Pacific Northwest Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Steer's head (Dicentra uniflora). Photo by Teresa Prendusi.
Scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata). Photo by Teresa Prendusi.
Blue flax (Linum perenne). Photo by Teresa Prendusi.
Forest: Willamette National Forest
District: Sweet Home Ranger District
Description: Set aside for its botanical interest, Iron Mountain provides habitat for more than 300 species of flowering plants, which share their beauty throughout the summer season. The Iron Mountain Trail passes through several meadows interspersed with alpine trees before reaching the bare volcanic rock at the top. This Old Cascades area is a wonderful hiking experience with meadows, springs, alpine environments, and a tremendous variety of flora. An interpretive brochure is available at the trailhead.
You can take a loop hike around Iron Mountain by connecting the Iron Mountain trail with the Cone Peak Trail and Santiam Wagon Road.
Viewing Information: Iron Mountain is a well-known Special Interest Area distinguished for its botanical qualities. Eighteen different plant communities and over 300 species of flowering plants are found along the trail. The most famous are the 5 species of penstemon, notably the red rock penstemon. To catch those blooms at their height, plan to go during early July. However, if one comes in June, one may see a unique snow bed flora- plants that emerge just as the snows melt. Examples are steer’s head, glacier lilies and turkey pea.
Directions: From Sweet Home, travel east on Highway 20 for 34 miles to Forest Road 15 and turn right. The parking area is 0.5 miles down the road to your right.
A second access point is located at the end of Forest Road 2000-035 (Civil Road). At approximately 32 miles east of Sweet Home, on Highway 20, turn left on 035 and travel 2.6 miles to the trailhead. This is the shortest route to the top. A restroom is located at this upper trailhead.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Willamette National Forest, Sweet Home Ranger District.
Closest Town: Sweet Home, Oregon.