From verdant green in high summer, to icy slopes in the winter, Kiger Gorge Overlook is a many-sight adventure. This natural feature is a geological scar in the High Desert Country of Oregon, formed when glaciers created a deep U-shaped trench on Steens Mountain. The glacier dug through layers of the basalt fault-block mountain, creating a stunning gorge. Today it’s considered one of the prime natural features of the area.
Deep snows keep visitors away in the winter months, but from late spring to summer Kiger Gorge is home to an abundance of flora and fauna. Hikers should look for western juniper, quaking aspen, and the elusive Steens Mountain paintbrush, which can only be found on these slopes. Elk, mountain lions, bighorn sheep and mule deer roam this part of the country, as do a plethora of predatory birds. Come fall, expect a dusting of snow to coat the valley, and for the view to fade away under a pristine blanket of white.
Access to the overlook is simple, and can be found just a quarter-mile walk from a small parking lot off of Steens Mountain Loop Road. Note that there are no guardrails, and that weather is prone to changing swiftly in this region. Expect the area to be closed in winter, and call the Bureau of Land Management's local station in Hines at 541.573.4400 to verify travel conditions.