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Rimrock Springs Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to Mt. Jefferson, Rimrock Springs (bobcat)
Yellow sweet-clover (Melilotus officinalis) along the trail, Rimrock Springs (bobcat)
Grizzly Mountain from Rimrock Springs (bobcat)
Oregon sunshine (Eriophyllum lanatum var. integrifolium), Rimrock Springs (bobcat)
The loop hike at Rimrock Springs (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
Rattlesnakes

Contents

Description

A universal access trail and then a gravel path that gains a little elevation comprise this short interpretive loop in the Rimrock Springs Wildlife Management Area in the Crooked River National Grassland southeast of Madras. There are two main points of interest here: a restored marshland that teems with bird life (although it is difficult to see anything because of the cattails) and a couple of rimrock viewpoints that offers vistas to the Oregon Cascades from Mount Hood to Mount Bachelor. Note that the trail can be very hot in the summer so, even though it is short, carry liquids with you.

The paved universal access Rimrock Springs Trail #850 proceeds past the information kiosk and enters a western juniper/sagebrush landscape with lupine and yellow sweet-clover lining the path. Keep left to stay on the paved trail at the loop junction. You’ll pass several interpretive signs and benches along the way. The sweet-clover blooms in early summer and intrudes on the trail here. Look through the junipers to the flats below, and see if you can spot any antelope although you’re more likely to see cattle. Note that a number of junipers have been felled to help restore the natural grassland here. You’ll arrive at the first viewing platform over marshes that have been in the process of restoration since 1992. Grizzly Mountain is the looming prominence to the east. The platform is some distance from the marshes, so you’ll need binoculars to scope out the bird life in the lush cattail expanse: most likely to be seen are coots, mallards, Canada geese, great blue herons, marsh wrens, and yellow-headed blackbirds. Look back, and you can make out Mount Hood on the horizon.

From the viewing platform, take the unpaved Overlook Loop Trail. Soon, a spur leads left. Follow this trail down through a fence and juniper parkland to a second viewing platform, which offers more views over the marshes and across to Grizzly Mountain. A user trail, faint at times, follows Willow Creek from the platform and circles back to the main trail: just a short distance down this trail you’ll see evidence of beaver activity on some heavily gnawed junipers! The Overlook Loop Trail continues up the slope, and you’ll get glimpses of Mount Hood to the north and Gray Butte to the south. Mountain bluebirds are resident here in the spring and summer, their bright flashes obvious as they coast through the junipers. At a rimrock reef, views open up across Highway 26 to the central Cascades, including Mount Bachelor, Broken Top, the Three Sisters. Through the trees directly to the west, Mount Jefferson dominates the skyline, with Olallie Butte to its north. Pine Ridge and Gray Butte are to the south. An interpretive sign explains that this area used to be the floor of a tropical sea! Descending from the viewpoint, you’ll get more vistas to the Cascades and then complete the loop to return to your vehicle.


Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Universal access trail, picnic table, information kiosk, interpretive signs
  • Very hot in summer
  • Dogs on leash

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Rimrock Springs Trail (USFS)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Crooked River National Grassland
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Ochoco National Forest

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Best Easy Day Hikes: Bend & Central Oregon by Lizann Dunegan
  • Best Hikes Near Bend by Lizann Dunegan
  • Day Hiking: Bend and Central Oregon by Brittany Manwill
  • Bend Overall by Scott Cook
  • Hiking Central Oregon & Beyond by Virginia Meissner
  • Central Oregon: Walks, Hikes & Strolls for Mature Folks by Marsha Johnson

More Links


Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.