Leslie Gulch

  • Easy (Juniper Gulch)
  • 1.6 miles round trip
  • 400 feet elevation gain
  • Open except in wet weather
  • Use: hikers
  • Easy (Dago Gulch)
  • 1.6 miles round trip
  • 190 feet elevation gain

  • Moderate (Timber Gulch)
  • 1.2 miles round trip
  • 350 feet elevation gain

Most travelers view the slot-like canyons, rock pinnacles, and colorful desert badlands of Leslie Gulch through the windows of their cars. But after driving all the way to Oregon’s extreme eastern border, why not explore this spectacular scenery up close by hiking up a few of Leslie Gulch’s five interesting side canyons.

The rock formations here date back 15 million years, when a volcano blasted out a 10-mile-wide caldera that filled with volcanic ash 1000 feet deep. Minerals colored the ash as it solidified to rock.When the land rose, flash floods carved narrow gulches lined with orange, yellow, purple, and red cliffs. Soft spots in the rock weathered into niches and small caves known as “honeycombs.”

Leslie Gulch won its name when an 1882 lightning strike killed pioneer cattleman Hiram Leslie. Today the gulch is valued not only for its scenery, but also for several species of rare plants and a herd of bighorn sheep.

To drive here …

The prettiest gulch to explore …

Leslie Gulch has two other …

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