Area Status: Open
At the southernmost edge of the Blue Mountains, this area's alpine, once-glaciated ridges offer views across much of eastern Oregon. The lichen-covered 8-foot cylindrical stone monument atop Monument Rock may have been erected by pioneer sheepherders. This is a new Wilderness in the old landscape of the eastern Strawberry Mountains. Established in 1984 by the Oregon Wilderness Act, the 19,620-acre Wilderness spills from the Malheur National Forest onto the adjacent Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. The northern end of the area lies across a watershed divide that separates drainages of the South Fork Burnt River, as well as two National Forests. The area ranges from about 5,200 feet in the lower regions to the 7,815-foot top of Table Rock.
In the lower lands you will find ponderosa pine, depending on where you go. You may also find lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir, white fir, aspen, and juniper. If you look down, you will probably see elk sedge, pinegrass, wheatgrass, huckleberry, bluegrass, and many wildflowers. As you hike higher, you will find subalpine fir, just below the treeless mountain crests.
The area's diverse wildlife habitat is used by bear, deer, elk, badgers, and the rare wolverine. There are 70 species of birds including the creek-loving water ouzel (American dipper) and the pileated woodpecker. The visiting season here generally runs between June and November. The John Day Valley funnels winter storms and summer thundershowers to the mountain ridges here. As a result the area receives 40 inches of annual precipitation, twice as much as the surrounding, arid lowlands. Summer brings hot days and chilly nights. Hunting is the most popular activity, with hiking and backpacking increasing in popularity.
At a Glance
||4/03/17 – The Wilderness is open but is not currently accessible by motor vehicle.
Visitors should anticipate heavy burn scaring due to the recent Rail Wildfire. Tree fall will be prevalent. Be mindful of where you camp and rest.
Snow line starts around 4000’ and snow depth can be very different from one area to the next. Many inset valleys and creeks have intermittent patches of tucked away, dense snow. Snow may fall at any time across the forest.
Many Forest Roads are completely inaccessible at this point in time, however, more and more of the Forest is opening to motor vehicle access daily. Be prepared for muddy conditions where there is no snow and please help keep our Forest in pristine conditions by resisting the urge to drive off-road while the soil is subject to erosion.
Click here if you are planning a visit to the Malheur National Forest for this year’s Solar Eclipse.
||Wilderness Regulations apply
||John Day, OR
||Boil for 5 minutes, or treat, water before drinking
||Prairie City Ranger District
Table Rock Lookout draws many visitors and is one of the entry points to the Wilderness. The fire lookout tower on Table Mountain is a good place to begain a visit to the Monument Rock area. After taking in the view, backtrack a half mile down the lookout road and take a level 2-mile stroll along Table Rock Trail #365 to Bullrun Rock's 150-foot cliffs.
The area ranges from about 5,200 feet in the lower regions to the 7,815-foot top of Table Rock.
Key trails: Little Malheur Trail #366, Table Rock Trail #365
From Prairie City, OR., turn onto South Main Street. Follow South Main Street to the junction with Bridge Street. Turn left onto Bridge Street, follow Bridge Street past the local cemetary, the road then becomes County Road 62. Follow County Road 62 approximately 7 miles to the junction with Forest Road 13. Follow Forest Road 13 approximately 11 miles to the junction with Forest Road 1370. Follow Forest Road 1370 approximately 6 miles to the wilderness boundary.
From Unity, OR., in the town of Unity turn onto County Road 600. Follow County Road 600 approximately 7 miles to the junction with Forest Road 6010. You can then either continue on 6010 to Amelia Creek Trailhead or at the junction with Forest Road 030, follow for approximately 0.5 miles to the junction with Forest Road 035. Then follow Forest Road 035 approximatley 2.5 miles to to the Table Rock Trailhead.
Bull Run Rock, Little Baldy Mountain. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.
Buy maps online
Go to the National Forest Store.
Go to Wilderness.net for online maps and other important Wilderness information.