- The Malheur National Forest encompasses 1,460,000 acres of the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. The diverse and beautiful scenery of the forest includes high desert grasslands, sage and juniper, pine, fir and other tree species, and the hidden gems of alpine lakes and meadows. Elevations vary from about 4000 feet (1200 meters) to the 9038 foot (2754 meters) top of Strawberry Mountain. The Strawberry Mountain range extends east to west through the center of the Forest.
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, Malheur National Forest
Solitude, tranquility, and beauty abound in this Forest. On over 200 miles of trails, one can walk through forests of pine and fir, climb timbered slopes to scenic alpine lakes and meadows, or enjoy the grasslands, sage, and juniper. The Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, with its 9,038-foot peak, extends east to west through the heart of the Forest and the Monument Rock Wilderness overlooks the eastern boundary.
Areas of Interest on the Malheur:
The Cedar Grove Botanical Area in Eastern Oregon's Aldrich Mountains covers about 26 acres and contains the only isolated stand of Alaska yellow cedar east of the Cascades in the United States. This grove is located on the northeast slope of Aldrich Mountain at the head of Buck Cabin Creek on the Bear Valley Ranger District. A one mile trail leads through the stand.
The Vinegar Hill-Indian Rock Scenic Area is located in the northeast part of the Forest. This high elevation area provides spectacular vistas, plentiful wildlife and wildflowers and solitude (except during hunting season).
Magone Lake, about 26 miles north of John Day, is one of the area's most popular lakes. The lake covers about 50 acres. This area offers camping, swimming, hiking, fishing, geology viewing, and wildflower viewing.
In the Monument Rock Wilderness, at the southernmost edge of the Blue Mountains, the area's alpine, once-glaciated ridges offer views across much of eastern Oregon. Hunting is the most popular activity, with hiking and backpacking increasing in popularity. Table Rock Lookout draws many visitors and is one of the entry points to the Wilderness.
The Strawberry Mountains Wilderness, east of John Day, includes approximately 68,700 acres and encompasses the headwaters of Pine, Indian, Strawberry, Canyon, Bear, Lake, Wall, Roberts, and Big Creek. The area is dominated by the Strawberry Mountain Range with the highest point being Strawberry Mountain, with the elevation of 9,038 feet. This area has extremely diverse ecological makeup. Five of the seven major life zones in North America can be found here.
The Forest contains two designated Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Malheur and the North Fork of the Malheur. Most recreationists seek these rivers for their abundance of scenic beauty, relaxation, fishing opportunities, and remoteness.
Recreation - The Malheur offers a full range of outdoor recreation opportunities in an uncrowded region. Some of these opportunities include Some of the many activities include camping, picnicking, fishing, backpacking, horseback riding, hunting, four-wheel driving, motorcycle and ATV riding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Campers enjoy both developed campgrounds and traditional primitive campsites around the Forest. Campgrounds usually offer their normal services between May 25 and October 31. When fire danger conditions become extreme, open campfires may be restricted and campers will need to have self-contained stoves.
The Malheur offers several cabins and lookouts available for overnight recreation rental. Contact the Forest for reservations.
On the Malheur there are hunting seasons for mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, pronghorn antelope, and bighorn sheep. The fishing season is regulated by the State of Oregon, usually beginning in April. Stream fishing does not really become good until after spring runoff in May, June and July.
The Malheur National Forest has 502 miles of designated snowmobile trails and 6.5 miles of cross-country ski trails. Snowmobile trails are marked in a reflectorized brown and creme with orange diamonds, cross-country ski trails are marked with blue diamonds and/or user symbols used in conjunction to denote appropriate trail use.
Climate - By the end of June, summer temperatures have usually arrived, along with greater fire danger. Temperatures are often in the 90's at lower elevations, somewhat cooler in the mountains. Afternoon thunderstorms are common.
Winter weather begins in October, usually lasting until March. At higher elevations, snowpack varies from four to eight feet deep. Snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, ice fishing and sledding are all popular winter activities. About April, changeable spring weather arrives. Although a late spring snowfall is not uncommon, roads and trails begin to open up by June.
The Malheur National Forest lies in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon, with its headquarters in the town of John Day. U.S. Highways 395 and 26 are the two main highways which run through the area.