Burns, OR: Steens Mountain - Backpacker

Burns, OR: Steens Mountain

Hike up Steens Mountain via Big Indian Canyon. Crest the summit, and trek down to return via Little Blitzen Canyon.
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23 miles
4200 ft elevation gain
Little shade
Steep scrambles with no trail.
Water available most of the trip except for about 4 hot miles along the top.
Amazing scenery, with views of the Alvord Desert and Idaho.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 45.2

Waypoints

South Steens Campground

Location: 42.6557795, -118.726995

$6 per night per vehicle. Great campground with vault toilets and water.

Big Indian Trailhead

Location: 42.6557953, -118.7262332

03-JUL-09 7:42:49AM

Creek ford

Location: 42.6520379, -118.6896418

03-JUL-09 9:28:11AM

Creek ford

Location: 42.6694477, -118.6715882

03-JUL-09 10:58:35AM

Cabin ruin

Location: 42.6552823, -118.6800182

03-JUL-09 9:53:52AM

Creek Ford

Location: 42.6534044, -118.6794662

The deepest of these was about calf-high

Creek Ford

Location: 42.6693992, -118.6714355

03-JUL-09 10:58:45AM

Horse Camp

Location: 42.6603479, -118.6347485

Camp 1

Location: 42.6553218, -118.6011028

Cross the creek and set up camp in a small cove of trees, or in the open meadows surrounded by sage. Careful of lightning, with the afternoon thunderstorms.

Camping in the canyon

Location: 42.6554875, -118.6012101

view down the Big Indian creek route.

Crest

Location: 42.6335798, -118.5944939

Begin ridgewalk here. There is no water for the next several miles, and you are at over 9,000 feet.

Road junction

Location: 42.64122, -118.5798168

Drop packs and hike up 1/4 mile along the road to the summit. Return here, and continue another 2 miles along the road to Little Blitzen Canyon.

Steens Summit

Location: 42.6354189, -118.576169

Views to the east include the Alvord Desert and Wildhorse lake.

Steens summit

Location: 42.6342113, -118.5730362

Views of Wildhorse lake and the Alvord Desert.

Little Blitzen Canyon

Location: 42.6840916, -118.5646999

Descend into the canyon here.

Camp 2

Location: 42.6821357, -118.6071754

Little Blitzen trailhead

Location: 42.663664, -118.7215984

05-JUL-09 11:36:57AM

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