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Steens Mountain Summit Trail

Southeastern Oregon, Oregon

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Steens Mountain Summit Trail

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  • Steens Summit Trailhead.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • Yarrow grows near the summit of Steens Mountain.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • A sunny afternoon on Steens Mountain.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • Buckwheat grows profusely at Steens Mountain.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • Rocky terrain along the Steens Mountain Summit Hike.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • Looking down at Wildhorse Lake from the Steens Mountain Summit.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • Green lichen at the Steens Mountain summit.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • Views from the Steens Mountain summit.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • Steens Mountain Summit.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • A short walk up the rocky road to the summit.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • Steens thistle at the top of Steens Mountain.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
  • Wildflowers adorn the summit grasslands.- Steens Mountain Summit Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Easy hike.
Cons: 
The highest, but not the best, viewpoint at Steens Mountain.
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Region:
Southeastern Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
233.00 ft (71.02 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer
Total Distance: 
0.80 mi (1.29 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
9,500.00 ft (2,895.60 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Steens Mountain is a 30-mile-long fault block mountain with several glacially carved gorges and a stunning variety of endemic plants. The west flank of Steens rises gently toward an abrupt and dramatic east face. The east face drops precipitously to the basin below, featuring cliffs, gorges and crumbly rock steps. 

While Steens Mountain is a long drive from anywhere, a scenic loop road travels up the west side passing by several viewpoints along the way. One popular stop takes visitors right to the top of the mountain.

You can park within a half-mile of the summit of Steens Mountain. From the summit you can see for miles: the Alvord Desert lies to the east, Malheur Wildlife Refuge to the north, Hart Mountain to the west, and the Pueblo Mountains to the south. Take the Steens Mountain Summit Trail to reach the highest point in southeastern Oregon. The summit is marked by several radio and cell towers, marring what would otherwise be a lovely place to take in the scenery.

Once you've officially touched the summit, you can backtrack to some other, better viewpoints near the Steens upper ridge. Be sure to stop at the East Rim Viewpoint and Kiger Gorge Viewpoint. There are several more; put on your adventure hat and keep an eye out for other places to get out of the car and explore.

Be aware that the full Steens Mountain Road is only open when the weather allows. This is often a short window of time during the summer. Contact the local Bureau of Land Management office for the current road status at 541.573.4400.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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