Wide Open Prairie Country
Scenic Zumwalt Prairie
From Enterprise, take Hwy 82 towards Joseph. About 3 miles from Enterprise, turn left on the Crow Creek Road at the Eggleson Corner. Stay on this road and follow the signs to Buckhorn Lookout and Zumwalt. At approximately 5 miles, just pass the "Blue Ridge Cattle Company", take a right on the Zumwalt Road.
You will travel for many miles over the high, rolling grasslands known as the Zumwalt Prairie. The Nature Conservancy owns and manages a 33,000 acre preserve which includes public access. This prairie covers approximately 160,000 acres. The Preserve represents the last remaining, relatively undisturbed, grassland ecosystem of bunch grass in the Pacific Northwest. The prairie on the preserve is dissected by steep canyons and grasslands as well as pine woodlands, quaking aspen groves, and spring-fed riparian ecosystems.
The preserve includes one of the Findley Buttes, a volcanic cone, surrounded by as expansive vistas of grass-dominated prairie rich in flowering plants. Viewing birds, wildlife, and the open prairie is the experience of the Zumwalt Prairie! Elk herds are common along the ridges and benches of the canyon lands visitors with an eagle-eye. The Zumwalt is home to an array of breeding raptor species including the grassland-dependent Ferruginous Hawk as well as the Swainson Hawk and Prairie Falcons.
Travel just a little further to reach the Buckhorn Overlook. You will need to watch for a spur road to the right (F.S. Rd.780 to F.S. Rd.810). At the Buckhorn Lookout you will be treated to grand views of the lower Imnaha Canyon and the ridges leading into Hells Canyon. When you've had your fill of magnificent views retrace your route back to Forest Service Rd. 46.
You now have the option of retracing your route back to Enterprise or completing the Loop by continuing on F.S. Rd. 46. This road will take you through the heart of the northern Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, eventually joining Oregon Hwy. 3 north of Enterprise. This is an all day trip with no services along the loop. Cell phone coverage is limited. Be sure to bring water, food, and a map.