OverviewGunsight Mountain lies in the northern Elkhorn Mountains of Oregon, and is one of the more easily accessible peaks in this range. Gunsight Mountain has two summits, the eastern one being the highest at 8342 feet. Gunsight Mountain is accessed most easily from Anthony Lake. An ascent via the west ridge is a steep, but fun class 3 scramble. The south ridge is a class 2 scramble, and is not as steep. Round trip distance up the west ridge and down the south ridge is about 3 miles, and takes three to four hours. The views of the surrounding lakes and peaks of the Northern Elkhorns are excellent, and on a clear day can range from the Wallowas in the east to the Ochocos in the west.
Gunsight Mountain is part of the backdrop for the Anthony Lakes ski area, which is known for having the highest base elevation in Oregon, and excellent powder skiing with minimal crowds.
The Elkhorn Mountains lie in northeastern Oregon, and are a sub-range of the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains were once a volcanic island arc, and were accreted to the North American continent as it advanced westward. The northern Elkhorns are a part of the Bald Mountain Batholith, which was generated as the rocks and sediments from the Blue Mountain volcanic arc were subducted, and melted from 158 to 131 million years ago. This magma rose, but did not reach the surface, and slowly cooled forming the granitic rocks (mostly granodiorite) that can be seen today, and comprise Gunsight Mountain. Dark blotches called xenoliths can be found where pieces of the host rock were assimilated into the intruding magma. Over the past eight million years, faulting along the Olympic-Wallowa Lineament has lifted this material to its present height, and erosion has worn away the original surrounding rock. The many tarns, cirques, and U-shaped valleys found in this area were carved by Ice Age glaciers. The notch between Gunsight’s two summits is a joint, which commonly form as igneous rocks cool and fracture, on both small and large scales.
This area is home to Deer, Elk, Bear, and Mountain goats, and is a popular big game hunting area. It is therefore advisable to wear bright colors during hunting season.
The ideal time to climb this mountain is from July through October, but the road to Anthony Lakes is open year round leaving the possibility of a winter ascent open.
Getting ThereTo reach the trailhead at Anthony Lake, drive Interstate 84 to North Powder exit 285. Head west on county road 101, and follow the signs for Anthony Lake. After 3.5 miles, turn left at a 4-way intersection, and 0.6 miles after this, turn right onto the Anthony Lakes Highway, a part of the Elkhorn Scenic Byway. This turns into Forest Road 73. Continue about 20 miles to the Anthony Lakes Campground on the left. Once in the campground take a right after 100 yards following signs for day-use parking. Follow the road around the west shore of the lake to a parking lot at its end.
Red TapeA Northwest Forest Pass is required to park. They cost $5 for a daily pass or $30 for an annual pass.
A Sno-Park permit is required to park between November 15th and April 30th. They cost $3 for a daily pass, $7 for a three day pass, or $15 for a season pass.
CampingCamping is available at Anthony Lake Campground, and you can even rent the historic Anthony Lakes Guard Station for the night.
Mountain ConditionsBaker Ranger District
3165 10th Street
Baker City, Oregon 97814
Most recent summer and winter recreation report for Baker Ranger District
The most recent snow report from the Anthony Lakes ski area is available on their homepage.