Most of the hike was on top of the bluff. The vegetation was juniper & sage which covers most of central Oregon & so therefore pretty "ho-hum". One-and-a-half miles of the trail over look down into the gorge. This can cause a bit of vertigo, but worth the view...this is why it only gets two stars.
This was a geology hike led and sponsored by the Deschutes Land Trust. The hike began in an area of volcanic tuff (pyroclastic flows) at the trail head and ran 1.5 miles down to Alder Springs and Whychus Creek, which is an area of sedimentary deposition. There are several hoodoos above the Springs. This hike did not cross (ford) Whychus Creek. After the ford, the trail continues another 1.5 miles to the confluence of Whychus Creek with the Deschutes River. Be advised that you pay for the walk down with a climb back out of the canyon, but it is not too taxing.
The Alder Springs trail was full of GREAT views, and was a spectacular trail. The trail condition at times was poor, but for the most part the overall trail was in great condition. The trail was demanding in the way of climb and elevation. Not many negatives about this trail at all though. I would recommend this to anyone ready for a challenging hike but challenging enough for the GREAT views of canyons! Awesome!