Fort Rock Valley

Crack in the Ground

  • Easy (4 short hikes)
  • 0.4 to 1.4 miles each, round-trip
  • 50 to 170 feet elevation gain
  • Open all year
  • Use: hikers only

Four short desert walks explore this area’s geologic oddities: sand dunes, a “lost” forest, a gigantic crack in the ground, and a lava cave with a natural skylight. Because you’ll need to drive from site to site, you may not have time to visit all four attractions in one day. If you’re staying overnight, note that the area’s only public campground is 9 miles due north of Fort Rock at Cabin Lake. The village of Fort Rock has an RV park and Christmas Valley has motels.

During the Ice Age, rains filled the Fort Rock Valley with a 1500-square-mile lake. That lake has vanished, but desert winds have corralled its former beaches into 60-foot dunes.

To drive to the dunes, …

Next, get back in the car and bump up the sandy road to …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon.