Press "Enter" to skip to content

Trip Destination: Alvord Desert

Alvord Desert

The Alvord Desert is in southeastern Oregon and is a spectacular spot to spend some time in. Mostly on BLM, the Alvord Playa is the highlight, but it's far from the only thing there. With plenty roads to explore, hiking to experience, and hot springs to soak in, we've been several times - and I'm sure we'll be back again.

Note: The Alvord Desert is a very remote area, plan accordingly. Know where you can get fuel and water, and carry extra. If you are travelling alone, be extremely cautious - if you get stuck out here, it could be many days before someone else comes along to help.

If you've decided the Alvord is for you, check out our trips to this special place below, and read an overview of the area here.

A Tour of Cabins atop Steens Mountain (May 2022)

I don't know why exactly, but the Alvord Playa holds a special place in our hearts. Perhaps it's because it was the first big playa that we ever drove out onto and camped on. Maybe it's due in part to the history around the women's world speed record and our search for the final tracks left by Jessi Combs after her death there several years ago. At least partially, it's due to the surrounding landscape - full of hot springs, old mines, vast ranches, and of course, the ever-present Steens Mountain. We've ventured onto Steens Mountain before, trying to make…

Leave a Comment

Owyhee Uplands (Apr 2020)

In all of our trips to the Owyhee area, we've only ever really explored the western half - the Owyhee Canyonlands. Of course, there's some really cool stuff there - Three Forks, Coffepot Crater, the Honeycombs, Snively Hot Springs, and Juniper Gulch - but the Owyhee area is quite a lot larger than its Oregon acreage. With this trip, we were going to change all that - and then some! Our plan - at least at the beginning - was to hit up the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway, a ~100 mile journey from Grand View, Idaho to Jordan Valley, Oregon,…

Leave a Comment

Unfinished Business in Oregon (Oct 2019)

The Alvord Playa (and Alvord Desert around it) has become one of our favorite sort-of-nearby-places to visit. Remote, beautiful, and full of seldom-explored wonders, we've been back several times and I'm sure will return for years to come. Our trip this time however, was with a purpose - we have unfinished business to attend to in the region, and I'm not the type of person who likes to leave any sort of adventure, unfinished. Summiting Steens Mountain. It's been over three years now since we first laid eyes on this beauty, and with the highest road in Oregon, we needed…

Leave a Comment

Alvord Desert - We Return to Explore (Apr 2019)

We've been to the Alvord Playa - and to some extent, the Desert that surrounds it - before, but we've never really done that much exploring of the roads that wind their way through this remote section of Oregon. We planned to change that on this trip, checking out several places that we'd seen from afar on our previous trip, but that we'd never actually visited. Of course, we'd camp on the Alvord Playa - as always; if you're in this area, that's the only place to camp in our opinion. But then, we'd explore a couple of loop roads…

Leave a Comment

Winter Escape - Hot Springs & the Alvord Playa (Oct 2018)

"Let's go somewhere." said @mrs.turbodb after I'd been home just a short time from my previous trip. That was of course fine with me, and so we set about finding a place to go. It was going to be cold and rainy on the Washington coast, so we set out looking for somewhere warm. Now, we only had a few days, so that limited our options - essentially to adjacent states. Oregon was our best bet for warmth, so we started looking for options there - and it didn't take long to fill out the itinerary. Ever since visiting the…

Leave a Comment