Alvord Desert

Photo Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

Guarded by the Steens Mountain and the Cascades, the Alvord Desert is one of Oregon’s few rain shadows. The complex geology has created an 84-square-mile dry lake bed that makes a perfect spot for stargazing and other summer fun.

Camping on the edges of the playa in this remote place offers solitude and peace. If having a home base closer to a town is more your speed, the nearest lodging is the Fields Station in Fields. About 25 miles south of the desert, it offers a rock house, a cabin and two standard hotel rooms, in addition to a gas station, groceries, all three meals and some darn good milkshakes.

During the day, bask in the sun and beauty of the desert. The seemingly barren land is home to many plants and creatures. If you’re willing to do a little searching, a herd of mustangs roam to the East of the desert. They’re difficult to track if you’re unprepared, so it’s best to ask someone local for advice.

One place where people should be in the know about the wild horses is Alvord Hot Springs. As the heat subsides, and the cold night sets in, you can warm up in the pools and learn more about your desert surroundings. Find out more at alvordhotsprings.com.

You can search the Bureau of Land Management website at blm.gov for more information about the Alvord Desert.