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Birding Hotspots - South Hills - Access off Rock Creek Canyon Road


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South Hills IBA/Crossbill Hotspots map

The easiest access into the South Hills follows the paved, year-round Rock Creek Canyon Road (County Road G3, FS 515). Exit I-84 at exit #182, take Highway 30 to the town of Hansen, then head south on Rock Creek Canyon Road into the hills. USFS and BLM travel maps are highly recommended. Reset your odometer at the foothills road (2950N) just past the quarry on your left and the "town" of Rock Creek.

South Hills - Access off Rock Creek Canyon Road

Photo Copyright © 2010
Julie Randall

Cherry Springs Road

Cherry Springs Road

Photo Copyright © 2010
Julie Randall

Habitat:

Juniper gulch.

Birds:

Bird the juniper gulch for Gray Flycatcher, Bushtit, Juniper Titmouse, Scrub Jay, and Great horned Owl.

Listen for Rock Wren, also Brewer's, Grasshopper, Lark, and Vesper Sparrow.

Continue up this road (when dry) in April to see Greater Sage and Sharp-tailed Grouse leks near the intersection with Indian Springs Road.

Directions:

Look for the signed gravel road on the right just past a small horse ranchette and a juniper gulch, about 1.4 miles after the crossing the Foothills road. Drive a quarter mile up the gravel road to a pull out on your right.

Harrington Fork Picnic Area

Harrington Fork Picnic Area

Photo Copyright © 2010
Julie Randall

Signed picnic area and trailhead. Highly recommended!

Habitat:

Riparian area with rhyolite cliffs and sagebrush/juniper uplands.

Birds:

Plumbeous Vireo, Lazuli Bunting, Fox Sparrow, Flammulated Owl, Chukar Partridge.

Directions:

On left side of road, 9.6 miles from Foothills road. Wander through the paved trails in the picnic area. Hike at least 1/8 mile up the Harrington creek trail (this trail continues 10+ miles).

Third Fork Trailhead

Third Fork Trailhead

Photo Copyright © 2010
Julie Randall

Signed picnic area, trailhead and primitive camping. Both motorized and non-motorized trails available.

Habitat:

Creek with small riparian zone of Juniper, Cottonwood, and Chokecherry, Dry grassy hillsides with Sage, Rabbit, and Antelope Bitterbrush.

Birds:

Lewis' Woodpecker, Chukar, many riparian birds, owls, and raptors.

Directions:

13.1 miles from Foothills road. Non-motorized "Rim" trail on the right (west side) of road. Large trailhead and picnic area to left; ATVs often present here. Take the Wahlstrom hollow branch of third fork trail after 1/8 mile if ATV's are annoying.

Ross Falls

Ross Falls

Photo Copyright © 2010
Julie Randall

Short trail with signed trailhead.

Habitat:

Aspen and subalpine Fir.

Birds:

Sapsuckers, woodpeckers, warblers, thrushes.

Directions:

Signed trailhead on right 16.7 miles past Foothills road.

Eagle Trail at Pettit Campground

Eagle Trail at Pettit Campground

Photo Copyright © 2010
Julie Randall

Signed Campground and trailhead. Paysite campground with water and toilets. Non-motorized trail.

Habitat:

Subalpine forest of fir, pine, and giant aspen.

Birds:

Excellent place to observe South Hills Crossbill, sapsuckers, warblers, wrens, thrushes, chickadees, siskin, swallows, etc.

Directions:

On right, past Magic Mountain ski resort. Use either jeeproad access at 19.0 miles or access from campsite at 19.3 miles from Foothills road. Also consider driving through the Diamondfield Jack parking lot, 20.0 miles from Foothills road. A busy area, but a good place to find crossbills.

Porcupine Springs Campground

Porcupine Springs Campground

Photo Copyright © 2010
Julie Randall

Busy campground with plenty of ATV activity but a very good area to drive around looking for crossbills.

Habitat:

Campground with Aspen, Subalpine Fir, Lodgepole Pine. Small Creeks with Beaver Dam and marshy areas nearby.

Birds:

South Hills Crossbill

Directions:

Left onto FS 500 (gravel road).

Bostetter Campground / Father and Son's Campground

Bostetter Campground / Father & Son's Campground

Photo Copyright © 2010
Julie Randall

Good camping area.

Habitat:

Large Aspen, Subalpine Fir, Lodgepole Pine and Juniper.

Birds:

South Hills Crossbills, Northern Goshawks, plus forest birds/riparian birds, sage grouse, blue grouse, ruffed grouse.

Directions:

Take Forest Service Road #500 east from Porcupine Springs Campground or west from the town of Oakley (Forest service map recommended).

 
South Hills Crossbill

South Hills Crossbill

How often do you get to discover a new bird species in the continental United States - let alone in your own backyard? Learn all about the South Hills Crossbill and the challenges faced to have it listed as a new species.

Read on for more info