Another close hike for us is the Fryrear Canyon trail off Sage Ranch road. It is an easy hike with lots of fantastic views of the canyon walls, and occasionally one of the many mountains in the west. The rocks look like they belong in the Utah canyon region, and you have to wonder at the volcanic forces that were at work during the time these canyons were built and shaped.
There are a lot of old burned out juniper snags and this is an area where natural fire happens after a thunderstorm. Though with todays modern fire fighting they usually stay at single tree status. This fire covered a wide swath of the canyon at least 50 or 60 years ago.
The trail starts out at an area that is wide open with some parking. On the west is the rocky canyon wall and on the east the ground gently rises up to the butte I call Sage Ranch rd Butte. The trail is easy to walk as it was part of an old off road system for vehicles. Now it is used by many hikers, horse riders, and the occasional bicycle
.Just before the gate are these three rocks just standing there where they were dropped by an old river or maybe ice. the gate is to keep off road vehicles from continuing on and leaving the canyon and it’s tributaries for hikers.
This time of year the rocks are blooming with colorful lichens that will dry up as the summer heat comes. I admit I was looking for some of the spring flowers that I found this time last year but the cold and snowy weather have set them back till later.After about a mile or so we came out of the canyon walls and the terrain is a bit hilly and softer looking. I decided to go up the west side of the canyon and see if I could get a view of the 3 sisters and maybe Mt Jefferson. This is a view of the large hill on the east side. I took this shot part way up the west slope. On the far right of the photo is the end of the canyon wall we had just walked through.
I was able to get a filtered shot of North and Middle Sisters, and even more filtered of South Sister and Broken Top.
Coming down from the west side I noticed that it looked like maybe we could climb up a portion of the East side canyon, and maybe get a really good shot of Mt Jefferson, Black butte and the Sisters. This shot is looking south through the canyon we had just come through and on the left side out of the photo there was an area that wasn’t as steep. But we had to bushwhack through some old growth bitterbrush and sagebrush it wasn’t as easy as I thought it might be
about half way up I did get a shot of Black butte but Mt Jefferson was totally covered in the clouds and so was 3 Finger Jack. I took this shot so I would remember where to look again.
A bit higher I found this really great spot with the 3 Sisters and the deep canyon we had just hiked through, but it wasn’t the top. Realizing we still had about an hours hike back out and were running out of time we headed back down to the trail. As we were leaving this section I was looking for an easier route up the side of the canyon..
This is a close up of the map of the area we hiked. The section we hiked is the canyon that is sandwiched between the e and s on this map.
The nice thing about this hike is it is that it is less than 5 minutes from home if I drive to the parking area.