Looking for a great trail in Steens Mountain Wilderness, Oregon? AllTrails has 7 great hiking trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Gearing up for a challenge? There are 3 hard trails in Steens Mountain Wilderness ranging from 5.6 to 25.6 miles and from 4,284 to 9,560 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

hiking

views

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.

The hike is challenging from a terrain perspective but short and beautiful! I would highly recommend. Four of us did it, 90 minutes down and an hour back up. Take your fly rod, you won’t be disappointed.

hiking
3 months ago

Backpacked here 9/22-9/23. Set up camp along the stream at 6.7 miles and then took an evening stroll a couple miles more down the trail through incredible aspen forests and turned around at the waterfall. Streams were very manageable to cross either by taking shoes off and walking across barefoot or rock stepping. Although caution for slippery rocks

Incredible hike! Ran down the trail and took a dive into the lake. I would rate this hike difficult for steepness though.

This trail was beautiful in late September with the aspens starting to change color and a dusting of snow up above on the Steens. It should really be rated moderate instead of hard, the grade is very gentle and would be great for a trail run. I brought trekking poles with me but never needed to use them. Even the creek crossings at this time of year were easy, about ankle deep. I did this as a day hike in 6 hours. I recommend going an extra half mile or so past where the trail ends on AllTrails, the trail continues and goes through some pretty magical aspen groves around mile 7. There are good campsites here as well, along the river. I hardly saw anyone else on my hike, so there should be no problem finding a good campsite. The last mile is a bit overgrown in sections, so I would recommend pants. It's evident that they've been working to cut back the sagebrush from the trail though, so it's mostly well defined and easy to follow. The grasshoppers are out in force right now, every step you take sends them flying! They're a little annoying, but also pretty in all their colors. Gorgeous, scenic hike.

Tough loop trail. In and out at each gorge would be great. Up and over is a really tough haul. Hot with little shade on trail and no shade on up and over. Helps if you can hitch a ride at road to save a few miles - people were helpful and didn’t seem to mind. Plus side is that there are little to no people on trail and dogs can roam free. Flies were bad and horseflies were biting. Beautiful scenery. Wish I had waited a couple of weeks to have cooler temps and see the aspens change colors. Plenty of water at bottom of gorges. No water once you started up until next gorge so pack accordingly.

hiking
no shade
off trail
over grown
private property
rocky
scramble
washed out
4 months ago

Hiked pike creek canyon trail 8/11/19. 3.7 miles with 716 elevation gain in 2hrs 23mins total time and 2hrs 9 mins moving time. Started from the main road as I was unsure how the road into the trailhead would be and I'm glad I did. The road in is more suitable for 4x4 vehicles. This area is controlled be alvord, so make sure you pay their fee so you can enjoy their property. There is a couple of tent camping spots here as well. The trail was primitive in places. Loved the views of the canyon and caves as well. I decided to turn around when the trail became more of a game trail. There are also a couple of washouts near what used to be a mine. There is also a creek crossing next to the tent camping areas. Trail information is on the main road that alvord hot springs is off of. There are no bathrooms here. The upper area of the trail is owned by steens mountain. I did not see the abandoned mine eventhough I hiked right next to it, although I did see rail tracks for a mine cart.

Great to see a gorge towering over you. Not a difficult trail (went about 3 miles in and then back out). River crossing required taking shoes off. Lots of plant diversity and great views of the hanging gardens above. Some really nice small swimming holes, which was fun, although the water was very cold for lengthy swimming. Beautiful. The beginning/end was a little sunnier/hotter than I had expected because it takes a while to get inside the gorge.

hiking
5 months ago

Mostly fun to stand on the top that high. The trail up is short & not that interesting. The top is a bit noisy with equipment and generators. But the views are great.

