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U.S. Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Region Viewing Area


Snowbrush ceanothus Snowbrush ceanothus (Ceanothus velutinus) in bloom. Photo by Catherine Hovanic.

Clarkia pulchella Clarkia pulchella shows off pink lobed petals and enjoys several common names: pink fairies, deer horn, ragged robbin, elkhorns. Photo by Fred Weinmann.

Blue Mountain Penstemon Open rocky slopes are home to several species of Penstemon. This Blue Mountain Penstemon, Penstemon venustus, bears bright bluish lavender flowers. Photo by Fred Weinmann.

scarlet gilia A member of the phlox family, scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata) is easy to spot with its riotous red color. Photo by Kathy Murray.

Tiger Canyon/FS Road 65

Forest: Umatilla National Forest

District: Walla Walla Ranger District

Description: Forest Service Road 65 begins at an elevation of 2400 feet in the Blue Mountains and ascends to 2800 feet along Tiger Creek in the first mile or so. At that point, the road begins to switchback up the side of Indian Ridge climbing to Tiger Saddle at about 5100 feet. The road winds through coniferous forest comprised mainly of grand fir and Douglas fir, past basalt outcrops, through open meadows, offering views of Tiger Canyon to the south and Mill Creek to the east.

Wildflower viewing: Early arrivals (April to May) to lower open slopes will see numerous species of biscuitroot, Lomatium cous, Lomatium grayi, Lomatium macrocarpum, Lomatium nudicaule, Lomatium dissectum, Lomatium triternatum. Other early bloomers as the snow begins to recede, include glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum), prairie star or woodlandstar (Lithophragma parviflorum), blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora), seep monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus), grass widow (Olsynium douglasii inflatum), paintbrush (species of Castilleja). By May, open meadows host blooming balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) species of onion (Allium), and larkspur (Delphinium nuttalianum). The best time to view wildflowers in Tiger Canyon is June and July. A visual feast of colors awaits the wildflower enthusiast with the fluorescent reds of scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata), the pinks of Clarkia, the purples of Blue Mountain penstemon (Penstemon venustus), the bluish purples of Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium pulcherrimum), the delightful treat and sweet aroma of the white blossoms of the shrub, mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii).  Other white flowering shrubs include serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) and chokecherry (Prunus virginiana). Other species of Penstemon likely to be seen are Penstemon deustus (hot rock penstemon), Penstemon fruticosus (bush penstemon) and Penstemon richardsonii (cutleaf beardtongue). The illusive flowers of wild ginger (Asarum caudatum) and calypso orchids (Calypso bulbosa) may reward the close observer in shady, forested, moist locations.

Directions: Take County road 582 along Mill Creek south and east out of Walla Walla. Drive approximately 18 miles, go right across the bridge on Mill Creek, then 0.3 miles to Umatilla National Forest boundary and then proceed up Forest Road 65 via Tiger Canyon to Tiger Saddle and the headwaters of the North Fork of the Walla Walla River. From Tiger Saddle you will be looking east into the South Fork of the Walla Walla River.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Umatilla National Forest, Walla Walla Ranger District.

Closest town: Walla Walla, Washington.