It was raining when we got up and it rained during the whole 60 mile drive from Frenchglen, Oregon to the turn-off to Alvord Peak at the southern end of the Steens, about 5 miles north of Fields, Oregon. This is Hike #72 in Bond’s 2005 75 Scrambles in Oregon, the difference being that the eastern Steens Road is now paved to the turn-off and beyond. We made the turn and, after a mile of 4×4 driving on a deeply rutted two-track dirt road, reached the trailhead at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wilderness boundary. There we sat in the truck until the rain quit. When it soon did, we went for the peak. Continue reading →
After a night of rain, we woke to clear, almost cloudless skies and new snow on Steens Mountain! We decided to take advantage of these good conditions – which didn’t last all day – to hike one of the classics – the trail into the canyon of the Little Blitzen River on the west side of Steens Mountain (Hike #91 in Sullivan’s Eastern Oregon guide (Third Edition)). The unique combination of clear skies and fresh snow made for an amazing hike!
The terrain in and around the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area and the Steens Mountain Wilderness is well known to birders, photographers, and hunters but seems less so to hikers – the various hiking guides for Oregon usually only list a few “classic” hikes in this area. That, combined with it being 6-7 hours from Oregon’s population centers, means that crowded trails are never an issue. Our plan was to spend a few days out in the Steens checking out some of the classic and not so classic hikes and starting to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Continue reading →