Marys Peak Recreation Area
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At 4,097 ft, this mountain – known as Chintimini to native people of the region – is the highest point in the Coast Range. The summit offers panoramic views of the Willamette Valley, Coast Range, the Cascades, and even the Pacific Ocean. It draws alpine species not found elsewhere in the Willamette Valley, including wintering flocks of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch (arriving in Nov), migrant American Pipit and Horned Lark, and occasional Snow Bunting. Mature stands of noble fir and extensive grassy meadows are unique for the central Coast Range. Species that are typical of open forests on the east slope of the Oregon Cascades, such as Clark’s Nutcracker and Mountain Chickadee, are found occasionally as vagrants, and some such as Townsend’s Solitaire may nest. Resident birds more typical of the Pacific Northwest forests include Mountain Quail, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Gray Jay, and Red Crossbill. In nesting season these are joined by Hammond’s Flycatcher and Hermit Warbler. This is one of Oregon?s best sites for Sooty Grouse. ‘Hooting’ season begins in mid- to late-March, peaks in April, and continues into June. Early summer may yield sightings of hens with chicks as they feed along roads. A NW Forest Pass is required for access.
Mary?s Peak Rd starts at MP 47.9 of Hwy 34, which is 8 mi NE of Alsea or 9 mi SW of Philomath (GPS 44 28.029 N, 123 30.197 W). From there, bird your way along Mary?s Peak Rd for 9 mi to the main Observation Point parking area. There are several nice hikes on trails, as well as a 0.5 mi gravel road to the summit from the parking area. Mary’s Peak Rd is closed at MP 5.5 from Dec 1-March 31, and often longer until the snow is cleared.
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