The Little Blitzen Gorge Trail follows the Little Blitzen River up a long, glacially carved canyon. Expect wildflowers, springs, aspen, and waterfalls. From the trailhead parking lot, walk 100 yards to the start of the trail on the left. This path descends a mile to a bridgeless creek crossing that can typically be accomplished without soaking your footwear. After the crossing turn right on a fainter, brushier route and travel another 3.1 miles to 4-Mile Camp, a backpacking destination where big cottonwoods shade a streamside meadow. Adventurers can continue 3.8 miles up the Little Blitzen Gorge to a fork at a rimrock knoll that divides the canyon. To the left, a steep, rough path climbs past a small waterfall to reach the Steens Mountain Loop Road. To the right, the main trail continues faintly upriver 2.4 miles to a 20-foot waterfall at the lip of the valley’s cirque. Climbing out of the mile-wide bowl is tricky even at the easiest spot, beside a cascade to the right.
Notes and Advice:
- The trailhead parking lot is a half mile east of the South Steens Campground, which has water and toilets.