Places We Protect

Juniper Hills Preserve

Oregon

Red, rocky hills with scrubby vegetation.
Juniper Hills Preserve Near the painted hills of Central Oregon, between the Ochoco and Maury Mountains, are ancient western juniper trees. © Rick McEwan

Ancient western junipers and painted hills provide a vital migratory wildlife corridor.

Overview

Description

Spring 2021 Update

Effective April 1, 2021, this preserve is open to the public. Please observe social distancing guidelines, follow all posted site usage/visitation guidance, and wear a mask whenever encountering other guests. This property is privately-owned and managed in order to protect the sensitive species that call it home. We appreciate your help in protecting the landscape and respecting all those who enjoy it.

 

What Makes Juniper Hills Special

Nestled between the Ochoco Mountains on the north and the Maury Mountains on the south, this remarkably diverse Central Oregon landscape is accented by ancient western juniper trees and features an exceptional array of John Day and Clarno "painted hills" formations.

Juniper Hills serves as a vital migratory corridor for elk, antelope and other wildlife, and hosts a wide variety of wildflowers and grasses.

 

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

Juniper Hills was created from the former Alaska Pacific Ranch, east of Prineville near the town of Post, Oregon's "geographic center." The preserve includes nearly 10,000 acres in public lands grazing allotments. To shape conservation strategies for the entire site, the Conservancy is working with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

TNC staff and volunteer teams inventory native plants, remove overcrowded junipers and patches of invasive non-native plants, repair fences, and expand discussions with neighbors and partners about the future of this great place.

Access

Limited Access

Call 541-477-0151 before visiting the preserve | Closed fall & winter

Size

13,920 acres

Explore our work in Oregon

Please observe the following guidelines while hiking:

  • Please call 541-477-0151 before visiting the preserve. Feel free to visit the Painted Hills site without contacting preserve staff.  
  • Stay on the trail. Do not climb the hills or disturb their extremely fragile surface.
  • Don't collect plants, insects or other species or disturb soil, rocks, artifacts or scientific research markers.
  • No dogs. Preserves harbor ground-nesting birds and other wildlife that are extremely sensitive to disturbance.
  • Please observe social distancing guidelines, follow all posted site usage/visitation guidance, and wear a mask whenever encountering other guests. 
  • No bicycles or motorized vehicles. Native plants and research sites are easily trampled.
  • No hunting, camping or campfires.
  • Please bring a bag and carry out any trash you find.
 

 

What to See: Plants

Conservancy botanists have discovered 65 distinct plant communities at Juniper Hills, featuring many native bunch grass species including Thurber's needlegrass, Indian ricegrass and bluebunch wheatgrass. Endemic desert wildflowers thrive in the grasslands, such as the John Day penstemon and scabland milkvetch.

 

What to See: Animals

Pronghorn antelope, elk and other wildlife use Juniper Hills as a migratory corridor, and redband trout, a sensitive species, are known to frequent preserve creeks into the Crooked River. A diversity of birds nest and forage here; observers have tallied over 70 species.

Juniper Hills Preserve is closed to public access throughout the fall and winter. For more information, please contact Brooke Gray, preserve steward, at bgray@tnc.org.

Stand Up for Nature in Oregon

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends, and for nearly 60 years, we've been working in Oregon to do just that. We're bringing people together to solve the biggest conservation challenges of our time by transforming policy, inspiring communities to take action, protecting vital habitats and natural resources and improving livelihoods.

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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