NOTE: There is a change in meeting venue

Comfort Suites Redmond Airport, 2243 5W Yew Ave, Redmond, OR 97756

Click here for location on Google Maps

Updated 7/05/22

Field Trips

We will offer three options for a Saturday field trip. Both options will be repeated on the Sunday to allow meeting participants to experience the full range of penstemon habitat in the Redmond/Bend region. There will be two choices for optional, post-meeting Monday field trips.

All Saturday, Sunday, and Monday field trips will depart from the Deschutes County Fairground parking lot. We encourage participants to carpool to minimize the vehicle impact associated with field trips.

Saturday/Sunday Tours

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway/Mount BachelorMt Bachelor

Field trip attendees will drive south from Redmond to the city of Bend. From there we will proceed west on Forest Service Route 46 (Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway). We will stop at the Virginia Meissner snow park for a restroom break, then drive on Forest Service Road 4615 to find Penstemon euglaucus and P. fruiticosus. We will then head west past Mt. Bachelor to the west end of the Sparks Lake meadow and Devil’s Garden to see P. davidsonii. We will explore the meadows and you can see pictographs on the lava flow above Devil’s Garden.

Heading back east, we will stop at the Todd Creek meadow to see P. rydbergii, before turning into the Mt. Bachelor ski area. This will be the last stop and you will have the option of short hikes around the base area where P. davidsonii may be found or purchase a ticket to ride to the midmountain lodge. From the lodge there are beautiful views of the Three Sisters Mountains. You can also explore the ski runs to find P. davidsonii and view other alpine plants. The upper slopes of Mt. Bachelor are rocky so good hiking boots are needed. You have the option to ride the lift back down to the base area or hike downhill.

The Scenic Byway, along its length, varies in elevation from about 3,600 feet near Bend to about 6,400 feet near Mount Bachelor. Habitat ranges from dry, sparse juniper woodlands to dense stands of ponderosa pine, to moister subalpine fir forests and open high meadows. The resulting climate diversity will provide a range of habitats for seekers of penstemons.

Timetable: 8 am to 3 pm.

Vehicle Requirements: no restrictions.

Roundtrip Drive: approximately 90 miles.

Cascade Lakes map


Black Butte /Metolius River

Camp Polk signDeparting Redmond, participants will drive west on Oregon State Route 126 toward the small community of Sisters. A potential first stop on this tour is the Camp Polk Nature Reserve, owned by the Deschutes Land Trust. We will then proceed west to Black Butte where we hope to find Penstemon peckii in bloom on the lower slopes of the butte. From there we will head to the Metolius River and explore a meadow near Camp Sherman. Following this stop we will head back towards the town of Sisters, then head west on the Rd 242 to find P. fruiticosus, P. humilis and P. cinereus. This will be the last stop.

Timetable: 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.

Vehicle Requirements: no restrictions.

Roundtrip Drive: approximately 80 miles.


Camp Polk map

Ochoco MountainsOchoco Penstemon

Departing Redmond, participants will drive east on Oregon State Route 126 toward Prineville and continue eastward on US Highway 20 to the Ochoco Mountains. The Ochocos, being east of the Cascades, are a dryer mountain range with correspondingly unique flora. Our first stop will involve a hike to Lookout Mountain. We will continue uphill to the Big Summit Prairie to continue explorations. Penstemon species in this areas are Penstemon speciosus, P. gardnerii, P. humilis, P. richardsonii, P. roezlii, and P. rydbergii.

This trip requires a long drive on narrow mountain roads. Restroom facilities are rare.

Timetable: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Vehicle Requirements: no restrictions.

Roundtrip Drive: approximately 80 miles.

Ochoco map


On Sunday, the same three field trips discussed above will be repeated, with the expectation that participants will alternate their trip destinations.

Monday Post-Meeting Tours

Participants at the 2022 meeting will be given the unusual opportunity to choose between two possible field trips – one to the west of Redmond, the other to the north.

Tombstone Pass

Tombstone Pass PenstemonUpon leaving Redmond, participants in this field trip will travel west on Oregon State Route 126 and US Highway 20 until reaching Tombstone Pass. There we will make short hikes from the Iron Mountain Trailhead. This will be a self-guided tour as the trail to the top is well developed. Iron Mountain is located in the western Cascades in the Willamette National Forest. Travel time is approximately an hour from Redmond. The trail passes through numerous vegetation types on the climb to the lookout at the top including moist forest and meadows of Douglas Fir and ferns to xeric meadows near the top. Penstemon species found in this area are Penstemon cardwellii, P. deustus, P. procerus, P. rupicola, and P. serrulatus. A Northwest Forest Pass is required on vehicles and the location is very popular so please carpool.

Timetable: 8:00 am until personal choice of departure time.

Vehicle Requirements: no restrictions.

One-way trip: approximately 60 miles


Tombstone Pass map

The Island at Cove Palisades State ParkCove Palisades Penstemon

From Redmond, we will travel about 30 miles north on US Highway 97 to through Culver and to the Cove Palisades State Park. The Island is a site within the park located where the Metolius, Deschutes, and Crooked River merge. The Island is one of the only areas of Central Oregon that has not been impacted by grazing or fire. The number of plants that we will see there should be amazing, however, it may be late in the season for many to be found in bloom. Penstemon species found on The Island include Penstemon duestus, P. fruiticos, P. richardsonii and P. seorsus.

Timetable: 8:30 am until personal choice of departure time.

Vehicle Requirements: no restrictions.

One-way trip: approximately 30 miles.

Cove Palisades map


Field Trip Preparation

Most field trips take us into places with limited access to food, water, or other essential equipment. If you are driving, be sure to start each field trip with a full tank of gas. Make sure you have a good spare tire. All field trip participants, please bring the following:

  • Sack lunch
  • Water (at least ½ gallon per person)
  • Jacket
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Insect repellant
  • Good hiking shoes
  • And remember your camera!