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U.S. Forest Service

Intermountain Region Viewing Area


Thumnbail map and directions to the Viewing Area.

Balsamorhiza saggitata. Balsamorhiza saggitata. Photo by Chantelle DeLay.

Closeup a Cusick primrose. Cusick Primrose (Primula cusikiana). Photo by Chantelle DeLay.

primrose meadow. Scabland site. Photo by Chantelle DeLay.

Scabland Sagebrush Site

Forest: Payette National Forest

District: Council and Mill Creek Ranger Districts

Description: The Scabland Sagebrush site is a high grass and sagebrush plateau. During spring, visitors can enjoy rolling hills covered in native wildflowers like arrowhead balsamroot, delphinium, grass-widows, and primrose. The view over the scablands includes Mill Creek and Peck Mountain. In the area, visitors may see wildlife such as deer, elk, black bear, and wild turkey.

Viewing Information: There are no formal markers or trail heads, but visitors can enjoy a scenic drive through the farm lands surrounding Council and the Payette National Forest. The main attraction to this site is the scabland sagebrush or stiff sagebrush (Artemisia rigida). The best time to see this site is in the spring (generally May-June) shortly after the snow melts, when the early wildflowers are visible. A couple weeks after the early wildflowers bloom is a good time to see the hills covered in yellow from the arrowleaf balsamroot.

Safety First: This natural area has no restrictions or structures to separate visitors from wildlife or weather. Extreme caution must be exercised when hiking, walking, or even driving through forested lands. The area is also used during the hunting season, so visitors must be aware of their surroundings at all times. Other concerns include mud and water on the road. This road does not get plowed in the winter and can retain moisture into late spring. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.

Directions: The Scabland Sagebrush site is located in Adams County, Idaho. The site can be accessed from the town of Council, Idaho. The main road, Highway 95, dissects Council. From the highway in the center of Council, follow the Council-Cuprum Road (002) for approximately 11 miles up Hornet Creek to Mill Creek. The viewing spot is off of Mill Creek on road 004, just north and west of the cut-off to Peck Mountain. The best place to view the flowers is about 1/8 mile up road 004 from the intersection with the Council-Cuprum road.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Payette National Forest, Council Ranger District.

Closest Town: Council, Idaho.