Visitor’s Guide
to the Greater Hart-Sheldon Region

This fascinating region offers the opportunity to see pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, Greater Sage-Grouse and more. Visitors of all ages and abilities can find a recreational opportunity to pursue here.
Some visitor services exist on the Hart and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuges, but, to get away from it all, the BLM land in between the two refuges offers a great outback experience where you’re likely to see plenty of wildlife but no other people.
If you plan to travel to this region of Oregon, be conscious of its remoteness. There are few established trails in the Greater Hart-Sheldon Region, and the roads vary between pavement, gravel, and dirt. Amenities are scarce, so be prepared before you venture out by bringing extra water, food, gas and a spare tire.

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The Land Between: The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region

The Land Between: The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region

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Sage-grouse Mating Dance

Sage-grouse Mating Dance

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Wildflower Poetry Reading

Wildflower Poetry Reading

Safety Tips

Following these suggestions will help you travel safely through the high desert of eastern Oregon and enjoy fragile places responsibly.   

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Where to Stay

Camping

In the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, four free primitive campgrounds are managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. All are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Drinking water is only available at the Refuge Headquarters and Camp Hart Mountain; pit toilets are available at all campgrounds. Campfires are allowed only in designated fire rings at Hot Springs Campground and Camp Hart Mountain Campground, but bring your own firewood since it is not available to purchase and collecting is not allowed.

 

Hot Springs Campground

4 miles south of Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge headquarters

As the name implies, you’ll find a developed public hot springs for soaking here. There are 29 campsites; the springs holds six adults at a time. Season: year-round, although winter snows periodically close the campground road.

 

Guano Creek Campground

Follow Blue Sky rd south from the refuge headquarters for a little over 13 miles. Cross Guano Creek and keep right to stay on Barnhardi rd, campground is shortly after the gate.

A high-clearance vehicle is recommended to access the 11 sites found in this campground, which is open only during hunting season to accommodate extra campers.

Season: August 1 to November 1

 

Camp Hart Mountain Campground

Approximately 15 miles from Plush on the Hart Mountain Road

This campground sits right at the base of Hart Mountain; drinking water and picnic tables are available.

Season: year-round.

Post Meadows Campground

Follow Blue Sky rd south from the refuge headquarters for about 14 miles.

This campground has a corral available for horses. Pellets or certified weed-free hay is required.

Season: Dependent upon road access.

If you’d like a more backcountry adventure, backpacking is also an option. Permits are available at refuge headquarters or online. Visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s website for current conditions, maps, and other useful information.

Camping is also allowed on the Bureau of Land Management lands in this region, but no developed campgrounds exist. For car camping, you can find plenty of open, remote spots along the dirt roads but you need to be self-sufficient and follow Leave No Trace principles. Backpacking is also an option on BLM land and no permit is required, but finding drinking water can be challenging. See our Oregon Desert Trail page for additional route ideas and information.

 

 

Lodging

Lakeview is the largest town in the area and has a number of small inns and chain hotels. Visit this Lake County page for a list of several lodging options in the region.

 

Hart Mountain Cabin

Located 1/4 mile from the center of Plush

This is the closest lodging near the refuge with a full bath and kitchen. It also has an unobstructed view of the Warner Valley and Hart Mountain.

Call (541) 947-3322 for details.

 

Back of Beyond Cabins

Located in the Warner Mountains 15 miles northeast of Lakeview, 1.5 miles off Highway 140

Two cabins available for rent, both with kitchens and one with a bathroom. They offer a discount for current ONDA members.

Call (541) 947-5528 for reservations.

 

Where to Eat

Lakeview is your jumping off point for the region. This is the largest town in the region and you’ll find numerous restaurants here, as well as a Safeway grocery store. You’ll only find a few more options for refreshment after you leave Lakeview. The hamlets of Plush and Adel offer combination store / gas / cafe / taverns for basic amenities, burgers and gas as you head out to explore the region. It’s wise to call ahead, as these joints aren’t open 24-7. The Hart Mountain General Store phone number is (541) 947-2491 and you can reach the Adel Store and Tavern at (541) 947-3851.

