|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
The Oregon Badlands, just 12 miles east of Bend, are comprised of two ancient shield volcanoes. Features throughout this arid region include sagebrush, a variety of wildflowers, inflated lava formations, and stands of juniper trees, some over 1,000 years old. A network of trails explores the area. In the warmer months, wear sun protection, and bring plenty of water.
For the Flatiron Rock Trail, begin at the trailhead turnout just off Hwy 20. At the trailhead sign, pick up a map, and take the left fork, beginning on the Ancient Juniper Trail. This 2-mile stretch of trail winds among stands of juniper trees, sprinkled with wallflower, larkspur, and Oregon sunshine. At the T-junction, turn left (north), passing the Homestead Trail junction, for 1.6 miles to the Flatiron Rock spur, and turn left (west) for the short, sandy climb into the rock. Veer right to circumnavigate the interior of Flatiron Rock. Within, you will find numerous lava features, including a rock arch, and several "windows" offering views over the Badlands and Central Cascades.
As you make your way around the Flatiron, keep left at a couple junctions until you return to where you began the loop, then descend back to the Flatiron Trail and start your return along the same route. When you arrive back at the Ancient Juniper Trail junction, instead of turning, continue straight ahead (south) for a change of scenery for the final 1.2 miles back to your starting point.
MORE INFO: Oregon Natural Desert Association
-Mapped by Eli Boschetto, Bosco Mountain Photo