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

@rdonahe Just checking in on how the mapping / planning is going. Let me know if you need some assistance!

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I have been distracted with other stuff so haven’t made any progress. We are 3 weeks out now so I guess the time has come to get serious. @heaveho I’m absolutely open to help and/or suggestions.

My 3 goals are (weather permitting of course):

  • night on the Alvord playa
  • night at Leslie Gulch
  • night at or near Three Forks Hot Springs

Question to the folks planning to attend - I have the dates as Thurs 4/25 to Monday 4/29, I’m wondering when will people actually be able to get out to the Alvord area. Let me know when you think you can arrive:

  1. Some time Wed night and we start the adventure Thursday morning?
  2. Arrive some time during the day Thursday and that evening is the start?

I’m in Bend, so the commute is a less for me but my plan is joining Thursday morning/afternoon depending on everyone else’s timing.

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I think these are all great destinations. Another big question is, do we start north up via Lake Owyhee or South through the Playa? Today, my instinct tells me North.

I’m in Portland (8 hour drive) so I was thinking depending on what you all come up with, leave in the morning and arrive Thursday afternoon, Taking off Sunday Morning to be back at work Monday.

It does appear that Alvord is first on the list. A good meetup spot would be in the town of Burns.

I am 8 hours from Burns, but I have a work project culminating that week, so I may not be able to leave until Friday. I am planning on that being the case so I will need to link up.

Or Fields Station for those coming from a different direction, in addition great milkshakes!

Well - kind of piecing together replies it sounds like meeting Thursday late afternoon is where folks are landing.

To everyone on this thread please respond and let me know if you are joining, and when you can meet up.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of an initial meeting spot where we still get cell service so people can communicate ETA and such. I’m thinking Burns makes sense as there is cell, gas & groceries. From Burns we can head either to the Owyhee or Alvord.

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Thursday afternoon works for me

I’m still tentative at this point, I should know sometime next week if I can make it.

If so I’ll be able to leave Thursday morning and get out to burns in the afternoon.

You should check out Fields. It’s the nearest town with the best milkshakes and breakfasts in Oregon. It’s also the only town for miles to get gas. It’s close to the alvord. I’ve been several times and camped in the alvord a ton. April is a little early for me but have a great time. There’s a public access road you don’t have to pay. Some spots on the northern lake bed may be wet and holding some water so watch out. That’s closer to the hot spring area. No fires on the desert lake but it’s a pretty epic place. The Steens mountain loop road is probably closed for the season but if you can get up there I would definitely check it out. You can only go so far on either entrance and then it’s permanently closed. Last year heavy rains washed out the top section and the army corp told the locals there was no fixing it. If you go to the Fields store ask for Justin. Super nice guy that will cook you up a heleva breakfast or burger. Everything is fresh and made there. Have fun!

Also strangely enough there is some cell service at the alvord desert.

I’ll be joining on Thrusday

Hey! I have been to Fields (as well as Steens & the Alvord) and it’s great. It’s on the list for whenever we end up at the Alvord. For our initial meetup location I want to keep it closer to civilization (as much as it exists in Eastern Oregon anyway).

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So right now the roster is:

Meeting up in Burns afternoon of Thursday 4/25.

Any other PNW adventurers that can join?

Ah man. I’m jealous. Have fun out there. I was there last year in September fishing the blitzen. My favorite area of Oregon.

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Hmm, just ran across a Facebook post where someone is claiming that Three Forks and Leslie Gulch in the Owyhee have been closed to motorized use. I’m not sure if this is accurate or not and the only real link in the Facebook comments was this - 400,000 acres of public lands in Eastern Oregon get environmental protections - OPB

So I’m going to do some digging but would encourage my fellow adventurers to do the same. I don’t want to get over there and find out we aren’t allowed.

I looked at for quite a while and I could not find anything related to this.

Same here. I emailed both the Oregon and Idaho BLM contacts listed on the web with the question. Hopefully I can get an official reply. Seems unlikely they would be closed but you never know…