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U.S. Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Region Viewing Area


Tapertip onion Tapertip onion (Allium acuminatum) in full bloom, scabland habitat, Paulina District, Ochoco National Forest. Photo by Chuck Hedges.

showy arrowleaf balsamroot and lupine The showy arrowleaf balsamroot and lupine along the Scabland Driving Tour. Photo by Deb Mafera.

Sagebrush mariposa lily Sagebrush mariposa lily (Calochortus macrocarpus) is one of the many pretty wildflowers to be seen along this drive. Photo by Deb Mafera.

buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.) and tapertip onion (Allium acuminatum). Several species of buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.) and tapertip onion (Allium acuminatum) can be seen along the Paulina Scabland Driving Tour. Photo by Deb Mafera.

Paulina District Driving Scabland Tour

Forest: Ochoco National Forest

District: Paulina Ranger District

Description: The Paulina District Driving Scabland Tour is an all-day driving tour through a diverse variety of habitats featuring a wide array of wildflowers.

Viewing and Directions: Starting in Prineville, Oregon, proceed west on Highway 26 past the town of Mitchell. In T12S, R23E, S14, you will come to and turn right onto FS Rd. 12. In about 6 miles, you enter the Ochoco National Forest and will go past Barnhouse Campground. The road keeps climbing to higher elevations, where you will view open scabland habitats. At the junction of Forest Service Roads 12 and 30, there are moist meadows with arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamhoriza sagittata), mule-ears (Wyethia amplexicaulis), and a variety of other wildflowers.

Stay on FS Rd. 12. Eventually, you will start dropping down in elevation and will reach an intersection we call “6 corners” (T14S, R24E, S29) so named because all the main roads come together. At 6 corners you have two options:

  • Option #1 (recommended): On a good wildflower year, you will see a stunning array of wildflowers as you cross through a diverse variety of habitats, as well as gorgeous view of the Snow Mountains. This option takes you through a mosaic of dry pine, juniper forests, scablands, and moist meadows.

    Driving directions for Option 1: From 6 corners, go straight (south) onto FS Rd. 42. When you leave the Ochoco National Forest, you will be on Beaver Creek Highway; keep heading south. Turn right onto the Post-Paulina Highway (also called Paulina-Izee Highway; in T16S, R24E, S20/21), which is County Road 113, which then turns into County Road 112 and then becomes State Highway 380. This will take you back into Prineville.

  • Option #2: At six corners, turn right onto FS Rd. 42 (heading west). In about 8 miles, you will come across a low gradient riparian area with mariposa lilies (Calochortus spp.). Keep driving on FS Rd. 42. Eventually will come to a “T” in the road – continue on FS 42 Rd. to the west. You will travel along the North Fork Crooked River, which leads you to Big Summit Prairie, another featured Wildflower Viewing Site on the Celebrating Wildflowers website. After viewing wildflowers at Big Summit Prairie, continue heading west on Rd. 42. At the junction with Highway 26, turn right and head back into Prineville.

Safety First: Drive carefully, looking out for livestock and wildlife.

Ownership and Management: USDA Forest Service, Ochoco National Forest, Paulina Ranger District.

Closest Town: Prineville, Oregon.

For More Information: Contact Deb Mafera, Invasive Plant Program Manager (541-416-6588) or Katie Grenier, Botany Program Manager (541-383-5564), Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests.