Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
136.00 ft (41.45 m)
Trail type
12.80 mi (20.60 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Hart Lake, situated at the base of Hart Mountain near Plush, Oregon, is a large alkaline lake that can be explored via this scenic and remote 12.8-mile out-and-back hike along its eastern shores. The trail, mostly two-track dirt roads, provides an accessible route for hikers to explore the high desert ecosystems of the Warner Valley. The route's gentle terrain offers an enjoyable hike suitable for a range of skill levels.

This route is characterized by its high desert ecosystems, diverse wildlife, and stunning landscapes, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and birdwatchers. 

The lake and its surrounding areas are particularly rich in bird life. It serves as a crucial habitat for a variety of bird species, including migratory waterfowl. This makes Hart Lake a prime location for birdwatching and nature viewing. The lake's ability to support such a diverse range of bird species underscores its ecological significance within the region. It plays a vital role in maintaining the biodiversity of the Warner Valley area.

The size and appearance of Hart Lake can change significantly throughout the year depending on the season and annual rainfall. 

Visitors should be prepared for the conditions of a high desert environment and practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural beauty of the area.

Hart Lake Day Use Area:

Access: The day use area is accessible by road, but the remoteness of the area and the condition of the roads can vary, so it's wise to check road conditions, especially outside of the summer months.

Facilities: This area provides basic facilities for day visitors, such as picnic tables and restrooms. It's a great spot for picnicking, bird watching, and enjoying the scenic views of the lake and surrounding landscape.

Activities: Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and photography. The open spaces and the backdrop of the Warner Mountains make it a picturesque location.


Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge Headquarters: 1-541-947-2731


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Birdwatching. Nature Viewing. Desert Scenery.


Presence of barbed wire fences.

Trailhead Elevation

4,478.00 ft (1,364.89 m)

Highest point

4,528.00 ft (1,380.13 m)


Near lake or river
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required




Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.