You can see Steens Mountain from hundreds of miles away, slowly rising on the flat horizon of southeastern Oregon; the near-10,000-foot, 30-mile-long block of basalt is so titanic, it’s often confused for an entire mountain range. This improvised loop leads hikers up and down two massive, U-shaped gorges (Blitzen and Big Indian), both carved out in the last ice age and reminiscent of extreme Icelandic landscapes. Here, you’ll be treated to gushing waterfalls, deep canyons, and endless views from your sky-high perch above the cracked white earth of the Alvord Desert.
CAN’T MISS: Check out the stunning views of the half-mile-deep Big Indian Gorge and the hanging valley that cradles Wildhorse Lake.
DIRECTIONS: From Burns, Oregon, drive 60 miles south on OR 205 to Frenchglen. Turn left onto North Steens Mountain Loop Road immediately south of town, or proceed 10 miles on OR 205 to the South Loop Road and watch for trailheads. Uplands access is blocked from about Halloween to July 1.