Camping at Steens Mountain is an amazing experience. The scenic loop feels like I was driving on another continent.
Getting there was an experience in itself. We drove right through the most incredible wind storm that I have ever been in as we headed around the western side of the Steens. I had to pull off the road for a time because we were afraid that our vehicle may get blown into oncoming traffic from the strong winds.
Historic Frenchglen, Oregon
We arrived late in the evening at the historic tiny hamlet of Frenchglen, Oregon. It’s a sleepy village that boasts a quaint hotel, a public school, BLM fire station, and a few homes. The historic Frenchglenn Hotel is part of the Oregon State park system. We slept right in the driveway with our van because we arrived after 9 PM.
Page Springs BLM Campground, Steens Mountain
The following morning, we moved to the beautiful Page Springs BLM campground at the base of Steens mountain. We were tired and wanted some creature comforts, so we splurged and spent $8 to camp here for the entire day and night.
The campsites were all spacious with running water, picnic tables, and great views. We camped right next to the Blitzen river which lulled us to sleep at night. We had plans to do the Steens mountain scenic loop that day, but my 2 kids were having so much fun playing with their inflatable raft, that we decided to do the drive the next morning. The campground sits right next to the Blitzen River with scenic hills as the backdrop.
Steens Mountain is very unique. You drive from high desert to alpine meadows in a short period of time. The road leads to breath taking views over looking steep ravines and distant beautiful deserts. The Steens Mountain Loop is a well maintained gravel road. Depending on the season, many sections are impassable from either too much snow or rain. It was one of the best gravel roads that we have ever been on.
Kigor Gorge alone is worth the drive for this spectacular view. It’s a half mile deep gorge. It’s every bit as “grand” as the Grand Canyon. The grass was still green on the surrounding hillside. Small patches of snow clung to rocky north facing crevices.
Wild Mustang Watching At Steens Mountain
One of the highlights of the drive was seeing wild horses galloping across the sage brush prairie. Though the horses are wild, when I pulled over to take snap quick photos, many of the horses approached me in hopes of getting something to eat. Seems like folks have been feeding them as they do other wild animals.