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Big Indian Gorge Trail

Intermediate

Trail

8.4 mile 13.5 kilometer point to point
94% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 2,073' 632 m
Descent: -60' -18 m
High: 7,365' 2,245 m
Low: 5,353' 1,631 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 25% (14°)

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Trail shared by Arthur McMahon

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An out-and-back trail that boasts spectacular waterfalls in the spring and a rainbow of foliage colors in the fall.

Arthur McMahon

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Road access and campground closes in winter conditions.

Need to Know

The campground at the trailhead has restrooms and overnight camping. No parking fee at trailhead.

Description

The trail begins in the grassland hills below Steens Mountain. You'll cross over a few of these hills and have spectacular views of the mountain before you, and the lower desert landscape behind you.

Once you step into the beginnings of the gorge, you'll find a mix of uphill and downhill running leading you at first through a dry juniper forest, and then a lush land filled with aspens. There are several creek crossings, which would be a little difficult in the spring, but are easy to rock-hop across in summer and fall.

Canyon walls tower over either side of you as you run through miles of shimmering aspen and along the sparkling stream. Once a few miles in, you have a clear view of your destination where, at the end of the canyon, the towering walls come together and multiple waterfalls pour down its rocky face during the spring. Summer and fall runners will miss out on the waterfalls, but the stream will likely always be flowing.

The aspen trees flitter in bright yellows, oranges, and reds in early fall seasons, providing their own beauty in the absence of the falls.

At the end of the trail, there is a single route over the north canyon wall, which backpackers will use to venture to the peak of Steens Mountain, Wildhorse Lake, or the Little Blitzen Gorge Trail.

Flora & Fauna

Coyote, deer, antelope, aspen, juniper, trout, bobcat, elk

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Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 4 votes

#5845

Overall
  4.5 from 4 votes
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Trail Rankings

#154

in Oregon

#5,845

Overall
11 Views Last Month
172 Since Sep 26, 2018
Intermediate

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Photos

Walking toward the face of Big India Gorge in the fall.
Sep 26, 2018 near Hines, OR

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