insects whose appearance mimic bumblebees or hummingbirds. 

Expect to see blue clematis and other early blooming flowers along Falls Creek trail.

Reserved accommodations recommended ASAP:  camping (tenting, yurt) at Wallowa Lake SP, Wallowa Lake Lodge cabins, or motel/B&B in Joseph or Enterprise.  Leader is tenting at Wallowa Lake SP.

Visiting the Zumwalt Prairie (overview, resources, exploring beyond):

Zumwalt Prairie IBA:

For Zumwalt Prairie and Buckhorn Lookout plant lists, see Paul Schlichter's Flora and Fauna Northwest website , select link to Northwest Plant Lists, Wallowa County, and download plant lists.

Video links below for sample of scenery and flowering plants at Zumwalt Prairie, including Harsin Butte and Patti's Loop trails:

DRIVING/CARPOOLING:  Approx 6-7 hours drive time from Seattle to Enterprise/Joseph, via I-90 and Tri-Cities; approx 5.5 hours from Portland.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Be sure to have good tires, jack and spare tire for drives to Zumwalt and Buckhorn Lookout.  Carpooling encouraged from Seattle/Portland areas and  locally to day hike trailheads. 



Zumwalt Prairie Preserve

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun protection
  3. Insulation (extra clothing)
  4. Illumination
  5. First aid supplies
  6. Fire
  7. Repair kit and tools, including knife
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water)
  10. Emergency shelter
Trip Reports