Strawberry Mountain Wilderness

National Park in John Day

Named for the wild strawberries that thrive on its mountain slopes, the Strawberry Range is covered with ponderosa and lodgepole pines growing on glacier-chiseled volcanic peaks that are 15 million years old. A popular and rewarding 2.8-mile round-trip hike winds up a steep valley to Strawberry Lake. About 1 mile past the lake is Strawberry Falls. To reach the trailhead, follow the signs 11 miles south from Prairie City.

The Strawberry Mountains contain deceptively high country: much of the wilderness is above 6000ft, and the highest peak – Strawberry Mountain – rises to 9038ft. The elevation means you can encounter snow at any time of year, and weather conditions are volatile. Contact the Prairie City Ranger District for information on roads, trail access and weather. Some areas may be closed unexpectedly due to forest fires – again, check with the ranger district for the latest.

For more hiking trails, circle around to the south side of the wilderness area on Hwy 14 and paved USFS Rds 65 and 16, past old ponderosa pines and wide meadows. Hike into High Lake Basin (2.6 miles round-trip) from a trailhead high up the mountainside. From USFS Rd 16, turn on USFS Rd 1640 toward Indian Springs Campground. The trailhead is 11 miles up a steep gravel road.

There are several good campgrounds, including Trout Farm, a lovely stream-side spot 15 miles south of Prairie City. Water is available.