Zumwalt Prairie Preserve (Oregon)

Spectacular colorful spring to summer wildflower blooms carpet the rolling prairie grasslands and canyons, with good wildlife viewing - raptors and other birds, small to large mammals, and pollinators in Oregon's largest Nature Conservancy Preserve. Fall and winter viewing of raptors and other wildlife.

on the trail

Hike on four  trails (up to 7 miles total) to view and photograph dozens of colorful wildflower species in bloom along with raptors and other birds, small to large mammals, sweeping grassland-flora landscapes with backdrops of close-in high buttes or the more distant snow-capped Wallowa Mountains.

Zumwalt Prairie Preserve is a place of nature's superlatives, as part of the largest remaining Pacific Northwest bunchgrass prairie in North America, high concentrations of spring to summer wildflower blooms, and has one of the highest concentrations of breeding hawks and golden eagles in the world.    Expect to see wildflowers from February through October, with peak blooms and varieties during May through July.   Among several raptor species are golden eagles, prairie falcons, Ferruginous hawks, Swainson's hawks, and during fall and winter after migrating south from arctic are rough-legged hawks.  Preserve access is day use only and trails are limited to hiking.

Patti's Trail: 2.3 mile loop with 80 feet gain, leads into headwaters of Camp Creek across a variety of terrain including old homesteader's fields and native prairie with Harsin and Findley Buttes in distance. 

Horned Lark Trail: 1.9 mile loop trail begins on divide between Grande Ronde and Imnaha river basins, and loops through Pine Creek riparian areas and diverse native prairie.

Harsin Butte Trail: 1 mile in-and-out trail gains 700 feet of elevation and skirts small stand of pine trees.  It's a bit of a scramble to the 5,500-fot summit, and the 360-degree view reveals the vast prairie setting.

Canyon Vista Trail: 1.8 mile in-and-out trail begins in a wooded draw near head of Trail Creek and climbs 1.8 miles to viewpoint of the beautiful Imnaha canyonlands.

Notes

  • Guidebook:  100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon, 3rd ed. by Willian L. Sullivan (Navillus Press 2015).
  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Length: 7.0
  • Elevation Gain: 800 ft
  • 5,500 ft
  • Land Manager: The Nature Conservancy
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 13
Map
  • see Land Manager
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