Steens Mountain — Big Indian Gorge

Before getting chased out of Steens Mountain by the weather, we did a day hike into Big Indian Gorge. Although it was a cloudy day and we got rained on about half of the hike, it was a beautiful hike. The Big Indian Gorge is accessed by Big Indian Trail, which begins at the east end of South Steens Campground.

We hiked through the grassland area for the first 2 miles or so.

We hiked through the grassland area for the first 2 miles or so.

The trail leads us through open grasslands that provide a great view of the wilderness around Steens Mountain. As we approached the mouth of the glacial-carved gorge, the trail descended to Big Indian Creek. It crossed streams three times. A signage at the trailhead warned about dangerous stream crossings especially in spring and early summer. We brought footgears with us to change so that we could wade into the creek.

GPS track of Big Indian Trail

GPS track of Big Indian Trail

One of 3 river crossing. We brought foot gears to change so it was no problem.

One of 3 river crossing. We brought foot gears to change so it was no problem.

Some aspen trees started changing colors. There were some wildflowers still bloomimg this time of the year. It started raining after our lunch break. We hiked into the canyon for a little while before heading out. I think if we had time and energy to hike another mile or so further, we would have seen even better view of the canyon. Oh well, maybe some other times when we ‘re back in the area.

Some of aspen trees were changing color already.

Some of aspen trees were changing color already.

Beautiful bark of aspens

Beautiful bark of aspens

Then it started raining...

Then it started raining…

Here was our turnaround spot. I'm sure the view would get better if we continued but not today.

Here was our turnaround spot. I’m sure the view would get better if we continued but not today.

Mountain Side of Big Indian Gorge

The sky was clear again as we came out of the canyon.

The sky was clear again as we came out of the canyon.

Big sky country

Big sky country

  • Date hiked: September 21, 2016
  • Hiking time: 4h 30m
  • Distance: Approx. 8.6 mi round-trip (out and back)
  • Elevation change: 1031 ft

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