Hike up Juniper, Fir and Weatherby Mountains

Date of trip: 04/10/2016

Mileage: 10.1 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2200 Feet

Time: 4 Hour(s) and 08 Minutes

Class: 2

Partners:

GPS Track: NA

Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Juniper Mountain5275927BlueWeatherby, OregonNoNo44.4857, -117.4243
Fir Mountain5134333BlueWeatherby, OregonNoNo44.4936, -117.4056
Weatherby Mountain5116336BlueWeatherby, OregonNoNo44.4849, -117.3942

Trip Report

During winter research, I had found 3 closely bunched, named peaks in Oregon only a 2-hour drive from Boise. It was a nice spring day and I figured the snow had melted enough to safely ascend these peaks.

I had worried a bit about the drive on Shirttail Road up to Point 4348 (a 5-way junction) where a road branches off and heads towards Juniper Mountain. The road is marked as un-improved on the map, but satellite photos showed it was in good condition. It turned out the satellites were right and despite a 9am departure from Boise, I was walking at 9:59am (PDT).

Just from my parking spot, I was already excited by the area. Everything was green and there were ridges, deep valleys, and snow capped mountains in each direction. Once higher, those views only got better. Plus, the weather was perfect, about 60 degrees with a moderate breeze.

The first peak was Juniper Mountain. The road went within about 30 feet of the 5250' sub-peak southwest of the peak and I could see some kind of human-created stuff up there. So I meandered up to the top to find a twisted, uprooted tower that had been blown down by the wind (I assume). I then headed over to the actual highpoint of Juniper Mountain.

From the summit, I could see my 2 remaining objectives. Next up was Fir Mountain. This was a pleasant hike to a small saddle. From the saddle to the top of the peak it was mostly forested, with fir and juniper trees.

The top of Fir Mountain had 2 bald and round points. I visited both since even the topo thinks they are within 4 feet of elevation from one another.

From Fir, I dropped down to around 4800' on the road. This saddle is straight above Interstate 84 and I could hear the sounds of vehicles and trains from up here. It appears mining and logging had occurred here.

The road eventually led me to just below the peak, where a quick 40' hike got me to the top, where I found a benchmark and great views.

This turned out to be a very scenic trip. The only negative is that you have to re-climb two of the peaks on return. Other than the great views, there are several areas with flowers on display that were quite impressive.


Getting There

From Interstate 84, I took exit 340 for Rye Valley Road. I followed this nice gravel road for 9.3 miles to the signed turnoff for Shirttail Creek Road. I then followed Shirttail Creek Road (ignore the sign that says it is "Primitive", I think even sedans can navigate it) for 2.5 miles to a 5-way intersection.

From the intersection, you can either start hiking east toward the peaks or drive the road further. I drove about a mile until blocked by a drift and deteriorating road conditions.


Hiking Directions

From wherever you stop on the road leading toward the peaks, the hiking is pretty straight forward. Follow the road generally east towards the peaks. The road comes to within about 60 feet of Juniper Mountain. It then drops to a 4800-foot saddle between Juniper Mountain and Fir Mountain, before climbing to a small gap between points 5134 and 5130 on Fir Mountain (I visited both just to be sure). The road then drops to around 4800 feet between Fir and Weatherby Mountain, before climbing to within about 40 feet of the top of Weatherby.

On return, you will be forced to nearly re-climb both Fir Mountain and Juniper Mountain.


Photos

View Slideshow

The start of the hike near Quaker Spring
The start of the hike near Quaker Spring
Tower on Point 5250 near Juniper Mountain
Tower on Point 5250 near Juniper Mountain
Tower on Point 5250 near Juniper Mountain
Tower on Point 5250 near Juniper Mountain
The Wallowas from Juniper Mountain
The Wallowas from Juniper Mountain
Fir Mountain from Juniper Mountain
Fir Mountain from Juniper Mountain
Fir Mountain is aptly named
Fir Mountain is aptly named
Juniper Mountain from Fir Mountain
Juniper Mountain from Fir Mountain
Weatherby Mountain
Weatherby Mountain
Flowers between Fir Mountain and Weatherby Mountain
Flowers between Fir Mountain and Weatherby Mountain
Flowers between Fir Mountain and Weatherby Mountain
Flowers between Fir Mountain and Weatherby Mountain
Weatherby Mountain Benchmark
Weatherby Mountain Benchmark
Big Lookout Mountain above Interstate 84
Big Lookout Mountain above Interstate 84
Looking east from Weatherby Mountain
Looking east from Weatherby Mountain




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