Monument Rock Wilderness Area

 

Overview

The Monument Rock Wilderness is located at the southernmost edge of the Blue Mountains and along the eastern edge of the Strawberry Mountain range. The area was established by Congress in 1984 as part of the Oregon Wilderness Act (P.L. 98-328). 

 

 

Encompassing  20,079-acre wilderness the area extends from the Malheur National Forest (12,879 acres) onto the adjacent Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (7,200 acres).  Offering views across much of northeastern Oregon, elevations ranges from 5,200 feet in the lower slopes to 7,815 feet atop Table Rock. The northern end of the area lies across a watershed divide that separates the headwaters of the Little Malheur River and the upper drainage of the South Fork Burnt River.

The wilderness is mostly forested with ponderosa pine in lower hills stretching up to subalpine fir along the peaks. Other tree species include lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir, white fir, aspen, and juniper. Intermingled amongst the pine-fir forests and riparian stream bottoms are native grasslands with bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue and other indigenous grasses. Throughout the area is diversity of wildlife habitat for species such as mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, badgers, and the rare wolverine. There are 70 species of birds living here, including the creek-loving American dipper and the pileated woodpecker.  Soils in the area are predominantly volcanic ash, and rocks that are mostly lavas poured out over the land.

Wildfires such as the Monument Fire of 2002 have altered the landscape in and are especially evident in the northern watersheds.  These natural fires however have several benefits. They create a mosaic of different vegetative types which in turn create a diversity of habitats reduce heavy fuel accumulations (litter, branches, fallen trees, etc.) caused by years of fire suppression. If you hike in these areas be aware that there are still many areas with standing dead lodgepole pine and on windy days can pose an extreme hazard.

Recreation Opportunities

Recreation season usually begins in early summer and runs through November. Winter storms and summer thunderstorms are common along the mountain ridges, drawing up to 40 inches of annual precipitation-twice as much as the surrounding lowlands. The majority of the use is during hunting seasons, with incidental use the rest of the time.

The Monument Rock Wilderness offers hiking and horseback riding opportunities (motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited in wilderness areas). The Bullrun Rock viewpoint and Table Rock Lookout which is accessible in a high clearance vehicle offers panoramic views of surrounding mountain ranges and valleys.

Main Access Points

Trailheads from Unity side

Amelia Trailhead (Amelia Creek Trail #1973)
Bullrun Trailhead (Bullrun Trail #1973)
Table Rock North Trailhead (Table Rock Trail #1960)

Trailheads from Prairie City side

Table Rock Trailhead (Table Rock Trail #365)
North Little Malheur (Little Malheur Trail #366)
South Little Malheur  (Little Malheur Trail #366)

Location

The Monument Rock Wilderness lies 25 miles southeast of Prairie City, Oregon and 10 miles southwest of Unity, Oregon.

More Information

Current information about the area's recreation sites or trail conditions can be found by contacting the  Whitman Ranger District Office, or checking the Recreation Condition Reports. For more information including a map of the area, fact sheet and a copy of the 1984 Oregon Wilderness Act visit wilderness.net


 





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/wallowa-whitman/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5213228