Incredibly stunning wildflowers and scenery. So peaceful down by the lake. The long (25 mile) gravel roadway to get there was in better shape than I had expected given some other previous reviews. That said, there were some areas of the trail that were downright scary with lots of loose rock and steep drop-offs. Everyone up there, including some very experienced hikers, was remarking upon it. Worth it though.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

Best view on the Steens.

backpacking
6 months ago

We did this July 1-2. Beautiful hike and overnight. Would not rate as hard, a very easy backpacking trip. The review below is correct, about 7 miles in is where the good campsites near the stream start. We forded the creek three times, all knee height or below. There were multiple waterfalls, beautiful views and wildflowers. I imagine any later in the year and it’ll become too hot. There is not a lot of coverage. Really enjoyed this and highly recommend for a day hike or backpacking trip!

hiking
6 months ago

Stunning view.

Wow! Here's one that makes you work for it! The trail is steep and at high elevation, so expect to need to stop for breathers if you're not used to either. However, the views make it all worth it. It's not a long trail, is well defined and easy to follow. As you get closer to the lake, you realize the magnitude of your surroundings. We saw someone camping on the far shore and could barely make them out they were so far away. This area is so special and otherworldly. I highly recommend the hike. P.S. It was super windy and cold when we were there in mid-September. It even started to snow on our way back around the loop road. So prepare for adverse weather conditions no matter the time of year.

Fantastic loop trail that combines Big Indian Gorge to Little Blitzen. You have to climb OUT of the canyon at the end of Big Indian. No small task! Recommend a 3 day, 2 night trip. We went in September and the Aspens on Big Indian were starting to change. Take a look at Big Indian Gorge for more reviews. Definitely involves bushwacking and some navigation skills when climbing the rock wall!

hiking
Sat Aug 25 2018

No summit really. But it was good to get the legs moving.

Beautiful hike. Worth the time. Hubby even caught some fish

The two trails shown here are Wildhorse Lake Trail and Steens Mountain Summit Trail, both start from the same parking lot. The summit trail is actually a service road that is very steep but not too long. I do a lot of hiking and backpacking and was surprised how tiring the walk up was but remember this is at almost 10,000ft so that may affect you. The lake trail is very very steep with harsh switchbacks, but it's pretty short as well. There is a third trail that branches off of the lake trail and goes along the ridge to the right, maybe a mile or so. It is pretty fun but isn't for children. It's rocky and on the ledge, though it's nothing too intense but not safe for some. I don't know the name of this trail unfortunately. I'll refer to it as Wildhorse Ridge Trail

backpacking
Sat Jul 14 2018

I went the weekend before the 4th of July and the weather was perfect, not too hot yet. I was actually afraid it would be too cold at night and if you camp at the very end on the stone lookout area I imagine it would be chilly and windy, so be prepared. I camped at 6.5 miles in and wish I had walked about another mile where the camping starts to get really good. There are forest groves and open areas without scratchy scrubs, and few access points to the creek until about 7.5 miles in. I used a Garmin InReach which tracked the entire trip at about 17 miles if I remember correctly. In terms of terrain, I would rate the hike as easy with some moderate parts. I have no idea how it is rated hard other than the distance as it is mostly flat and smooth enough for horseback riding with older kids. If you made this a day hike it would be hard because of that, but not terrain. I ended up hiking 6.5 miles the first day and hiked the entire rest of it the next day, finishing by late afternoon a day early. I had a heavier than normal back due to extra water and was fine. Don't be deterred by the hard rating, it would be a great beginner two night backpacking trip. Bring lots of water! If I could do it again I would hike all the way to the end and camp there, there's a nicely assembled firepit and a few good spots to set up tent without being right in the open.

hiking
Fri Jun 01 2018

A nice hike simply for the variety that SE Oregon can provide. I hiked in June without bug issues.

hiking
Fri Feb 23 2018

Challenging and lonely hike in the Steens Mountain Wilderness. Lots of elevation change. Scenery is good the whole way. I went in winter but looks like there could be good wildflowers in spring. I expect it would be crazy hot here in the summer. Marked track here is accurate until near the end of the trail. Best to stay on the obvious trail and not go straight up the Butte like the track here shows.

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