Explore the most popular trails in Mill Creek Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
2 months ago

The snow is late in Central Oregon so I and a friend and our two dogs set out to see these pillars. I was surprised to find so much water on the hike (Strava told me 5.8 miles one way) -- you follow the Mill Creek for a long while, and there were two more creeks flowing through the burned area and two other freely flowing springs. The dogs were well-watered. We saw a group of three volunteer trail-maintenance men and that was it. No deer, elk and few birds. Great views and beautiful meadows and pondos.

hiking
2 months ago

10/27/19: Today I hiked in from the North TH. If you scroll down, you will see my review of the south TH last year. I always prefer hiking to driving, but I wanted to see if the north TH would bring me closer to the Pillars in less time and with less trail mileage. It certainly got me to the Pillars quickly in around 3 miles. This is not the signature view from the south, and you would need to scramble a bit to actually touch them. You could take the trail further south though for the desired view. I prefer the hike from the south TH as the creek and open vistas are fantastic. This had three lazy crossings and much of the trail was forested. The larch trees were exceptional though at this time of year. The trail is tricky when you hit the first meadow. Bear right and you will see a trail sign. The drive to the north TH is 28 miles from Prineville on winding paved roads. The last mile is dirt, rutted, and you need higher clearance. Not a soul there today.

hiking
muddy
over grown
4 months ago

Long hike, but well worth it. A few muddy spots, crossing back and forth the creek, overall good. Did run into some cows, which didn’t go over well with the dogs, but was a minor issue. Awesome views from the Pilars.

hiking
over grown
5 months ago

Easy trail until the last third. you come up out of the valley and into an area that was burned a number of years ago. little shade and a good but steeper towards the end. the area that got burned to the ground is now regrowing with manzanita and in some places makes the path hard to see. there's quite a few water crossings, plenty of places for the dogs to drink but might be difficult early spring or after a storm.

backpacking
no shade
5 months ago

DId a 2 day/2 night backpack. Went in from the Wildcat Campground and Camped at the site 2.9 miles in. Mill Creek was flowing (but fairly low) and we day-hiked up to the Twin Pillars. There's very little water up that way (except at a camp where it crosses on Bogen Creek) but not much. Also it's fairly wide-open and shadeless in the burn area once you leave the Mill Creek drainage. But we had 2 moonless/starry nights, no bugs (at all) and only saw 2 other folks day hiking on Friday. It definitely got busier on Saturday--maybe saw 15 people. Saw a few deer, a covey of mountain grouse, lots of flowers blooming and a fair # of cattle (so we had to dodge the cow-pies). But overall it was quiet, pretty and a fun place to explore.

We hiked this from the Walton Lake Trailhead. We clocked 10.5 miles from the lake to the top of the mountain. It was pretty easy to moderate until the last mile or so when it got quite steep and exhausting, but we made it to the top and the views were amazing. Lots of different wild flowers all along the trail right now (early July). It was a beautiful peaceful hike and the views were definitely worth the steep beautifully green final mile.

hiking
rocky
snow
7 months ago

I was there in late winter and if anyone finds a pair of raybans enjoy

hiking
7 months ago

Did this hike with girlfriend and her 12 yr old poodle starting from the wildcat campground (south twin pillars TH). It's shaded and relatively easy going the first 3.5 miles with about 6 stream crossings. We choose to hike in Tevas this section then switch to boots for the climb up to the twin pillars. The climbing section is through an old fire zone which is not as bad as that sounds since the vistas are nice and the grasses and manzanita have filled in the hillsides. There is one short section where the manzanita have crowded the trail and hasn't been cut back yet. Once at the pillars the trail continues on to the north twin pillars trailhead, but with our tired poodle we found a rare shaded log to snack on before returning.

hiking
7 months ago

From Main st in Prineville, take 27 out until the pavement ends. Turn right instead of continuing on to the RV camps. Take this unimproved road out and follow signs to Bingham Springs/Campground. It's another right turn. Staying on 27 would have taken you to the Wildcat trailhead. There are 3 walk-up sites with pit toilets at the campground. Find the Bingham trailhead near the toilets and from here head out, always staying close to the creek until you cross at about half a mile. The trail from here is well marked. Just make sure not to follow the creek too far west. It's alluring, I know. Either continue on the trail for 3.5 miles to see the Twin Pillars, or continue South into Desolation Canyon and on to South camp. There is a great vista from a granite outcropping just due west of the trail before you descend into the draw where the Pillars are. I stopped here, looked all the way beyond Prineville, Redmond and at both South Sisters and Bachelor. Because at rapidly moving and blustery storm system, I called it good and turned back around to North camp.

Hiked Round Mountain North on 5/18/19. Google maps driving directions through the app brought me to a random spot right before Walton Campground. Pass it on your left and see the road to the TH on your right soon after. Trail is quite muddy and there is still enough snow to mask trail in some of the higher parts. It took a bit of route finding in spots. There are downed trees too. North trail is closer to 8 mi round trip as an out and back. Beautiful beginning spring bloom of wildflowers and meadows of corn lilies.

