- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Fodor's Pacific Northwest
Alvord Desert Review
With the eastern face of Steens Mountain in the background, the Alvord Desert conjures up Western movie scenes of parched cowboys riding through the desert—though today you're more likely to see wind sailors scooting across these hard-packed alkali flats (the "playa") and glider pilots using the basin as a runway. But once they go home, this desert is deserted. Snowmelt from Steens Mountain can turn it into a shallow lake until as late as mid-July. The mostly gravel Fields-Denio Road runs alongside the playa, accessing a number of rutted tracks maintained by the Bureau of Land Management.
At the south end of the road, Fields Station pretty much is the town of Fields, an all-in-one post office, general store, motel, and café. The old-fashioned milkshakes at this desert outpost are themselves worth the drive, made with old-school fountain syrups and served in enormous, 24-oz plastic cups. 22276 Fields Dr., 97710. 541/495–2275. www.fieldsoregon.com.
If the milkshakes aren't enough to justify a desert trip, then come for the Alvord Hot Springs. Though the land is privately owned, the public is welcome to use the two concrete pools taking on superheated water from the nearby springs. From this roadside, ramshackle soaking station, the view of Steens Mountain is superb. Be warned, though, Alvord is a nudity-friendly spring. Off Fields–Denio Rd., 23 mi north of Fields, 97710. Free.
- Address: From Frenchglen take Hwy. 205 south for about 33 mi until road ends at T-junction near town of Fields; go left (north) to Alvord Desert and Alvord Hot Springs., Frenchglen, OR 97710
- Location: Frenchglen
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
Hello all! Read more
I've spent the past two months writing, narrating, and editing together this traditionally styled travelogue about a ridiculous loop drive (done traditionally as well: byways, no GPS, no hotels) in a ridiculous Read more
My family and I are going to spend time in California this summer. Read more
· News & Features
Techie travelers have embraced the fun, tech-driven, on-the-road adventure that is geocaching. ... Read more
This week, we covered top destinations for great family getaways—from Disney World to dinosaur spotting.... Read more
Go on location in Görlitz, Germany, to the transporting set of director Wes Anderson's film... Read more