Traveled 100 miles from Tulelake to the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. I had driven over a 50 mile gravel road to see the east side of the refuge last fall. This time I entered on the west side. You drive up a 6% grade gravel road to get to the top of Hart Mountain and the park headquarters.
I camped at the CCC Campground at the base of Hart Mountain. While I could have towed my rv up the mountain, I didn’t want to. The Hot Springs Campground that is up there, while beautiful, is more suited to truck campers or small rv’s. The CCC Campground can handle about any size rv. There is no water or hookups and generators are not allowed. You also need to pack out your trash.
The refuge initially allowed cattle to graze on it, but after seeing all the damage they did, they were gradually removed. There is an interesting article on GORP about this.
I’m glad they have not paved the gravel road through the refuge. If it were paved, it would provide a shortcut to the town of Burns, Oregon and would get a lot more traffic which could not help but impact the habitat.
My rv against the base of Hart Mountain at the CCC Campground. I had it all to myself and really enjoyed it. Meadowlarks were singing all around me, hidden in the grass. When I returned from one trip up the mountain, a pronghorn was sniffing around my trailer. He ran when he saw me coming.
Hot Springs Campground. You can’t see the campground, it blends in so well. The hot springs is by the clump of trees on the bottom right. The campground is really beautiful, with wildflowers and a stream running through it. A single elk was also rambling around. The only negative, mosquitoes.
The hot springs at the campground. It is free to use, as is the campground.
There were a lot of these caterpillar filled sacks. Lots of butterflies will soon be in the area.
Barn swallow near the hot springs
Going back down Hart Mountain you get a great view of the Warner Valley Wetlands, an area of critical environmental concern (ACEC). This is a dry year, so you see mudflats circled with grass in the lakes. The sandy areas are interconnected dry ponds.
A northern harrier over the wetland area.
Below, a tree swallow nesting in a birdhouse in the wetlands area.