Whether by road or by trail, Steens Mountain provides stupendous views across the Alvord Desert and four massive, glacier-carved gorges. Tucked into the corner of southeastern Oregon, the mountain is accessible along a 66-mile driving loop with a short detour to the summit, or a strenuous gorge hike and climb.
If you go
Getting there: Follow U.S. Highway 20 east to Burns, continue on state Highway 78 for two miles past Burns. Turn south on state route 205 through Frenchglen, about 10 miles to the Steens Mountain South Loop Road. Follow the unpaved road about 17 miles to the South Steens Campground (toilets, water, $6 camping fee). The trail starts at the east end of the campground,
just past the group camping area. Alternatively, follow the Steens Mountain South Loop Road another 12 miles to the summit parking lot.
Difficulty: Difficult 25 miles round trip, 4,500 feet elevation gain. (Easy
trails from summit parking lot.)
Cost: Northwest Forest Pass
Contact: BLM Burns Office, 541- 573-4400
— Bulletin staff