trip reports

September 15, 2019

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

While camping at Smith Rock State Park over the weekend, two friends and I explored the Oregon Badlands Wilderness on a day hike. This was our first time visiting here, and we didn’t know what to expect other than it would be hot. It was sunny and 80 degrees, which was indeed hot. There’s no water anywhere in this wilderness, so we made sure to bring plenty with us. We began our hike at the Flatiron Rock trailhead, turning onto the Ancient Juniper trail.

After two miles, we turned left onto the Flatiron Rock trail, continuing for another 1.5 miles to a junction with the Castle Trail. Instead of taking this trail, we turned left and headed up a small hill to Flatiron Rock. There’s a lot of area to explore here, with rock walls lining both sides of the trail as it circles around the top of this area. At a high point, there are big views out to the horizon.

I had wanted to scout this area for potential backpacking, but due to the lack of water, I’m not sure that I’d do an overnight here. If I do, though, it will not be when it’s 80 degrees! Spring would be a much better time to visit this area, when there are more wildflowers blooming and it’s not scorching hot.

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

Flatiron Rock trailhead

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

Ancient Juniper trail

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

the junipers here are tall!

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

ancient junipersĀ on the Ancient Juniper trail

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

sculptural tree

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

green lichens growing on a dead juniper

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

hiking in the heat

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

dramatic lines in the bark

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

trail junction with the Flatiron Trail

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

Flatiron Rock area

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

rock arches in the Flatiron Rock area

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

the rocks on either side are quite different in color and texture

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

view from a high point in Flatiron Rock

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

super bright lichens

Oregon Badlands Wilderness hike

view to the north from Flatiron Rock

Category: Central Oregon