Located about 40 miles northeast of Bend are the beautiful Ochoco Mountains, a 114-mile long picturesque range that is a popular destination for activities such as rock hounding, hiking, trout fishing, and bird watching.
- Located 40 miles northeast of Bend, these mountains extend north to south for 114 miles.
- Rockhounders can find beautiful pieces of petrified wood and moss, as well as agate and other interesting rocks.
- Hike one of the many trails that wind through the mountains.
- Spend a summer day fishing for rainbow trout at Walton Lake.
Situated northeast of Bend are the Ochoco Mountains, which stretch for 114 miles north to south in Central Oregon. The highest peak in these mountains is Lookout Mountain, about 20 miles east of Prineville. When you visit the Ochoco Mountains you will find beautiful old growth Ponderosa pine on the western slopes, while the drier, eastern slopes are covered with sagebrush, Western juniper, and antelope bitterbrush. These mountains attract visitors interested in outdoor activities including hiking, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and rockhounding. From late spring to early summer, wildflowers and butterflies are abundant in some parts of the mountains.
Location and Information
The Ochoco Mountains, Oregon are located about 40 miles northeast of Bend. Lookout Mountain, the highest peak, is about 20 miles due east of Prineville.
- Contact Information: Ochoco National Forest 3160 N.E. 3rd Street Prineville, OR 97754. Phone: 541-416-6500.
- Hiking – A bit more remote, the Ochoco Mountains have many trails that allow visitors to get away from it all and reconnect with nature. The Walton Lake Trail is a scenic 1 mile loop that encircles Walton Lake. Another beautiful, longer trail is the 7.5 mile Round Mountain National Scenic Trail.
- Rockhounding – These mountains have a fascinating and unique geological history that attracts many rockhounds each year. Only certain areas are designated by the BLM for rockhounding. Beautiful pieces of ancient petrified wood and moss, agate, dendrite, and jasper are abundant in the area.
- Fishing – Walton Lake is a popular fishing spot in the Ochocos. Beautiful alpine meadows and majestic old growth Ponderosa pines surround this picturesque lake, which is stocked with rainbow trout three times every summer.
- Lookout Mountain, the tallest peak in the range, is 6,926 feet.
- The mountain range covers nearly 4,900 square miles.
- The Ochoco Mountains contain many interesting fossils, due to the lahars (large mudflows) that occurred during the Eocene epoch. Fossils of flowers, fruits, trees, camels, hippopotamuses, and rhinoceroses have been found here.
- A variety of interesting and beautiful birds are native to the area including the American white pelican, white-headed woodpecker, black-headed grosbeak, red-tailed hawk, and flammulated owl.