Straddling the Baker / Grant County line is this westernmost of the 8000 footers in the Elkhorn Mountains. Atop the peak is a manned but rarely visited lookout watching over the North Fork of the John Day Wilderness and the gorgeous south face of the Elkhorn range. Placed on the mountain by helicopter in 1957, this is one of the nicer lookouts in the inner blue mountain region. It is here at the summit you will find a healthy population of mountain goats gathering for the salt lick placed here by the forest service. With a view spanning from the Wallowas to the Ochocos, on a clear day some of the cascades are visible and apparently Mount Rainier 200 miles to the northwest can be seen when conditions are perfect.
As for reaching the summit, the Mount Ireland trail is difficult to find and the first half mile consists of poorly marked logging roads and skidder trails, check the route page for photos of where to actually find the trailhead and how to navigate some of the confusing unmarked forks. Expect a 3 mile hike with 2100 feet of elevation gain through typical eastern Oregon alpine forest. Mountain lions are active in this area but seldom seen.
With roads and trails poorly marked in the wallowa-whitman forest, this is one of the more difficult trailheads to locate in eastern Oregon. Start by finding Sumpter, from the west end of town heading NW on highway 220 it is a little over 11 miles to Forest Service Road 7370 on the right hand side of the road. Once you turn off the pavement onto 7370 you'll see a sign that says its 3 miles to the Mt Ireland L.O. trailhead, if you dont see this sign you're on the wrong road. Travel 2.2 miles up Deep Creek ignoring turn offs to the right and left. At 2.2 miles you will come to a fork, turn left here. Follow the road another half mile and take a right at the next fork, from there its less than half a mile to the trailhead hidden in the brush to the left.
Fire bans are in effect for most of the summer and fall.
Although no developed campgrounds are in the immediate hiking vicinity of Mt Ireland, on the north side of the mountain sitting in its glacially formed cirque is Baldy Lake. To the southeast connected by the Mt Ireland trail is Downie Lake, a short 2 mile hike from the summit, or 3 miles from the Deep Creek TH.
When to climb
The Deep Creek trailhead is at 6000 feet making access to it difficult any earlier than early to mid june. The mountain itself is not particularly steep and would not be a difficult climb with snow on it.
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