The Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, just south of Prairie City, is a popular destination for local outdoor enthusiasts.

Its accessibility, natural beauty and relative lack of crowds make it a great place to spend the weekend, or the week.

The Strawberry Campground provides a great place to enjoy the woods without sacrificing any of the comforts of car-camping. Roughly a mile up from the campground is Strawberry Lake, a refreshingly cold body of water still ringed by snow as late as June.

The lake is full of trout and a great spot for fishing, whether you’re a hiker or bird of prey.

Hang out by the lake for a few hours, or even make it a night at one of the lakeside campsites. Strawberry Falls is only a short distance above the lake and is another must-see in the area. The trail goes right by it, and you’re sure to hear the falls before you see them.

Towering above the lake is Strawberry Peak at 9,042 feet. Typically snowed in until late in the summer, the peak offers an incredible view of the surrounding area. The peak can also be accessed by Forest Road 1640, significantly reducing the distance of the hike to the peak.

On the backside of the mountain is Slide Lake, another high elevation lake cold enough to take your breath away. Just over a ridge frequented by mountain goats lies High Lake, another great spot to stop and take in the views and abundance of wildflowers.

A multi-day loop will take you to all of these attractions as well as through thick forests, exposed ridges and recovering burn areas. With ample opportunities for great landscape and wildlife photography, the Strawberry Wilderness is a great place to lose the crowds and find yourself.

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