Oregon Canyon Road and Oregon Canyon Mountains

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Jordan Valley

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Burns Junction

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Antelope Reservoir

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Rock House Reservoir

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Dinwitty Lane and Wroten Road

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3 Forks Area Owyhee River Loop

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Little Grassy Reservoir

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Bone Creek Canyon (Sheephead Mountains) & Crooked Creek Reservoir

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Whitehorse Road

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Batch Lake

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Bogus Lakes

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Crooked Creek Wayside

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Rome & Owyhee River

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Seasons

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Location

Oregon Canyon Mountains, Oregon Canyon Creek, Twin Buttes (42.164854, -118.000708) – This is the most spectacular range of mountains in Malheur Co.. There are two access points into these mountains. The less “white knuckle” experience comes in from just west of McDermitt along Disaster Peak Road driving west 18 miles. The road will fork here.  take the left fork an drive 2.0 miles to Trout Cr. Road. Go north on Trout Cr. Rd. for 8.7 miles and turn right on 15 mile Road near Chicken Springs.  Take 15 mile road Springs and up into the top of the Oregon Canyon Mountains. This road is a dry weather road only! You will need a high clearance vehicle. Do not attempt this road before mid-June due to deep snow drifts. The view from these mountains is truly stunning. One can camp near Twin Buttes and, looking east at night, not see a single electric light in the distance. The second access route is the Echave Ranch Road which can be a “white knuckle” driving experience on wet days. To get there, you leave HWY 95 14 miles north of McDermitt and drive west on Oregon Canyon Road and then up the very steep grade onto the Oregon Canyon Mountains where the only level spot is the road at the top. This is where you will want to jump out and kiss the ground then look at the beauty and the view, in that order. In addition, one can access the area from the north off White Horse Ranch Rd. via Mud Springs Rd (not signed). Enter the region via Oregon Canyon Road and exit the area via the Mud Springs Road. During the dry months, both roads are dry and navigable with a standard 4×4 vehicle. The Mud Springs Road demands a high clearance vehicle more than the Oregon Canyon Road.

Directions

Habitat and Birds

This area is loaded with birds and very interesting habitat. Curl-leaf mountain mahogany is the dominate native tree along the basalt rims while aspen forests fill the canyons along with bitter brush, choke cherry and sage. The birds of this area are amazing from late June-early August. Look for Western Bluebirds here. They are fairly hard to find elsewhere in the county. There are Cassin’s Finch, Red Crossbill, Northern Goshawk, Bushtit, Mountain Chickadee, Virginia Warblers, Black-throated Gray Warblers, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Nashville Warbler, and Fox Sparrows. The White-crowned Sparrows of this region are the oriantha race. This is a great spot for wild flowers and, best of all, birds. In 1998, four pair of Virginia Warblers were located on and near Twin Buttes (elevation 7930′). Down in the west fork of Oregon Canyon Creek, Gray-headed Junco were found breeding in the aspen stands. Watch for Northern Goshawk here as well. They have nested at this location in the past. Wayne Bowers has plenty of experience in this area and offers this advise: Anyone who might be exploring the Oregon Canyon/Trout Creek Mountains in summer: In the past I have found the gnatcatchers nesting in the Tin Troughs Spring area. The Black-throated Gray Warblers also are common nesters in the mountain mahogany patches in that area. To reach it turn right (north at the first two track as you crest the long climb up the road from the Oregon Canyon Ranch which is referred locally and on some maps as the “Wood Road”. I have also seen Lewis’ Woodpeckers nesting in an aspen in the head of Fifteen-mile Creek – the only place in that area I have seen them. Alert!-This is a very isolated area and should you encounter medical issues whileup here you are on your own and will need to rescue yourself.

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