Recommended Activities

To see how we define hike difficulty, please see our Hike Difficulty Ratings.

Mark Darnell

Abert Rim

Abert Rim is the largest exposed fault scarp in North America and, from the top, you will have a view of Lake Abert, Oregon’s most saline lake. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep along this hike. A herd was introduced in 1974 to help perpetuate the species. Other wildlife you might see includes...

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Brent Fenty

DeGarmo Canyon

From the base of Hart Mountain you can access this beautiful canyon complete with wildflowers, wildlife and waterfalls. Various hiking options from an easy walk to difficult climb can be accessed from this point. The hike begins by entering a narrow slot canyon with a stream crossing about 50 yards upstream of the first...

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Greg Burke   Website

Guano Creek

Guano Creek is designated as a Wilderness Study Area and Area of Critical Environmental Concern. No trails exist but you can hike across the open country adjacent to Guano Creek. You can do an out-and-back hike or go for a 6-mile round-trip hike. As you proceed down, the canyon the walls will deepen and...

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Jim Davis   Website

Fish Creek Rim

This hike is partially located in Fish Creek Rim Wilderness Study Area and offers great vistas, as well as neat stands of aspen and mountain mahogany. There is a healthy herd of bighorn sheep roaming the rimrock. Look for them while looking off the escarpment and they can also be seen hanging out along...

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Jim Davis   Website

Beatys and Mahogany Buttes

There is no developed trail to the top, so the hike begins when you have found a decent spot to park your vehicle. Beatys Butte at 7,885 above sea level and nearby Mahogany Butte at 7,140 are the most prominent points in the area, making for a challenging butte climbing day. The terrain is...

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ONDA

Warner Peak

Take this hike to enjoy views not just from the summit, but all along the way. Keep your eyes open for wildlife as well. You can start from the Hot Springs Campground for an 11-mile hike, or take the shorter option and start from Barnhardi Meadow when the 4-by-4 road is open (Aug. 1...

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Watch Waterfowl
in the Warner Wetlands

These wetlands at the base of Hart Mountain were designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) for their unique wildlife, ecological, cultural and geological values. The lakes provide great habitat for migrating waterfowl and give visitors an opportunity for world-class wildlife viewing.  When the lakes are full, a canoe trail weaves between the many pothole lakes.

Warner Wetlands BLM Brochure

Explore the High Lakes plateau

Located to the east of the Warner Valley and directly south of Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, the High Lakes plateau is dotted with intermittent lakes and playas. The area is part of an important regional migration corridor for pronghorn and other wildlife and contains some of the greatest concentrations of rock art in North America, some dating to more than 7,000 years old. This plateau lies within the High Lakes Area of Critical Environmental Concern, a nearly 40,000-acre management unit designated to protect the area's unique cultural, botanical and wildlife values.

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Find Petroglyphs

The best documented and easiest to access petroglyphs in the Greater Hart-Sheldon Region are located at Petroglyph Lake at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. The lake can be reached by a high clearance vehicle when the roads are dry. Scattered along the 1,500 feet of low basalt cliffs surrounding the lake are over 65 panels of rock art. Treat the area with the utmost respect and research petroglyphs online before you go to enhance your knowledge. Check in at the refuge headquarters for more information.

Hiking Info

Visit a Historic Ranch

The Shirk Ranch, located in the Guano Valley, was operated by David L. Shirk up until the early 1900s. The property was acquired by the federal government in the 1940s and later registered on the National Register of Historic Places.  The main ranch house, blacksmith shop, a bunkhouse and water tower remain today in addition to several other structures in varying states of decay.

Land Manager Contact Info 
Bureau of Land Management – Lakeview District
E. Lynn Burkett
District Manager
1301 South G Street
Lakeview, OR 97630
Phone: (541) 947-2177
E-mail: BLM_OR_LV_Mailbox@blm.gov