Roads end trailhead - Independent Mine Trail
The Independent Mine Trail is a nice gradual path up the east face of Lookout Mountain starting around 5100 feet and topping out at 6926 feet at the summit. At the parking lot for this trail are two other trails that also lead to the summit, the Summit Loop trail 808 (leaving the south end of the parking lot), and the Lookout Tie Trail 808A (cutting directly up the hill). Should any of the signs be torn down The Independent Mine Trail leaves the parking lot on its northern end and briefly travels downhill. Less than one half mile into the hike you will encounter the Independent Mine itself which is a collapsed mine shaft and talus pile beside the trail, with an ore processing building above the trail. You will cross several streams along this path and will encounter only one major switchback. Three miles into the hike you will emerge into the summit meadow of Sagebrush and isolated stands of fir trees where the trail passes along the winter shelter. There are several trail connections in this meadow, all are clearly marked with signs, but should they be torn down merely continue uphill to reach the summit.
According to the sign posted at the trailhead, it is 4 miles to summit via this path. For a faster return take the Lookout Tie Trail 808A which is much steeper but cuts directly to the parking lot from the summit.
Lookout Tie Trail 808A. Faster, steeper, drier. A good route for the trip back after enjoying the scenery of the Independent Mine route.
Travel roughly 16 miles east of Prineville on US highway 26 to Forest Service Road 23 on the south side of the highway. Follow FS road 23 for eight miles and just after the Big Summit Work Center take a right on Canyon Creek Road (FS road 42) which you will follow 6.5 miles to the saddle between Lookout Mountain and Round Mountain (all roads are paved to this point). Take a right and follow the rough dirt road less than one mile to roads end.
Water, some sort of cougar repellent...