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.

Add to My Oregon Road Trip

Just about any place you find on can be added to your own Oregon Roadtrippers Account. Find out how.

Get on the road with Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers Logo

We’ve partnered with Roadtrippers to provide a great way to plan a trip around Oregon. So start planning your next road trip to here, there or pretty much anywhere in Oregon.

From an expansive sunbaked playa to a mile-high escarpment, this 143-mile/230-kilometer tour highlights the extremes of southeast Oregon’s basin and range country. Combine it with the High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway to form a loop.


Settler Charles Fields established a stone roadhouse here in 1881 as a stagecoach supply station. Fields remains a spot to grab supplies for exploring the remote Alvord Desert and Steens Mountain area. Travelers also know it as the place to savor a burger and milkshake at the end of an adventure.

Alvord Desert

From Fields, the tour route heads north on Fields-Denio Road, a graveland- dirt surface that’s maintained for passenger vehicles. The 9,734-foot fault block of Steens Mountain towers to the west, a tremendous rain shadow responsible for the Alvord Desert. Measuring some 60 square miles/ 96.5 square kilometers, this expansive desert playa can feel as remote as the moon. The unusual venue draws an interesting cross section of recreationalists, including ultralight pilots, motorcycle and ATV riders, and sailors captaining windsurfing boards and sailboats on wheels.

North of the tiny hamlet of Andrews, a corrugated metal shed on the east side of the road marks the Alvord Hot Springs, one of several area hot springs open to the public. Waters here bubble to the surface at about 174 degrees but cool significantly before reaching man-made soaking pools.

North to OR-78 and Burns

Continuing north on the route, travelers will find Mann Lake, Ten Cent Lake and other small lakes (sometimes dry) dotting the sagebrush landscape, attracting anglers and wildlife. Watch for pronghorn, a native mammal that can reach speeds of nearly 60 miles/ 96.5 kilometers per hour.

Turn left on OR-78 and follow the tour route toward Crane and Burns. As testament to this region’s sparse population, the Crane Union High School provides room and board for its students — one of the only public boarding schools in the Lower 48. Crystal Crane Hot Springs provides a perfect resting spot for a leisurely soak in the natural hot springs.

The tour route ends in Burns, where it connects with the High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway.

related Trip Ideas

  1. A Trip to Steens, Oregon’s Secret Mountain

    an Itinerary by Chaney Swiney on February 9th, 2016

    It seems like most people don’t know about Steens Mountain, and fewer have been. Other mountains get all the attention in Oregon: Mt. Hood, the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson and countless other snow-capped Cascade peaks are the first summits that…

  2. The Alvord Desert

    an Oregon Story by Kristen Mohror on January 28th, 2015

    Last October, I had the opportunity to take a driving tour through Southeastern Oregon. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d heard of the hot springs and the mountains, but what I was most interested in was the desert. It seemed…

  3. Steens Loop Tour Route

    • Distance: 59 M / 95 Km
    • Minimum Driving Time: 3-5 Hours
    • Best Time to Drive: July-October

    The 59-mile loop departs from Frenchglen and climbs to the very top of Steens Mountain, which rests in the clouds at nearly 10,000 feet. Along the way, you’ll have ample opportunity to view wildlife and take in the grandeur of a national treasure.

  4. Cowboy Camp

    an Itinerary by Eileen Garvin on February 24th, 2015

    Our trip to the Steens Mountain Guest Ranch ruined a few things for me: my favorite pair of jeans and my notion of what a working-ranch vacation would be like. Susan O’Crowley, Tim’s wife and ranch partner, put it plainly: This is not going…

  5. Feathered Festivals

    an Oregon Story by Eileen Garvin on February 1st, 2015

    The daffodils are up, the cherry trees are blossoming and spring is in the air. The air is also full of birds migrating and nesting across the state of Oregon. Whether you’re a beginning birder or well-weathered friend of the feathered, you’ll…

  6. Spring Biking in Eastern Oregon

    an Oregon Story by Eileen Garvin on March 11th, 2015

    Find your next biking adventure in Eastern Oregon, home to four Scenic Bikeways, full backroad itineraries with TREO Tours and rare mountain bike routes with Range Tour.

  7. Splishing and Splashing in Eastern Oregon

    an Oregon Story by Becky on June 3rd, 2010

    Memorial Day Weekend heralds the opening of most outdoor pools across the country, and Oregon is no exception. As a mother of 2 boys, the prospects of an open pool thrills me as much as it does my kids. As mine have gotten older, I have been able to…

  8. Eastern Oregon’s Winter Secrets

    an Itinerary by Emily Forsha on December 2nd, 2013

    Eastern Oregon is a winter playground. You’ll discover that the east side of the state is blessed with light fluffy powder, hungry steelhead, friendly elk and day after day of bright, sunny winter weather. And then there’s the winter beer. Just…

  9. Eastern Oregon’s Snowy Stash

    an Itinerary by Eileen Garvin on November 28th, 2012

    Eastern Oregon has a little secret tucked away in the Elkhorn Range of the Blue Mountains. It’s Anthony Lakes Ski Area, just 45 miles from La Grande and 35 miles from Baker City.

  10. Eastern Oregon Road Trip Food

    an Oregon Story by Eileen Garvin on May 29th, 2015

    The folks out in Eastern Oregon have some serious bragging rights: the deepest river Gorge in North America, some of the highest peaks in the state and more scenic byways than any other region. But their accolades in food and drink are equally…

Flag as Incorrect

Is any of the information on this page incorrect?

Steens Mountain

Drive safely.

Keep in mind many of the routes listed here travel through remote areas where gas stations are few and far between. And since road and weather conditions can be hazardous, even into summer, we urge you to call 800-977-6368 or check Trip Check before starting out.

Share your thoughts Comments

Have something to say? Your Comment

  1. Your comment will be the first one for this story. Some might think of this as a lot of pressure, but as a trail blazer you recognize that someone has to be first. Your fellow travelers appreciate your opinion, so thanks in advance!

Win a Pendleton Blanket


Subscribe to the Travel Oregon email newsletter and be entered to win a commemorative Crater Lake Pendleton Blanket.

Click here for terms and conditions.

You're almost there!
Click the link in the email we just sent you to confirm your subscription.

Hmm, something went wrong, please try later.