Ancient juniper in Badlands Wilderness (photo by Greg Burke)

Natural History Walk in the Badlands with ONDA

Celebrate Wilderness Week with our friends at the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and discover some natural history in the Badlands Wilderness.

Located just 15 miles east of Bend, off Highway 20, the Badlands is a 30,000 acre Wilderness Area containing fascinating lava flows and ancient junipers. This area was named for its harsh terrain and fantastic rock formations. Within this landscape, one can find incredible displays of desert wildflowers, dry river canyons, castle-like rock formations, and Native American pictographs.

Geologically, the Badlands Wilderness is a six mile diameter basaltic vent associated with the nearby Newberry Volcano. The surface is a series of basaltic lavas covered with up to 24 inches of ash from Newberry Volcano and Mount Mazama.

Another defining feature of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness is its ancient forests of western juniper.  While juniper is sometimes considered invasive in other ecosystems in Central Oregon, the trees are native to the volcanic soils of the Badlands, with many junipers estimated to be over 1000 years old.  The oldest dated tree in Oregon is nearby and is estimated to be over 1600 years old. These gnarled and mysterious trees combined with the volcanic landscape make visiting the Badlands an otherworldly experience.

Participants will spend the morning exploring the Badland's natural history and conservation legacy with Stu Garrett, of the Native Plant Society, and Gena Goodman-Campbell, ONDA's Central Oregon Wilderness Coordinator. Click on the RSVP button below to visit ONDA's website and to register for this great trip!

Photo of ancient juniper tree in the Badlands by Greg Burke.