PNW: Owyhee Canyonlands / Alvord Desert / Steens Mountain trip?

Hey PNW crew,

I was daydreaming yesterday mapping out a 3 to 4 day trip in SE Oregon hitting the Leslie Gulch area in the Owyhee Canyonlands, then heading SW to the Alvord Desert and finally hitting Steens Mountain. It could also go in the reverse order.

This is pretty remote and a long drive for most (unless you live in the Boise area) so thinking 3 nights for sure, 4 if possible.

I don’t yet have specific dates in mind. Any interest?

Owyhee Canyonlands context:


Possibly, any activities you’re interested while out there(kayaking, biking, hiking…? What kind of driving are you thinking (my taco is pretty stock) so I’m not a rough and rowdy off-roader.


Hey Mike,

Definitely hiking. Possibly kayaking on the Owyhee reservoir. I’d also be up for mountain biking, though not sure if there is singletrack open to bikes.

Driving-wise this is nothing burly. I’ve been to Alvord & Steens before and can attest to that. Access on & off the Alvord playa a few years ago needed high clearance and probably 4 wheel drive. Other than that though it’s all pretty tame. The Leslie Gulch road looks to be friendly to any kind of vehicle really.

If this comes together there is another optional attraction in the Owyhee farther South and that’s the Three Forks area. Looks like the road down into the canyon can be steep and rocky, but again based on what I am seeing a stock 4x4 would be fine.

Yo count me in! Depending on when though, I have some pre planned things in June and august but I would definitely join if I can.

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Definitely a classic. It is a long drive from west of the Cascades, I used the Prineville area as a stopping point. 3/4 days for all 3 sections is a bit short IMO. I’ve hit the area twice during the time I had the GFC. Navigation in the area can be a bit indirect due to ranch / private property.


@rdonahe Did this trip happen for you this year? If not, would you be open to trying again in Spring 2024?

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Count me in!


@heaveho - it did not happen. I never found the time or the travel buddies to get it done. So I’m absolutely open to aim for Spring. I’d still love to get over there.

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Let’s revisit the topic in the coming months / year ahead then. I’m also a fan of hiking and I’d also like a change of pace from the amount of driving that can be involved.

I’m in Bend so it’s less driving for me but really up for whatever works for everyone else.

Sounds like a plan for a plan!

I plan to go in November. Enjoy guys.

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Still planning a November trip?

Only speaking for myself here - I am thinking Spring for this.

Yes … i am sorry …i don’t check here often but please follow my IG. jmkoverland

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I don’t have Instagram, but if you’ve got a trip planned let me know details! I’d love to join.

Start from Alvord Desert on Nov 16 to Owyhee Canyonlands. We are expecting to explore about 5 days? …

Dang that sounds rad! I have my family thanksgiving that weekend so I won’t be able to join unfortunately, I’ll be headed the other direction.

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