- Estimated Cost: $300
- Max Trip Size: 4 people
Backpack the Steens Mountain, Southeastern Oregon
Includes 5 days, 6 nights on trail plus up to 2 travel days to and from Sacramento or Boise area. Around 10 miles hiking per day. Group size: around 4 – 5. Your individual costs depend on your travel arrangements. Rental car vehicles and gas used for shuttle and group travel would be shared expense across group (around $150 – $300 per person).
For Rovers coming from Minnesota, option to fly in to Sacramento, CA and drive with trip leader 8 hours to trailhead campground at Page Springs, sharing transportation costs. Or fly into Boise, Idaho and rent your own vehicle for the week with 4 hour drive each way to Page springs campground. More details on shuttle logistics depending on where participants are traveling from.
This classic backpack crossing of the largest fault-block mountain in North America starts at Page Springs campground, a few miles from Frenchglen, just outside the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, then ascends eastward easily and moderately up and over the crest of Steens Mountain, around 30 miles to 9,000 ft, and descends 19 miles to Frog Springs on the edge of the Alvord Desert, 5,000 feet below. The route is rated easy to moderate overall. We will experience high desert washes, subalpine meadows, and plush green canyons. This is an unforgettable journey into one of Oregon’s best kept secrets and the western high desert.
The mileage is 30 miles from the Page Springs trailhead to the crest, and 19 miles descending down the east escarpment to Frog Springs on the edge of the Alvord Desert. 49 miles total. The trail is maintained and easily followed. The trip entails vehicle shuttle. We can enjoy a hot spring soak at Alvord Hot Springs, a privately-owned hot spring a short distance north of our exit trailhead and vehicle, at the end of the trip.
Be able to backpack up to 10 miles per day, ascending and descending. Be able to carry up to 35 lbs pack weight. Individual commissary or arrange with others to share commissary. Water available along route. May need to carry up to 4 liters water in between water sources as needed and depending on where camp is located between water sources.
On this special trip, you will be part of remapping (using Gaia gps app) and rescouting a segment of the Oregon Desert Trail, originally created in the 1970s. On this trip we’ll backpack the 49-mile Steens Mountain segment, collecting predetermined way points, documenting water sources, junctions, and general conditions. In collaboration with Oregon BLM and CA Desert Trail creator Steve Tabor, this information will become part of new guidebooks for the Oregon Desert Trail.
Contact: Glenda Marsh, 916-476-9538 or [email protected]