Gates were vandalized repeatedly and they seem to have given up on replacing them.
May be closed during fire season.
To reach the summit, travel south out of Alsea on the Alsea-Deadwood Highway until you come to Swamp Creek. Take the next road, unsigned, that goes up Brown Creek. After the pavement ends proceed upward, taking the right fork. Follow this main forest road about 5 miles to Gunsight Pass, proceed down the south side, passing a road on the left, and then pass another left (which goes 8 miles to Horton, and eventually is the retrieval route to Fern Ridge Res.), and keeping to the right, go uphill past a rock quarry. There is a gate just ahead, usually open.
Proceed to the summit on rough road, 4WD not required but use caution with low clearance vehicles. Do not take any right forks, proceed upward and to the west until you are in sight of towers and the foundation for an old lookout cabin. The old (overgrown) launch is just a few feet north of the foundation. A more recent hang launch (abrupt nearly flat to steep transition) is west at the top of the road. There are other potential launches in the recent clearcut further west but none would be called good.
Summit: 44.2777 N, -123.6089 W
LZ: 44 16' 28.80" N, 123 39' 16.98" W
Useful quads are Prairie Peak, Grass Mtn., Alsea, Flat Mountain, Digger Mtn., Glenbrook, Windy Peak, Triangle Lake, Horton
Prairie Peak, with a launch at the 3422' west summit, is a high point in the middle of the coast range west of Corvallis and southwest of Marys Peak, the highest point in the coast range. It takes a northwest to northeast wind and is a thermal site. Hang glider pilots have been flying here for many years. XC trips south and east toward Triangle Lake and Fern Ridge Res. are in the books. Recent paraglider flights here have been in light wind and light thermals, getting to 5000' and landing in the bailout clear cut just below the summit. There is a clearcut, on top of a knob, closer to the Alsea-Lobster Valley road, but it should be flagged before going on to the summit.
The landing zone is a field about 1 mile from the Lobster Valley junction east along Hazel Glen Road. Look for a house on the east and a barn with a rusty roof on the west, and a blue gate to a field with ribbons on it during season. Park along the old road on the north side of the home property. Before flying the site an LZ needs to be chosen and a car left there. The bottom photo shows the gate at the LZ of choice for hang glider pilots. This photo is looking northwest from the house across the road. Pilots have flown further west down Lobster Valley on a good day, but be aware we are not welcome in the first several fields.
The bailout LZ is a rough road down the middle of the clear cut just below and
east of launch, reached from a road near the 3.5 mile mark on the way up. The
wind is usually the same direction as on launch, but be prepared for turbulence
and a no-wind fast run landing. A car can be left there, or one can hike back to
the summit, about 40 minutes of huffing and puffing. Other clearcuts could be
used as bailouts, including the top of the Knob.
LZ at farm on Hazel Glen Road from southeast, looking northwest. Lobster Valley junction is back along the road to the right (north). If you travel further south on this road it eventually connects with state highway 36 near Triangle Lake, with at least a couple of different routes through Horton, and down Swamp Creek Rd. that comes out near the round barn on 36. This could be useful to know ahead of time if a pilot were to go XC south from the summit.
Regular LZ is in the clearing near the Barn LZ, at the west end of Prairie Mountain. A landing was made at the far end of Lobster Valley, but we are not welcome in the first few fields past the Barn LZ. Report of a flight from overgrown east launch.
View from launch area. Grass Mt. on the horizon right, above Alsea. Photo by Mike Steed 9/06
View from Knob looking south to the summit launch area. Photo by Mike Steed 9/06. Check for tree growth.
LZ at farm on Hazel Glen Road from southeast, looking northwest. Lobster Valley junction is back along the road to the right (north).
If you travel further south on this road it eventually connects with state highway 36 near Triangle Lake, with at least a couple of different routes through Horton, and down Swamp Creek Rd., near the round barn on 36. This could be useful to know ahead of time if a pilot were to go XC south from the summit.
Updated July 2014 Mike Steed, Ancil Nance