Sun Nov 25 2018

Went in from south (Wildcat Campground). More than a half dozen notable creek crossings and smaller ones too. Water level reasonable in late fall. Decent signage but did not notice final sign to pillars. Followed trail but it petered out when the deadfall really began. Was fighting early sunset and had traveled close to six miles before turning around. Will take north trail next to see where trails meet and hopefully get even closer to pillars. Great way to spend a chilly day. Road up was good, including gravel part.

Hit this one in August so the water was down. Almost too down according to the dogs, but it was enough. Not as much shade as I was hoping for on this summer day because most of the forest appears to have burnt down many years ago. But it was pretty, with no other people. And perfect for trail running, as it has only mild inclines and declines. A lot of underbrush but the trail was kept clear enough that it wasn’t a problem. This is actually Twin Pillars trail (from the south) that is also on AllTrails and so this is the same route except that one continues further all the way to the pillars. I would do it again!

Giddy-up-go is part of the trail system used by the Dry Creek Horse Camp and is generally used for horseback riding but also makes for a nice hike up in the Mill Creek area of the Ochocos. The entire loop can be done and is probably about 10 miles, but we opted to do the east side and return via the cut-off trail which is really a road. The walk through the forest along with some cross valley views of Steins Pillar make this a very enjoyable hike.

hiking
Sat Jun 16 2018

We did this hike 3 weeks ago from the north trailhead. Lots of new growth forest, some creek jumping, but beautiful views of Desolation Canyon and glimpses of Steins Pillar.

Round Mountain can be completed as from either the north or south trailhead to the summit or can be done as a shuttle and push all the way through. The beautiful fields of corn lily really help to enhance the beauty and views of this hike. There are 360 degree views from the summit that stretch from the Cascades to Big Summit Prairie. The actual climb up the mountain totals about 1000 feet over 2 miles or so and while consistent, isn't too steep.

Beautiful hike

hiking
Sun May 06 2018

We did a short 6 mile out and back from the Wildcat Campground to the Belknap trail. The wild flowers were fantastic and we had the trail all to ourselves. It is truly beautiful this time of year and the weather was perfect. Given all of the hikes in the Ochocos and Cascades with big elevation gains this was a perfect early spring hike.

hiking
Mon Apr 23 2018

My boyfriend and I hiked this today and it was beautiful! Really nice views all the way to the pillars, and the pillars themselves are really worth seeing. We had to ford the river quite a few times, some crossings have logs but some do not. I would recommend bringing hiking poles to help cross. We also ran into quite a few ticks coming up on the pillars. The switch backs have lots of bushes and we stopped to brush ticks off our clothes frequently.

hiking
Mon Jan 22 2018

Beautiful trail, when I was here there was about 5 inches of snow which made the hike difficult but it was absolutly gorgeous. we had to ford streams 10 times on the way out and again on the way back looking forward to hiking this again in the late spring. At 9 miles one way (according to the sign at the trail head) this is a fairly long day hike.

hiking
Sun Dec 31 2017

totally gorgeous trail. things to be aware of: the map takes you directly to the south trailhead, but the last 5 miles are all dirt roads and sharp turns, so be careful. also, from the south trailhead to the north trailhead is 9 miles, so this trail, if done out and back, is actually 18 miles long. beautiful in december:)

Wed Aug 16 2017

The pillars are neat and provide good views at the top. Mosquitos are unbearable in July be warned.

Just finished the entire loop trail yesterday. Creek is low enough not to get to wet on the seven lower creek crossings. Lots of wildflowers on the Wildcat upper east trail. Plenty of views from up there. Pillars trail is steep from the creek up to Pillars. Hard to follow in some spots but let common sense prevail. Lots of overgrowth and deadfall on the entire loop. Some sections entirely easy to follow. Best views are on Wildcat trail of the entire area. Still water/springs flowing in all sections. Enjoy

Mon Jun 19 2017

Did the entire loop trail yesterday. Tons of deadfall. Estimate over 100 trees down in 24 miles of hiking. Some are easily stepped over but several had to crawl under...yukk. Overall a fantastic hike. Didnt see a single person from North Pillar to Wildcat Trail thru Belknap and back to South Pillar trailhead. Trail is very narrow and overgrown in only small sections. Easy to follow

Mon Jun 05 2017

Great trail from either direction. South entrance has many creek crossings. North only has a few but actually is a easier hike to the Pillars

Beautiful trail but requires a lot of fording across the creek. This year it's flowing pretty good. Would have b en better if I brought hiking poles and water shoes to change in and out of. Would not recommend small children when the creek is high. It pushed me over it was so strong.

on Twin Pillars Trail

backpacking
Sat Jun 25 2016

Well the first 4 miles is Moderate. The climb to the Twin Pillars is riddled with blow down. And the trail is STEEP. I'm sure that had something to do with 55lbs on my back. I went in from South twin pillars, crossed to the wildcat trail via the Belknap junction. Headed north to the wildcat trailhead. Then West to North Twin Pillars TH. Then south past the pillars and out. The loop was 27.8 miles total. Be advised that in June. The area is COVERED in poisen oak and ivy. Fortunately I'm not sensitive to either. Beautiful wilderness. Definitely volcanic. I spent 4 days in there.

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