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The Steens

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The Steens

Postby oldranger » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:29 am

This range was just mentioned by Dave54 in response to a request for info by LMBSGV. I was going to post a link to a TR about the Steens that I had posted a few years ago. But guess what--I never posted. So here are a few pics. The Steens is a fault block range, composed of layers of volcanic flows, that pops up out of the Alvord Desert to the east. The east face of the range is precipitous while the west slope is gradual, sloping up from Malhuer Wildlife Refuge (large wetlands). Primary vegetation, as dave indicated, is sagebrush and the remarkable stands of aspen but there are also thousands of acres covered by juniper. However in addition to the geology the most notable feature of the area, in my opinion, is the wildflower display that typically peaks around mid july. I was truly astounded at the color that was displayed on my visit--especially the flowers dispersed within the sagebrush--never seen that before.

The roaded access is mostly graded gravel suitable for any passenger car. However!!!!!!!!! the lower part of the southern section of the "Steens Loop Road" is one nasty motha! It was no problem for the 4 runner and a more civilized SUV (e.g. Subaru Outbacks etc.) can negotiate the road as well. But I would never consider taking the Prius over that stretch of the road.

There are several campgrounds in the area--in july the lower ones are hot and the higher ones (7,000 ft. or so) can be cold or refreshingly cool, and sometimes quite windy. And when the flowers peak--so do the mosquitos.

The Steens is a perfect 4 day trip from Bend (or longer if you take backroads).

As I recall the quality of the pics was impacted by smoke from a fire to the west.

Wildhorse lake.jpg
Wildhorse Lake
Kiger Gorge.jpg
Kiger Gorge
WH Flowers.jpg
Natural Garden


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Re: The Steens

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:47 pm

I made a trip to Steens a few years back, during my quest for native trout and I spent a couple of days there and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I slept out at night and marveled at the blanket of stars that were so vivid in the high desert air. The fishing was pretty good, too. Definitely a place I will go back to someday.
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Some pics of native salmonids: http://flyguydave.wordpress.com/
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Re: The Steens

Postby maverick » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:31 pm

Hi OR,

Very nice! iI reminds me of the Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Thanks
for posting this.
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Re: The Steens

Postby oldranger » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:27 pm

Here is another pic of the entire Steens Range from about 40 miles east.
Steens.jpg
Steens from E.


Same range from same distance but from west. (wikipedia says it is one mountain not a range)
Steens from W..jpg
Steens from W.



Also there is a road to a communication site on the very peak. It is the highest road in oregon at over 9700 ft. but there is a locked gate about 1/2 mile from the summit so the public can walk but not drive the top portion of the road. Earlier this winter some workers were stranded up at the site for a few days after getting caught in a snowstorm.

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Re: The Steens

Postby TehipiteTom » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:51 pm

Cool photos. I always wanted to check out Steens Mountain...might have to wait until I have more time, though.
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Re: The Steens

Postby dave54 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:38 pm

On a semi-related side note -- I got a cell signal on top from near the gate. I had to plug in the cell booster and a larger antennae, and then only got 1 bar. I don't know the nearest cell tower from there, but it must be a good distance. All the more reason to go there... :lol:

We spent a couple days just hiking around the adjacent NWR.
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