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Southeastern Oregon Travel Advice?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Sun195, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    I'm going down to Klamath Falls in the middle of next month for a project. I thought that I'd swing back through far SE Oregon on my way back - simply because I've never been there and I've always been curious about this area.

    Any suggestions on where I should visit (or avoid)?

    In general, I'm thinking about heading east toward Lakeview. From there, I could go north up through Chandler Park toward Burns on 395. However, I feel like I'd be missing a huge chunk of the area if I cut north this early.

    Another possibility is to continue east on 140 over to Denio and head up north on 205 to Burns. This would take me through Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which is appealing. There are also a few scenic loops along this stretch - the Diamond Loop and another around the Pueblo Mountains. However, I'm not at all sure what condition these are in, how complicated they are to navigate, etc.

    A third option would be to push over to Jordan Valley somehow - not certain how I'd do this. It looks like I'd either have to cut over before Malheur NWR on a bunch of local roads (I'm unsure about road conditions & directions) to 78 OR go up to Burns and drop back down 78 and over OR drive all the way down to Pardise Hill and up from there (a long way to go).

    If I end-up in Burns, I'd probably just drive straight up to Pendelton along 395 and back to Seattle via 84/82/90. If I go to Jordan Valley, I'd likely cut north from there up to 84 someplace (not sure where's best to come out).

    I've got maybe two solid days to explore this area, then I need to get driving home.

    Any thoughts are welcome - thanks!
  2. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    2 days isn't near enough time for that many square miles. Although, if you head to Lakeview, then up to Silverlake, then east across Christmas valley to Wagontire, then north to Burns, you'll see some cool desert and sage rat country.
    From Lakeview, if you head north on 395 the Abert lake/rim area is really cool too.
    East on 140 and then the loop through Plush will take you through the Hart Mtn. antelope refuge and that is awesome country, but then you're in Adel and,...
    I wouldn't head out towards Denio and Frenchglen, Once you get past Adel there isn't a whole lot to see if you don't have time to get out and hike, or want to 4wheel in desolate country.
    Once you get to Burns, the short detour south is worth it to the Malhuer WR.

    What kind of vehicle will you be in? Camping or motel(s)?

    Once I got back to Burns from the MWR, I'd head for John Day and then to Baker City before heading north.

    That is all beautiful country if you're into high desert and it's wildlife and rock formations.
  3. Ballistic

    Ballistic Salem, Oregon Active Member

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    If you have the time, i would head out to Frenchglen. South of there is the entrance to the Steens Mountain loop. This is a spectacular drive to the top of the Steens. At 9,000 feet you look over the Alvord Desert a mile below you. Check in advance to make sure the road is open; it closes when the snow gets deep.

    You can also drive towards Fields to get to the Alvord desert if you want to see it close up.

    These are long drive and there are not many places to stay. Plan in advance. I don't know if the hotels at Frenchglen, Diamond, and Fields are still in operation.
  4. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    I agree - but that's all I can squeeze in at this time. I can do pretty good milage on these types of trips, so I'm confident I'll see lots of country. Probably not enough time to get out to do much hiking, but at least I'll get some feel for the place.

    A stock 2009 4WD Toyota 4Runner. Probably motels - although, if none are available, I'll just sleep in my rig. I like staying in old, historic hotels - it looks like there may be a few around there, so I'm hopeful they'll be open (and in business).

    What's the road around Steens like? Some descriptions I've read make it sound a bit daunting in places. How much time should I allow for this loop?

    Any thoughts about driving on the Diamond Loop Byway?

    It looks like there are some interesting places to stay in Frenchglen and Diamond - I'll check to see if they're still open.