2.6 - 12 miles round-trip (many off-trail hike options)
Best Times To Visit
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.
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.