Warner Peak (Hart Mountain NAR) 17-May-2016

Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge (NAR) is a 280,311 acre (438 square mile) piece of high desert located 65 miles east of Lakeview, Oregon.  Its western side is a massive fault block ridge that ascends abruptly nearly three-quarters of a mile above the Warner Valley floor in a series of rugged cliffs, steep slopes, and knife-like ridges.  Since its creation in 1936 as a range for remnant herds of pronghorn antelope, management of the refuge has broadened to include conservation of all wildlife species characteristic of this high desert habitat and restoration of native ecosystems (details).  Warner Peak (8,017 feet) is the highest point in the Refuge and one of Oregon’s top 100 peaks (#87) and is also sought after as an Oregon Prominence Peak.  Reaching its summit is an easy, partially on-trail, partially cross-country day hike that combines peakbagging with the opportunity to see some of the plants and animals that live in the Refuge’s backcountry.  It truly is in the middle of nowhere as reaching it involves a 5-7 hour drive from most of Oregon’s population centers and the closest town of any substance is 65 miles away.  Still, it was someplace we’d always wanted to visit and, with a high pressure ridge in place for a couple of days, we decided to go for it.

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