Steens Mountain located in Oregon's high desert is one of the crown jewels of the state's wildlands. It is some of the wildest and most remote land left in Oregon. Of the Wilderness acres designated by the public law that created this area, 98,859 acres are "cow-free", meaning that no grazing will be permitted.

backpacking
5 months ago

Beautiful trek! Well worth the effort to get there. The first bit of the trail out of the campground was the hardest (for me anyway). It's exposed and on a dry slope with a rocky trail. It looked like an old, disused Jeep road. But again, the views make it worth the effort despite the heat and rolling rocks on the trail. Once we reached the two mile mark, the trail dipped into a shady patch to the first creek crossing. It was a hot day, so it was great to get our feet wet. The trail followed the creek for a bit to another crossing and the remains of an old cabin. The trail through this section was very clear and easy to follow. At the third creek crossing, the path began to grow denser with sage brush. I would recommend long pants and was really happy to have a pair on. We hiked to 6.2 miles and felt that the trail was easy to follow and not all that overgrown. We had backpacked in with the intention to stay overnight if we found a good spot. However, when we reached Cottonwood Camp we decided not to stay. It's a lovely spot if you have it all to yourself, but open and that made it a bit too "communal" for us when we knew some other backpackers were coming up the trail behind us. There were a few other primitive campsites along the trail, but all were right on the trail and offered no privacy or solitude if anyone walked by. (I'm probably just picky about my campsites.) All in all, this was a great hike! While it is remote, we saw other people on the trail including those with horses. So, it seems to be a well used trail and I can see why.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

great views... trails are good, not great. the view though - simply amazing. feul up at burns!!! Road is better, but still gravelly and bumpy so make sure to have good tires. 5 star for the views.

camping
Sunday, August 16, 2015

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!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lovely views, flowers, and birds.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lots of mosquitoes. Hot exposed switchbacks up ridge after crossing creek. Pretty vistas but more challenging than the trail is rated.

hiking
Saturday, December 29, 2012

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.

backpacking
7 months ago

10 months ago

Saturday, May 23, 2015