Rimrock Ranch

A 1,123 acre private ranch near Sisters, Oregon.
  • Private property; not open to the public.
  • No trails or facilities.
  • Whychus Creek, rimrock cliffs, canyon scenery.
  • Golden eagles and other raptors, geologic wonders, scenic views.

 

Rimrock Ranch is a private 1,123 acre ranch near Sisters. The Land Trust worked with its owners in 2006 to protect its outstanding natural resources. Rimrock Ranch contains 1.7 miles of Whychus Creek, native grasslands, juniper forests, and unique rock formations. The property is located outside of Sisters, Oregon (see map below) and is home to a host of wildlife species including salmon and steelhead, mule deer, rocky mountain elk, golden eagles, and numerous songbirds. Take our virtual tour or read below to learn more about the property.

  • What to See

    Unique rock formations at Rimrock Ranch. Photo: M.A. Willson.
    Unique rock formations at Rimrock Ranch. Photo: M.A. Willson.
    Rimrock Ranch can only be visited on guided Land Trust tours or via hosted educational offerings. When visiting:

    • Watch for wildlife: Rimrock canyons, streamside willows, and tall pines provide a variety of habitat for a host of other species from bobcat and beaver to deer and elk. More than 100 bird species have been documented on the property and a pair of golden eagles have nested in the rocky cliffs. Rimrock Ranch also has a large population of native showy milkweed that is naturally occurring—so watch for monarch butterflies!
    • Learn about Whychus Creek: Nearly two miles of Whychus Creek flows through the meadows of Rimrock Ranch. Whychus Creek provides important habitat for salmon and steelhead, songbirds, and other wildlife that forage and take cover in its streamside vegetation. The Land Trust is currently working with our restoration partners to restore the portion of Whychus Creek that runs through Rimrock Ranch. Learn more.
    • Outstanding scenery: Rimrock Ranch is a beautiful place to visit on a guided tour. Perched above Whychus Creek canyon, the Ranch contains native grasslands, juniper forests, unique rock formations, and spectacular scenic views.
  • Conservation Values

    Whychus Creek at Rimrock Ranch. Photo: Land Trust.
    Whychus Creek at Rimrock Ranch. Photo: Land Trust.
    Rimrock Ranch protects 1.7 miles of Whychus Creek with high quality habitat for salmon, steelhead, and other wildlife. The ranch includes a rare wet meadow in an arid landscape that offers exceptional biological diversity relative to surrounding lands. Habitat types include creekside vegetation, juniper and pine woodlands, and cottonwood and aspen stands that are home to a host of wildlife species.

    Rimrock Ranch also provides habitat connectivity between Land Trust protected lands upstream and adjacent public lands. The Land Trust manages Rimrock Ranch to protect these characteristics.

     

  • Restoration Activities

    Whychus Creek at Rimrock Ranch. Photo: John Williams.
    Whychus Creek at Rimrock Ranch. Photo: John Williams.
    The Land Trust manages Rimrock Ranch to protect and, where necessary, restore fish and wildlife habitat. We are currently working to draft the management plans that will guide restoration activities at the property. Initial efforts are focused on:

    • Managing weeds. Noxious weeds are a reality at all Land Trust protected lands. If they are not actively managed they compromise healthy native plant communities.
    • Restoring Whychus Creek. Rimrock Ranch is part of a larger effort to restore six miles of Whychus Creek. Learn more about creek restoration efforts including our 2021 project at Rimrock Ranch
    • Long-term planning. The Land Trust is working to create the management plans that will guide the future of the property. These plans will outline future restoration, as well as educational use.

     


     

  • Know Before You Go

    Rimrock Ranch can only be visited on guided Land Trust tours or via hosted educational offerings. When visiting, please note that Rimrock Ranch is a rustic natural setting. There are no established facilities such as trails, toilets, trash removal, or parking. 


    Rimrock Ranch guidelines

    Rimrock Ranch can only be visited on guided tours or via other authorized use. All use is conditional upon following these and any other posted rules:

    • Pedestrian travel only; no bike, horse, or motorized vehicle use.
    • Respect restrictions as posted.
    • Removal or disturbance of plants, wildlife, and historical artifacts is prohibited.
    • Dogs are not allowed.
    • No hunting, camping, campfires, smoking, or unmanned aircraft use.
    • Commercial use, private events, and unauthorized public use are prohibited.


    Please note: Rimrock Ranch is private property owned by Deschutes Land Trust. Your use of the property is conditional upon these and any other posted rules. Property users failing to observe posted rules are trespassing and subject to applicable laws and penalties. Visitors to the property may encounter risks associated with terrain, wildlife, and weather. Please exercise appropriate caution: the Deschutes Land Trust is not liable for injuries to Rimrock Ranch visitors.

  • Maps

    The map below shows the location of Rimrock Ranch in relation to other Land Trust conserved lands. Rimrock Ranch can only be visited on guided Land Trust tours or via hosted educational offerings.

  • Cultural History

    From time immemorial, Native Americans, including the Warm Springs, Wasco, and Paiute tribes, lived in this region or visited it to hunt, fish, gather foods, and trade. Rimrock Ranch is within the lands ceded to the United States in the Treaty with the Tribes of Middle Oregon in 1855. The bands that signed the 1855 Treaty moved onto to the Warm Springs Reservation and are known as the Wasco and Warm Springs tribes. Paiute people began settling on the Warm Springs Reservation in 1879 and, along with the Wasco and Warm Springs tribes, now comprise the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, by virtue of the Treaty of 1855, have legal rights to harvest and manage wildlife and, by implication, the right to habitats suitable to support wildlife populations. The Land Trust considers the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs an important partner in management and restoration of the property.

    The first Euro-Americans began to arrive in Central Oregon in the 1800s as trappers, explorers, and survey crews began mapping the region. In 1843 westward migration began along the Oregon Trail as the federal government forcibly re-settled Native Americans and offered western lands to Euro-Americans. In 1865, the Santiam Wagon Road was completed, connecting the Willamette Valley to Central Oregon and bringing even more settlement to the region. A key settlement in the vicinity of Rimrock Ranch was Hindman Station at nearby Camp Polk Meadow. Hindman Station was a stopping place for travelers on the Santiam Wagon between 1868-1885.

    Gayle and Bob Baker. Photo: Jim Yuskavitch.
    Gayle and Bob Baker. Photo: Jim Yuskavitch.
    The land that is now known as Rimrock Ranch was held by numerous owners for various lengths of time during the early 1900s. The size of the property increased or decreased through several sales and by 1979 the land was permitted for a 14 lot subdivision.

    Bob Baker acquired Rimrock Ranch in 1988. He and his wife Gayle moved to the ranch full time in the 2001, knowing they had found a unique piece of Central Oregon. They sustainably grazed cattle on the ranch and worked diligently to protect and enhance wildlife habitat, but they also worried that the ranch would one day be developed. They reached out to the Land Trust hoping we could work together to conserve Rimrock Ranch forever. In 2006, the Bakers took the first step by protecting the ranch with a land preservation agreement with the Land Trust. Then in 2020 they realized their long-term vision when the Land Trust purchased and permanently protected the property.