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The Big Indian Gorge Trail begins at the back of South Steens Campground. The hike is 8 miles to the headwall of the gorge and passes through numerous meadows and cottonwood and aspen groves. Along the way, you will make 3 stream crossings which can be difficult or impassable at times in the spring and early summer. Use caution! The trail is easy to follow for the first 7 miles and then it fades away and becomes a cross-country hike. During your journey, you’ll be amazed at the size of this classic U-shaped, glacially carved gorge, the wildflowers in spring and summer, and the waterfalls tumbling out of the headwall. Many beautiful, existing primitive campsites beckon the overnighter.

Addtional Information:

Elevation Gain / Loss: 1800 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 8 miles (one way)

What’s around here? Location & Nearby Things to See & Do

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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A related Trip Idea

  1. Hiking in a Desert Paradise

    written by Kim Cooper Findling on May 25th, 2012

    Perched on Wildhorse Lake Overlook at the top of Steens Mountain, I found myself wondering why, exactly, I should bother hiking down the incredibly steep, rocky trail extending from our feet to the sparkling blue lake below.

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