The Warner Wetlands of south central Oregon are beautiful throughout the year. I dug into my archives to find photos taken long ago there, supplemented with a few recent ones.
You can view wispy sunsets over the wetlands in the summer.
Moody cloudscapes over them in the spring.
Snow and ice covering them in the winter.
Sweeping scenic views of them in the fall.
And you get the drama of Hart Mountain rising above them with its massive presence. This fault-block mountain towers 3,600 feet above the valley floor. Its highest point is atop Warner Peak, elevation 8,024 feet.
Visiting Warner Wetlands
There are numerous lakes in this 40-mile long wetland and some are seasonal. One of the lakes, Mugwump Lake, varies significantly in its water level. The lake is named after the politically independent and unpredictable mugwumps.
The Warner Wetlands host a wide variety of wildlife, including 42 mammal species and 239 bird species. Fish in the wetlands include crappie, bass, bullhead, and trout. If you’re lucky, you may see an endangered Warner Sucker, a fish that only lives here.
This area doesn’t get a lot of visitors due to its isolation. Visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, OHVing, birdwatching, hunting, and fishing. When water levels are high enough, there’s a canoe trail you can follow in the northern section (see map). You’ll find a short birding trail in the southeast section. There’s also a public site to dig sunstones for free, located several miles northeast of the lakes.
If you’re feeling a little worn out after all your outdoor adventures, check out Hart Mountain Hot Springs Campground on the refuge. There’s a rock structure surrounding a hot spring pool located within the campground. You can find another undeveloped pool in the meadow about 100 yards away. Exactly what you need after a hard day of outdoor recreation!
The Bureau of Land Management manages the Warner Wetlands. Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is located just to the east of the lakes.