From Condon drive east on Hwy. 206 4.8 miles to the turn off for Lonerock. Veer right and stay on Lonerock Rd. for another 6 miles. You will wind down a hill to a small valley with a ranch. At the bottom there is a right hand turn near a covered hay storage area. This is Lost Valley Rd. It turns from pavement to gravel soon after this turn. Travel 7 miles, eventually winding downhill into a small valley. At this point you are at the valley floor and should start birding the road. 1.4 miles further will get you to the edge of the woods and a wide parking spot on the left hand side of the road just past the driveway for Hannah Ranch. Walk and bird the road south for a 1/2 mile. The county line is just before a dirt road behind a fence with a No Trespassing sign on the left hand side.
From here you can return the way you came to go back to Condon or you can keep heading south 1.9 miles (a brief dip into Wheeler county) to Trail Fork Rd. which is a sharp right hand turn just past the Lost Valley Ranch. Stay on Trail Fork Rd. for approx. 15.5 miles to connect to Hwy. 19. Turn right on Hwy. 19 to return to Condon. This entire loop is about 42 miles in total. Please see entry for Trail Fork Rd. to get details for this location.Directions
Habitat and Birds
Lost Valley Rd., especially once down in the valley and forest area, is possibly (with the exception of maybe Lonerock) the only area in the county to find forest birds. Fortunately for birders, the road offers so much more and is one of the top spots in the county to bird.
Right at the point where the road turns from paved to gravel is when you should start looking for Grasshopper Sparrow. They can be found along the next 5 mile stretch of road. Also look for Vesper, Savannah, Brewer’s and Lark sparrows as well. One winter a flock of Common Redpolls were found feeding on teasel right around the paved/gravel section of the road.
All three nuthatches, Brown Creeper, Ruffed Grouse, Flammulated Owl, Hairy, Downy and Pileated Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Townsend’s Solitaire, Swainson’s Thrush, Cassin’s Finch, Red Crossbills, Swainson’s Thrush and several species of flycatchers can be found here. In short, one would find most of the forest species expected anywhere in eastern Oregon. Northern Goshawk has been seen here, as has Williamson’s and Red-Naped Sapsucker. On the ridge above, (in Wheeler County) Great Gray Owl has been sighted.
In the valley one can find Chipping, Vesper, and summering Fox Sparrow; Long-billed Curlew, Wilson’s Snipe. There are also some flowering shrubs that are good for hummingbirds. Look for Northern Pygmy-owl throughout this area. Common Nighthawk and Common Poorwill are here. For a couple of consecutive winters, Gray-Crowned Rosy Finches have been found on the hillside heading down into the valley. The flock has varied from the teens to the hundreds. A flock of 508 were reported in January along Lonerock Rd. approx. 4 miles from where it turns off Hwy. 206. During winter, also look for very large flocks of Horned Lark in this general area as Lapland Longspur have been found in the mix.