Spring Basin Wilderness

Cregg Large

  • Distance

    2.6 - 12 miles round-trip (many off-trail hike options)

  • Best Times To Visit


  • Dificulty


  • Closest Town

    Antelope, Oregon

  • Drive Time

    2 hours from Bend, Oregon


Spring Basin Wilderness is a scenic remote escape that is ideal for those who love off-trail backcountry exploration. In this wilderness area, designated in spring of 2009, the recreation infrastructure consists of old two-track roads that extend along the west, north and south sides of the area. These roads (marked trails on the maps) are faint and can be hard to find as you hike in the area, so good navigation and terrain reading skills are suggested. Horse Mountain stands in the center of the wilderness, acting as a beacon and very clear landmark to note as you hike in the area.

The route into Spring Basin Wilderness leaves the BLM kiosk and heads cross-country north for .4 miles until reaching a trail that continues up an unnamed canyon. The path climbs 800 feet past interesting rock formations, until arriving at a cairn at the top of the climb. Trails branch out to the left and right on old two-track roads that have all but disappeared among the grasses and wildflowers. Continue on the trail of your choice, and if you plan on hiking past the wilderness boundary into Pine Creek Conservation Area, please fill out a self-issued permit by a kiosk just east of the Clarno Road entrance.

Driving Directions

From Bend, follow Highway 97 north to Madras. Continue on highway 97 for 17 miles, then turn right on Highway 293/Antelope Highway. After 13.5 miles, continue onto State Highway 218 E. Turn right onto Clarno Road. Proceed 3.5 miles on dirt road.

Parking can be found at a BLM kiosk on Clarno Road, about 3.5 miles from the junction with OR 218E (due to a small parcel of private land at the base of the entrance canyon, please continue to the BLM kiosk to park). Another option for entering the wilderness is to continue on Clarno Road another 1.5 miles to a spur trail marked by a brown post, which leads up Spring Basin Canyon. A locked gate prevents driving all the way to this trail, so please either park at the kiosk or outside the gate and walk the road to the trail.




Bitteroot blooms on north-facing cliffs in western North America.

The Paiute name for bitteroot is kangedya. Traditional Native American uses of the plant included eating the roots, mixed with berries and meat, and using the roots to treat sore throats.



Cottonwood Canyon Riparian Soundscape

Cottonwood Canyon Riparian Soundscape


Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

With 10,000 acres of undulating terrain, secluded canyons and spectacular vantages of the John Day Country, Spring Basin is magnificent to explore This public treasure, forever protected as Wilderness, offers a profusion of desert wildflowers in the spring and year-round recreational opportunities for hikers, horseback

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Downloadable Map + Hike Info

This map is geolocated and can be used with a navigation app like Avenza while on your hike.

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