steens mountain in eastern oregon.

Steens Mountain Cooperative Management
Protection Area:

  • An Adventure on the eastern side of the mountain:

    Those people I've spoken to began their adventure with Steens Mountain at French Glen on the western slopes. If so, the mountain looks surprisingly inconsequential on the landscape until you stand on the edge of upthrust stone and look down.

    Brad and I did not experience the mountain that way on our first adventure with Steens Mountain. We drove east and south on Hwy 140 into Nevada, through the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge and then drove north along the eastern flanks of the Pueblo Mountains, until we came in contact with Steens Mountain, just one of Nature's magestic crowns, but oh, so magnificent. The mountain, the desert, the azure sky spun in silken cloud.

    The road forks at Fields, Oregon. At that point one can approach the mountain from the west or from the east. We chose the east and a well maintained gravel road.

    It was July and quite hot. I don't believe I have ever drank so much water or Snapple. Both borders of the road were blanketed with wildflowers, on the west the mountain, and on the east Alvord Desert, a now dry alkali lake.

    Alvord Desert boasts a very nice hot spring, one pool under cover, the other open to the night sky, which is when most people made use of this welcome feature.

    Malheur Wildlife Refuge crosses the northern boundary Steens Mountain Cooperative Management Protection Area.

  • An unexpected turn of events on the western side of the mountain:

    On our second occasion we decided to drive north and east through Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in the Warner Mountains, a gravel road once again. We were not so fortunate on this adventure. One of the brake shoes came loose at some point on our journey and, because of the noise of driving on gravel, we were not aware of it until we drove onto the Hwy 205 south of French Glen. If you're familiar with French Glen, you know there are no auto repair shops. At least there weren't then, and I believe that is probably the case still. As it was dusk, we only had time to make arrangements for the night.

    Although this adventure was not what we expected, one of my memories of that occasion is walking down the road at nightfall, with coyotes howling to the west of me, and another on the eastern side of the road, complaining to his comrades at the humans so
    brazenly walking in between them.

    The next morning we called for a tow truck, coming out of Burns, Oregon, I guess about 75 miles to the north, to get the van and us. We spent our little vacation in Burns waiting for the repairs on the van. I have not been back and therefore, have not stood on the mountain ledge above the Great Basin and looked at the expanse of life before me. That is an adventure still waiting to happen.

    For your information, Frenchglen boasts Frenchglen Hotel.

  • Burns and the neighboring community of Hines, Oregon:

    If you're interested, Burns is a cowboy town. It has an interesting pioneer museum seemingly overflowing with settler treasures of the old west. Nearby Hines has, or did then, a nice, simple city park. The people were friendly, down home sorts. The tow truck driver was a real country boy, and brought that out in Brad. I'd never seen that facet of Brad's personality before. It was an quite eye opener. At the time we were there, walking all over both towns, it was possible to get a Blizzard of any possible flavor at the local Dairy Queen. It was hot, and such creativity was a pleasant diversion. :-)

the steens desert at sunset.

Sunset ~ Looking east across the Alvord Desert opposite the Steens Mountain in the Great Basin.

  steens mountain in eastern oregon.

Forward ~ Vista from the Fandango Pass in the Warner Mountains in northeastern California.

Back ~ The Warners and Hey! We're outback, who can remember where all these photographs were taken?

Brad and I offer the Central Oregon and the Oregon Outback Tour: Travel Directions, Map and Scenery for your enjoyment.

Traveling Oregon's Outback: High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway.


Travel Oregon and northern California while staying at Gathering Light ... a retreat
located in south central Oregon, near Crater Lake National Park.

  Cabins, tree houses in the forest on the river at gathering light ... a retreat located in southern oregon near crater lake national park.

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