Recreation Resources

Jim Davis   Website

Conditions on the ground in Oregon’s high desert can change rapidly and recreational facilities can become partially or fully closed due to any number of circumstances, including snowfall, wildfire — or a pandemic, as 2020 brought to light. It’s always best practice to check land management agency websites for current conditions before you head out on a desert adventure. Find contact information for land agencies across Oregon’s desert below.

FIRE:  Fire restrictions and area closures may be in effect year round. Please check with the land management agency. You can use this statewide map of fire restrictions to zoom in on your destination and check restrictions before you head out. If you are headed to BLM land, look up the restrictions by district.

You can check for active wildfires and area closures from the following sources:

HUNTING: Before heading out be aware of any active hunting seasons by calling Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at (503) 947-6000 or checking regulations on their website: big game hunting and game bird hunting. Wear orange or other bright colors and avoid dusky brown, white, and light gray. Avoid hiking at dawn and dusk and be especially cautious if you are hiking cross country, away from established trails.


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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Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

“If I have to pick a favorite place in Oregon’s high desert, it would be Sutton Mountain, but I’m excited about all of the Wilderness Study Areas,” says Terry, adding, “Each is a gem to explore, and I hope they all get protection someday… I love the scale of the physical beauty of the desert.”


Owyhee Canyon Swallows Sparrows and Rushing Water

Owyhee Canyon Swallows Sparrows and Rushing Water

Federal Lands

Bureau of Land Management
National Forests

Tribal Lands

Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs


John Day River
Lower Owyhee River