Gearhart Wilderness Area

September 22-23, 1979

Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Area comprises 18,709 acres in the Fremont National Forest between Klamath Falls and Lakeview. Sixteen miles of maintained trail is now within the wilderness area and an addition to the trail is in the building stage. The new trail will create a “loop” with the existing trail.

Ponderosa Pine, white fir, lodgepole pine and whitebark pine are the predominate conifers. Gearhart Mountain at 8,354' is the highest peak in the wilderness area. Other interesting geological features are the dome, palisade rocks, and the glacial valleys of Dairy Creek and Gearhart Creek. Blue Lake is the only lake in the wilderness area.

On September 22–23 I made a solo trip into the Gearhart Mountain Wilderness Area. I entered at the southern trailhead at Lookout Rock and camped the night of the 22nd on one of the tributaries of Dairy Creek. I saw Mule deer and many, many squirrels on the trip. I was most impressed by the ponderosa pine in a wilderness area. It is rare to find timber of commercial value in wilderness areas in Eastern Oregon.

This was the easiest trip I have ever led for an organization. I did not hear one discouraging word concerning decisions that I made. All members of the trip were comfortable with the pace I established. The campsite I selected was acceptable to all party members. Everybody thought my jokes were funny and the bottle of wine went further.

Dan Chamness

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