Pueblo Mountains

Peublo Mountains

  • Difficult
  • 7.2 miles round trip
  • 2200 feet elevation gain
  • Open mid-July to mid-November
  • Use: hikers, horses

Most Oregonians have never heard of the Pueblo Mountains, a commanding fault-block range between Steens Mountain and the Nevada border. The Pueblo crest hiking route described here has no trees, no water sources, and no trail tread. But the starkness of this remote desert range conceals charms that can haunt adventurers’ souls: silent top-of-the-world viewpoints, herds of antelope, huge blue skies, and unexpected wildflowers.

Although views extend for 50 miles in all directions throughout much of this cross-country route, the only man-made artifacts visible are 15 rock cairns. These 4-foot stacks have been spaced at roughly quarter-mile intervals to mark the general course of the Desert Trail. The trail’s planners envision a 2000-mile-long hiking corridor from Mexico to Canada. More than 100 miles of the route in Oregon have already been mapped, from the Nevada border north beyond Steens Mountain. Because hikers are left to find their own route through the sagebrush from one cairn to the next, however, it is important to bring a topographic map that shows precise cairn locations. You can pick up a copy …

To drive here …

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