Oregon Trails

Burns, OR: Steens Mountain

Hike up Steens Mountain via Big Indian Canyon. Crest the summit, and trek down to return via Little Blitzen Canyon.

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


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.


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