written and photographed by Gina Williams


Getting to the far reaches of Oregon in the middle of winter has its challenges. But upon cresting the hill on Catlow Valley Road before descending into the community of Fields and seeing the snow-covered flanks of Steens Mountain and surrounding hills glittering like a dream, I’m always happy to have made the trip.

Fields and nearby Alvord Desert are situated on the east side of Steens Mountain in far southeast Oregon. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of the area is the deep silence, brilliant sunrises and the stunning night skies.

Winter lodging opportunities include Steens Wilderness Resort with an RV park and cabins just outside of Frenchglen (the historic Frenchglen Hotel is closed in winter) and the two-room motel in Fields as well as a smattering of guesthouses and other lodging.

Traveling the isolated routes in winter demands good preparation, including emergency considerations and tire chains. Prepare, also, to be amazed.

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See more information about the driving route via Burns on the High Desert Scenic Byway here.