The golden-mantled ground squirrel doubtlessly is the most distinctively marked ground squirrel in Oregon; a white stripe bordered on both sides by a black stripe extends from the shoulder to the hip. From nose to nape above the eye, the head is russet. The back between the stripes is grizzled dark grayish-brown becoming less grizzled on the rump; lateral to the stripes the color grades to a light buffy-gold on the venter. The face, shoulders, front legs, and feet are a bright orangish-gold.
This ground squirrel occupies the east slope of the Cascade Range and most of central Oregon, and the Siskiyou mountain, Wallowa Mountains, Steens Mountain and southeastward south of Huntington, Baker County.
The golden-mantled ground squirrel is active diurnally from late winter-early spring to mid autumn. Most of its activity is confined to the ground where it travels rapidly among stumps, logs, or other slightly elevated prominences. In late summer it is highly visible as it scurries about gleaning seeds.