Scenic USA - Oregon

Kiger Gorge Overlook

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Kiger Gorge Overlook - Steens Mountain Wilderness, Diamond, Oregon

Photos by Steve Wolfe
Steve Wolfe Photography

   Lying beneath your feet, from nearly 10,000 feet in altitude, is this wide open Steens Mountain view of Kiger Gorge. An exceptional sight in Oregon's High Desert Country, Steens Mountain is one of the most compelling features in the 20,000 square mile High Desert Region. From this impressive viewpoint at the Kiger Gorge Overlook, a gaping U-shaped valley plunges over 2000 feet and spreads out over 6500 feet in width. Located at the north end of Steens Mountain in Oregon's Harvey County and nearby the city of Burns, Kiger Gorge, and its siblings, are some of Kiger Gorge Panoramic View the most remarkable geologic scars of America's Northwest. One of four massive gorges (Kiger, Little Blitzen, Big Indian, and Wildhorse) on Steens Mountain, these awe-inspiring gouges in the earth were the work of gravity and Ice Age era glaciers of long ago. Here on Steens Mountain, the largest fault-block mountain in North America, impressive scenery is commonplace. From the Alvord Desert area below, to the wonders of Steen Mountain above, stunning landscapes, wildlife and clear air are the dominant features here in Oregon's backcountry wilderness.
   Throughout this high desert mountain, where Basque and Irish sheep herders once roamed, saw a time when the land was covered with thousands of sheep. The 1934 Taylor Grazing Act, requiring sheep owners to own their grazing land, brought an end to the era of free ranges. Another victory in the land protection process was signed into law in June, 2000. The Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act set aside nearly 425,000 acres, with 170,000 acres designated as wilderness, and an additional 900,000 acres off limits to mining and geothermal extraction. Conservationists, not willing to rest, are now mounting a campaign to include six million more acres for permanent protection. Perhaps one day this unique wilderness will be viewed as a gift from past generations.

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