Big Indian Gorge Trail is a 13.2 mile out and back trail located near Frenchglen, Oregon that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from June until October.
The views of the rock formations and dramatic mountain scenery are phenomenal in this area. We hiked this trail to the 7 mile point with backpacking and camping gear, and really enjoyed the stunning views as the scenery unfolded up the majestic canyon. Having said that, there are a few logistical concerns to share about this trail. It is extremely overgrown with sagebrush past the 3 mile point. We were wearing shorts and got very scratched up from having to plough through the sagebrush. The BLM information on this trail states that "many beautiful, existing primitive campsights beckon the overnighter," however, we could not find a single campsight area to pitch a tent. They may have been lost to disuse, as this trail appears to have very little traffic. The 3 stream crossings required wading through a foot of water, even in early August. Other than that, a great trail, and we would do it again - perhaps with a machete!
A beautiful hike into the heart of Steens Mountain. It's well worth the effort it takes to get there. I wish we had decided to spend the night, as it was a trudge to hike all the way out and then drive back to Frenchglen.
If you go, watch out for rattlesnakes - there are numerous warnings posted at the trailhead.