We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Southeast quarter of Oregon

Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,414 posts
14 reviews
Save Topic
Southeast quarter of Oregon

On the map it appears vast and empty. But we plan to explore it soon for the first time.

Have you ever been to Basque Station, Juntura, Jordan Valley, Steens Mtn, Hart Mtn National Antelope Refuge, Christmas Valley, Paisley, Adel ("last of the big remudas"), Frenchglen, Crane, Malheur Lake, Donner und Blitzen River (!??), Owyhee Canyon Overlook? What can you tell me about these places?

This probably sounds like an ignorant question, but can you get gas out there? What about a motel room? Where?? Can you recommend a route, places to visit, things to avoid?

The plan right now is to go through LaPine to Lakeview. A couple of days later we will stop in Nyssa, then lesser roads through Malheur National Forest to Redmond and home to Salem. It's the part between Lakeview and Nyssa that is the BIG question mark. Any suggestions?

This will be a top-down tour in the Miata, hoping never to go over 55. Two years ago we took 4 days to take in the Olympic Peninsula and coast, with plenty of stops for short walks, meals, etc. That's the general plan again.

Any ideas or advice would be very welcome.

Longview, Washington
Destination Expert
for Mount Rainier National Park
Level Contributor
2,551 posts
130 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Southeast quarter of Oregon

Sounds like a great trip. Some of those areas are a little bleak and remote, but still very interesting.

Be sure to visit the Four Rivers Cultural Center and Museum in Ontario. An outstanding museum tracing the many ethnic groups that settled that area.

Oregon
Level Contributor
8,735 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Southeast quarter of Oregon

I have been to most of places you list, though over time not on one trip

I have been out from Lakeview to east and to Frenchglen and south to Fields, but never cross country from Lakeview to Frenchglen. for sure I ould not take miata, if you get to 25 mph probably pushing it and wirh top down you will get very dusty,

but Lakeview to Burns on 395 and south from there to frenchglen can work.

I worked on Malheur NF for 5 years so can answer questions there if you can be a bit more specific,

as for gas. has been awhile sinc I have been there, but I would not count on gas out from Burns Lakeview and Nyssa, probably Jordan Valley still has gas.

Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,414 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Southeast quarter of Oregon

Thanks for that museum tip, Kitters. It sounds interesting. We plan to spend a night in Ontario after visiting friends at Nyssa. Can you recommend a motel?

Phirl, are you saying that the road between Lakeview and Frenchglen is gravel? It looks paved on my 2005 ODOT map. OR, is it just in such bad shape that we wouldn't want to go that way no matter what? That's where the antelope refuge is. :(

Do you know of a hotel in the Steens Mtn area? I seem to recall seeing something on Oregon Field Guide, but can't remember details.

We are concerned about gas. Sounds like we should plan carefully! The Miata has a small tank.

Regarding Malheur NF: we are just looking at the map, coming off Hwy 20 at Drewsey then finding our way out to Paulina. It looks like plenty of paved roads, but no numbers on the map. Need to do more research there. Do you recommend one route over another?

On closer inspection, I can see that the dark gray of the gravel roads is difficult to distinguish from the black of paved roads. Hmm. Need a better map. . .

Oregon
Level Contributor
8,735 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Southeast quarter of Oregon

I probably should not have said bad things about road from Lakeview to Frenchglen, sinc I have not been on it. I do not tiunk it is paved much beyond Plush. It could be a well maintained gravel road. But I would check with county or BLM before I committed to that route,

140 to Denio then north through Fields is possible way. I have been on those routes though at different times. When we made the trip through Fields there was a gas station, but do not know if there still is one.

You can go along west side of Steens then cut across at north end past round barn to OR78 then to US 95 and on to Jordan Valley but you may want to go into Burns for gas and a room. There is a small hotel in Frenchglen. but it is popular so get reservations.

Friend of mine has a ranch along east side of Steens and he says that is a good road, then he has 4wd pickup.

I think that whole country is very interesting. and I want to go back sometime. we about got ran over by wild horses south of Frenchglen. and at thet time will probaly do the Lakeview to Frenchglen route. byt I am accustomed to gravel roads.

Oregon
Level Contributor
8,735 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Southeast quarter of Oregon

You don't say your past experience in that area. If you have not been on US-26 Vale to John Day it is very nice drive. but you asked about specific roads.

Last time I, went through Drewsey to Silvies, much of it was well maintained gravel. some nice ranches there, fairly easy drive. From Silvies I wold head north of 395 then turn west on county road to Izee a dozen and more miles south of John Day, then you may need to go into John Day for gas and a room. Seneca once had a gas station and still might. and Paulina also had gas.

Route through Izee, Suplee, Paulina and on to Prinevile is another interesting part of Oregon. some nice ranches along way. my work took me through there several times. trying to find ways to fix road.

Oregon
Level Contributor
8,735 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Southeast quarter of Oregon

Check Big O sports page today. nice feature by Bill Monroe about wild horses in SE Oregon.

Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,414 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Southeast quarter of Oregon

THansk for all the info, Phirl.

Big O -- you mean Oregonian? Must try to find that.

It would be wonderful to see a herd of wild horses. I've seen the ponies on Dartmoor and Exmoor (Devon, England), but have not seen wild Oregon horses except on Oregon Field Guide. :)

Salem, Oregon
Level Contributor
5,414 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Southeast quarter of Oregon

Thank you for the heads-up about the horse story, Phirl. It's very informative. I think we'll be seeing some wild horses! I've printed it out and here is the link -- don't know how long it'll be good.

oregonlive.com/oregonian/stories/index.ssf…

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,853 posts
1,049 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Southeast quarter of Oregon

I must admit I am not too familiar with this part of Oregon, but looking at my map, it shows the Lakeview - Frenchglen road (412) to be at least half graveled. That is from the 2007 AAA map. Thomas Brothers publish a map of the NW which may give you much more detail. (Costco did have them) Gravel roads would not be fun in your little buzz-bomb!

Also, the wild horses are nothing like the ponies of Dartmoor and Exmoor; they are far more exciting! A real part of the "Old West".

Oregon
Level Contributor
8,735 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Southeast quarter of Oregon

Best maps of area are BLM and Forest Service, Malheyr NF map would be food to have ans so would SE Oreg BlLM distrct map