I started a long hiking trip from Medford, Oregon on Wednesday August 17th that took me to California, Arizona, and Utah. My way home took me close to Pueblo Mountain and this was mountain was one of the few remaining 2,000 ft Prominence Peaks that I had not climbed in Oregon. I couldn’t resist the temptation and on Monday evening, August 22, I pulled off of Hwy 140 in Denio and headed up the Fields-Denio Road to see if I could find a place to camp.
I was familiar with the area because I had been by here twice before this year looking for a chance to climb Pueblo. I located the Arizona Creek gravel road and headed up towards Pueblo. The road has had some recent repair work to fill in several washouts, but it was still kind of rough. I followed the road up, crossed Arizona Creek, took a right at a fork, and continued into a little valley. The road was a little narrow, but I didn’t have any real problem making progress. Near the head of this little valley, there was a gate across the road. The only sign on the gate was to close it after you pass through.
I stopped at the gate because I could see there was an easy looking path up to the north ridge of Pueblo Mountain. I found a level camping spot and crawled into the back of my truck for a peaceful nights sleep.
Early the next morning, I got up and set out to climb Pueblo. The slope heading up to the ridge only looked to be about 400 ft high, but it was twice that. When I finally got to the top I could finally see what I hoped was Pueblo up the ridgeline to the south. In fact it was a false summit, but it was close enough to the real summit that it made for a worthy goal. I dropped over the northern ridgeline to the west and traversed around an intervening bump on the ridge.
I aimed for a saddle on the south side of this mound and I made easy progress traversing. On the way I saw 2 coyotes and a pronghorn, so the traverse passed quickly. The next obstacle seemed to be a steep part of the ridge leading up to the false summit. As I got close the steepness of the slope seemed to diminish and I just continued up the grassy area instead of the rocky ridge. There weren’t any obstacles to overcome and it was easy to find good footing all the way up to the top of the slope, up to the false summit, and then for a ½ mile across the summit plateau to the true summit.
The views were fantastic on a beautiful day. There is a benchmark on the summit and a register to sign. A gentle breeze felt good after climbing about 2,700 ft in about 2.5 miles. I rested a little while and then went down the same way I had come up. On the way down I did knock a tick off my pants leg. Total time for the hike was 3hours and 20 minutes. Pueblo is ranked #20 on the Oregon Prominence list and this is a nice hike for early in the morning. Afternoons may be warm and you may have thunderstorms for company.
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