Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine

Ochoco Mountains, Oregon

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Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine

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  • View of Lookout Mountain (6,926') from the lower trailhead.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Trail from the lower trailhead.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Aspen grove from the lower trailhead.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • View of Mother Lode Mine looking north.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • View of Mother Lode Mine looking north.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Mother Lode Mine.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Mother Lode Mine.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Mother Lode Mine.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Mother Lode Mine.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Mother Lode Mine.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • - Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Ballhead waterleaf (Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum).- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Ground cover of common haircap moss (Plytrichum commune).- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • View from the trail, looking north.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Evergreen violet (Viola sempervirens).- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • - Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • View looking east from near the summit.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • - Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Snow shelter near the summit.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Lookout Mountain summit.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • View looking west toward the Cascades.  Broken Top (9,177') is to the far left and Mount Jefferson (10,495') is to the right.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • View looking north from the summit of Lookout Mountain.- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Cobwebby paintbrush (Castilleja arachnoidea).- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • Tolmie's onion (Allium tolmiei).- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
  • The poisonous but stunning meadow death camas (Zigadenus venenosus).- Lookout Mountain + Mother Lode Mine
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Historic mine. Incredible views.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Ochoco Mountains, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,100.00 ft (335.28 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,826.00 ft (1,775.76 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

While the Ochoco Mountains may take some effort to reach, the idyllic meadows, ponderosa pines and aspen trees, soft swooping hills, and nearly perfect climate make this range a must-see!  If you are traveling from Bend, it is nice to get some alpine exposure outside of the Three Sisters Wilderness; if you are coming from the Willamette Valley, it is great to get out of the rain and into the sun!  Lookout Mountain is an excellent destination and can be easily combined with short detours to check out the Mother Lode Mine, the Independent Mine and the Blue Ridge Mine. Each were cinnabar mines* that lived short lives from the 1930s to 1950s.

As you climb Lookout Mountain you’ll enjoy a diversity of flora, including sagebrush, yellow bells, leafy bluebells and evergreen violets.  The key attraction is the view from the summit, which makes the drive worth your while. Lookout Mountain is the tallest peak in the Ochocos, and from here you'll have a panoramic view of the Cascade Range unlike any other.  From north to south you get full views of Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Ollalie Butte, Mount Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mount Washington, the North, Middle, and South Sisters, Broken Top, Mount Bachelor and Diamond Peak. The view is truly spectacular!

* The lands for the mines were acquired by prospector George A. Dreis in 1930 for mercury extraction.  Mercury comes primarily from the mineral cinnabar, which is sparsely but widely scattered throughout the Ochocos, particularly at the base of Lookout Mountain.  Extracting mercury from cinnabar is rather simple: the rock shale is crushed, heated in a kiln, and the resulting mercury vapor is condensed and drained into a metal-lined “flask.”  You can find tailings and talus from the extraction process that have been deposited in mounds throughout the area.  Mercury was used for thermometers, various instruments, amalgam tooth fillings, a topical disinfectant, laxative and a de-wormer for children.  Once mercury's toxicity was understood it was phased out of common usage, and most of the mines in the region began to shut down by the 1950s.  Mercury still has many uses, however, including mercury vapor, which enables the illumination of fluorescent lights. 

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(4 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(8 within a 30 mile radius)

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