Outstanding Oregon: The Alvord Desert is a sensory shock

Mar 4 2020, 5:04 pm

It may be in the complete opposite corner of Oregon from the city of Portland, butĀ the Alvord Desert is a unique landmark that everyone should see.

Resting in the shadows of the Steen Mountains in the southeast corner of Oregon, the Alvord Desert is a seemingly out-of-place spectacle spanning 12 miles wide. The dry lake was named after American Civil War General Benjamin Alvord.

The extremely flat and dry landscape — subject to just a couple inches of rain per year — is often used to test land speeds or attempt world records.

Let’s take a look at the beauty that is the Alvord Desert in Oregon.

For your own safety, please makeĀ sure you are prepared before heading outĀ on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is availableĀ fromĀ OregonStateParks.orgĀ andĀ PortlandOregon.gov.Ā Always remember to leave no trace, pack out what you pack in, stick to designated trails, and refrain from feeding wildlife ā€” and please note that irresponsibly-taken selfies (even if they look great for the ā€˜gram)Ā can be fatal.

 

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Where is it?

Alvord Desert is located just east of the Steen Mountains and north of the Pueblo Valley in southeastern Oregon State.

How do you get there?

The Alvord Desert is near the southeast corner of the state. If you’re leaving for the flats from Portland, it’s about 400 miles southeast, and according to Google Maps, it should take under eight hours to drive.

Taking the US-26 east, and transferring to the US-20, drivers should head straight south on the Oregon-205 just outside of Burns, Oregon.

 

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Whatā€™s there?

The main attraction to the Alvord Desert is the massive span of dry lake bed. It’s an awe-inspiring sight, especially considering what it could have looked like thousands of years ago.

A few minutes off the flat lake bed are the Alvord Hot Springs, pockets of water warmed by the Earth’s core that are just cool enough for the human body to withstand long-ish exposure.

 

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