Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,324.00 ft (403.56 m)
Trail type
10.80 mi (17.38 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Donner Und Blitzen River Hike, beginning at Page Springs Campground near Frenchglen, Oregon, is a 10.8-mile trail that leads to the Donner Und Blitzen River in the Steens Mountain Wilderness. This area, nestled at the base of Steens Mountain, is a hub for activities like hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking, and fly fishing. The river itself is designated as a National Wild and Scenic River.

Access to the trail does not require a parking pass, making it easily accessible for a day of adventure. Suitable for both adults and children, the trailhead starts at an elevation of 4,260 feet and includes a total elevation gain of 1,324 feet, mainly on the return climb from the river to the campground. 
As you move from the two-track road to the trail, descending into the canyon, expect stunning views. This area is an ecological haven, home to over 250 species of wildlife, including a variety of plants, birds, and fish. The higher regions are characterized by sagebrush and juniper, interspersed with various grasses.

Ideal for bird watching and observing wildlife, including big game, the trail's relatively short length makes it perfect for day trips or brief excursions.

This trail can be enjoyed in all seasons - winter, spring, summer, and fall - and is usually not crowded, which makes it a perfect place for a peaceful hike.


In 1864, during a storm, American soldiers led by Colonel George B. Currey crossed the Donner und Blitzen River. Inspired by the stormy conditions, they named the river using the German terms for thunder and lightning. Source: Oregon Geographic Names and Oregon Natural Desert Association. 

For more details, visit the BLM's Donner Und Blitzen Wild and Scenic River page.

Page Springs Campground Information:

This campground features 36 shaded sites near the river, open year-round. It's the starting point for the Blitzen River Trail and the Wilderness Nature Trail. Amenities include a covered picnic area, vault restrooms, trash facilities, and drinking water. Learn more at Page Springs Campground.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Wild and Scenic River. Canyon Views. Wildlife Viewing.


Relatively short distance.

Trailhead Elevation

4,267.00 ft (1,300.58 m)

Highest point

4,854.00 ft (1,479.50 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Bird watching
Big Game Watching

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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