Monument Rock Wilderness: Malheur

Malheur National Forest, Near John Day, Oregon

Monument Rock Wilderness: Malheur does not offer reservations through Please take a look at the area details below for more information about visiting this location. Enjoy your visit!


Wilderness Stewardship Performance

At the southernmost edge of the Blue Mountains, this area's alpine, once-glaciated ridges offer views across much of eastern Oregon. The lichen-covered 8-foot cylindrical stone monument atop Monument Rock may have been erected by pioneer sheepherders. This is a new Wilderness in the old landscape of the eastern Strawberry Mountains. Established in 1984 by the Oregon Wilderness Act, the 19,620-acre Wilderness spills from the Malheur National Forest onto the adjacent Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. The northern end of the area lies across a watershed divide that separates drainages of the South Fork Burnt River, as well as two National Forests. The area ranges from about 5,200 feet in the lower regions to the 7,815-foot top of Table Rock.

In the lower lands you will find ponderosa pine, depending on where you go. You may also find lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir, white fir, aspen, and juniper. If you look down, you will probably see elk sedge, pinegrass, wheatgrass, huckleberry, bluegrass, and many wildflowers. As you hike higher, you will find subalpine fir, just below the treeless mountain crests.

The area's diverse wildlife habitat is used by bear, deer, elk, badgers, and the rare wolverine. There are 70 species of birds including the creek-loving water ouzel (American dipper) and the pileated woodpecker. The visiting season here generally runs between June and November. The John Day Valley funnels winter storms and summer thundershowers to the mountain ridges here. As a result the area receives 40 inches of annual precipitation, twice as much as the surrounding, arid lowlands. Summer brings hot days and chilly nights. Hunting is the most popular activity, with hiking and backpacking increasing in popularity.

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