Gray Butte & Skull Hollow

Home » Birding Locations » Jefferson County » South County

Peter Skene Ogden Wayside

More Info Directions

Rimrock Springs WMA

More Info Directions

Alder Springs

More Info Directions




On Hwy 97, go south of Madras about 9 miles past the turnoff to Culver, Look for Jericho Lane. Take Jericho to the east and travel about a mile. Follow the signs to Haystack Reservoir on Haystack Dr. which is south of Jericho Lane. . It is approximately 35 miles from Bend to Haystack Reservoir. From Haystack, continue east on SW King Lane. At 1.6 miles past the east entrance to Haystack Reservoir, the road forks. Take the left fork which becomes Laurel Lane. Travel 2.2 miles on Laurel and you will come to a set of corrals. Turn into the road that goes past the corrals. This is the road to Gray Butte. The sage areas are full of sparrows. At .5 miles up this road, you can take a side trip to the west that will loop you back to Haystack. This road has several old homesteads on it. There are no buildings left but the orchards and ornamental trees are still there and make for good birding (gnatcatchers used to nest here but are rarely found now). Continue up Gray Butte traveling south. The road peaks and begins to weave down-slope. At 1.2 miles from Laurel, the road forks again. Take the right fork (the left will take you through good country and back to Hwy 26). This area is called Skull Hollow and has more Junipers. Skull Hollow is often impassible to two- wheel drive vehicles due to deep rutting so check the road carefully if you lack 4-wheel drive. Several water troughs have been set up along the way and these are popular with the local birds. The road comes out of Skull Hollow and reaches pavement. Turn left to return to Hwy 26 or right to go the O’Neil Valley in Crook County.

For a nice side trip, check out Cyrus Horse Corrals (). After turning off Laurel at the corrals, go 0.5 miles south and turn right on Hagman Lane (unsigned). Take Hagman west for 1.5 miles to the main camp. Search this area for nesting Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. There are other springs and orchards to check just a short distance west from Cyrus. Return the way you came and proceed on to Gray Butte and Skull Hollow.


Habitat and Birds

Riparian springs, sage, and surrounding Juniper forest. Check the riparian areas for Lazuli Buntings. Near the top of the Gray Butte Road, there is an Orchard. This area has had Mountain Quail and Lewis’s Woodpecker. Look for gnatcatchers here. Brewer’s Sparrows are abundant and Lark Sparrows are often present. Long-eared Owls can sometimes be found in the willow patches. Watch for Rattlesnakes as they do frequent this area.