South Steens Campground is the gateway to excellent trails that explore the spectacular glacier-carved gorges on the west face of Steens Mountain.
As you ride up into the gorges, the canyon walls tower 1,000+ feet above you. Streams flow through the gorges, with lush grass, cottonwoods, and aspen lining the creeks. Away from the creeks, sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and junipers abound. Wildflowers are plentiful in season, and waterfalls cascade off the cliffs near the ends of the gorges.
From South Steens Campground, you can explore the fascinating Big Indian and Little Blitzen Gorges, as well as journey back in time with a horseback visit to the historic Riddle Brothers Ranch.
15 equestrian campsites with sturdy hitching rails, fire pits, and picnic tables. Five sites have oversized corrals that can hold 2 horses. Six sites are pull-throughs and the rest are back-ins. Several can accommodate 2 trailers. The corrals and hitching rails were built by Back Country Horsemen. The camp has potable water, a toilet, garbage cans, and a manure bin.
South Steens Campground is located approximately 90 miles south of Burns, in the southeast corner of Oregon. Take Hwy. 20 through Burns and veer east on Hwy. 78. After 1.7 miles, turn right on Hwy. 205. Follow it 59 miles to the town of Frenchglen and then continue another 10 miles. Turn left on the gravel South Loop Road (the sign mentions the Upper Blitzen River), and drive 19 dusty and washboard miles through spectacular desert terrain (watch for antelope and wild burros), and turn right into the campground.
More information about this horse camp and its nearby trails can be found in Riding Southern Oregon Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2014), www.nwhorsetrails.com.