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Steens Mountain

Steens Mountain, looking northwest from the Alvord Desert.
Elevation 9,733 feet (2,967 m) NGVD 29[1]
Prominence 4,373 feet (1,333 m) [1]
Steens Mountain is located in Oregon
Steens Mountain
Coordinates 42°38′11″N 118°34′36″W / 42.636418°N 118.576717°W / 42.636418; -118.576717Coordinates: 42°38′11″N 118°34′36″W / 42.636418°N 118.576717°W / 42.636418; -118.576717 [1]
Topo map USGS Wildhorse Lake
Easiest route Short hike from gravel road
Steens Mountain and vicinity      Wilderness Area      Lake or other body of water      Indian reservation

Steens Mountain is a large fault-block mountain in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Oregon. Located in Harney County, it stretches some 50 miles (80 km) and rises from an elevation of about 4,200 feet (1,300 m) above the Alvord Desert to its peak at 9,733 feet (2,967 m). It is sometimes confused with a mountain range, but is properly a single mountain.



It was called the "Snowy Mountains" during early fur trade, but in 1860 was renamed for U.S. Army Major Enoch Steen, who fought and drove off members of the Paiute tribe on the mountain.[2][3]


The east face of Steens Mountain is almost entirely comprised of basalts stacked one upon another. Staggering amounts of magma, with several flows hundreds of feet deep, inundated the region between 14 and 17 million years ago.[4][5][6]

Flora and fauna

Several plant taxa are endemic to Steens Mountain, including Agastache cusickii, Castilleja pilosa var. steenensis, Cirsium peckii, Draba cusickii var. cusickii, Penstemon davidsonii var. praeteritus, and Poa chambersii.[7]

Environmental protection

On October 24, 2000, president Bill Clinton created the Steens Mountain BLM Cooperative Management and Protection Area, a 425,000 acres (1,720 km2) area. This law protects 1,200,000 acres (4,860 km2) from mining, and 100,000 acres (405 km2) from cattle grazing.[8]


Steens Mountain is also host to Steens Mountain Running Camp, a nationally known[9] cross country training camp that has been held on the mountain since 1975.[10][11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Steens Mountain, Oregon". Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  2. ^ McArthur, Lewis A.; Lewis L. McArthur (2003) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (7th ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87595-277-1 (trade paperback), ISBN 0-87595-278-X (hardcover). 
  3. ^ Loy, Willam G.; Stuart Allan, Aileen R. Buckley, James E. Meecham (2001). Atlas of Oregon. University of Oregon Press. pp. 25. ISBN 0-87114-102-7. 
  4. ^, Southeast Oregon Basin and Range
  5. ^ USGS, Andesitic and basaltic rocks on Steens Mountain
  6. ^ GeoScienceWorld, Genesis of flood basalts and Basin and Range volcanic rocks from Steens Mountain to the Malheur River Gorge, Oregon
  7. ^ Mansfeld, Donald H. (2000). "Introduction". Flora of Steens Mountains. OSU Press. ISBN 978-0870714719. 
  8. ^ Karras, Christy (2001-08-16). "Politicians dedicate Steens Mountain preserve". Seattle Post Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  9. ^ "Upcoming Oregon running camps give young runners a new outlook". TrailRunner Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  10. ^ "Home page". Steens Mountain Running Camp. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  11. ^ "Steens Mountain Running Camp". YouthRunner Magazine. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 

External links



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