gorgeous basalt gorge
A short, easy walk provides impressive views into a deep, glacially-carved gorge.
There are a few areas of sheer drops where a fall could be fatal.
The gorge is named for pioneer Reuben C. Kiger and his family. In 1874 they moved to the Steens Mountain vicinity but, fearing Native Americans, returned to western Oregon around 1878. Basque and Irish sheep herders used to roam the area with their flocks.
The U-shaped gorge was carved by Ice Age glaciers, leaving behind a deep valley of basalt. The gorge is about a half-mile deep and 6500 feet wide.
From the parking area, follow the trail-of-use eastward to the rim. A sign offers information on the formation of the gorge and the fauna you might see. Take the time to walk past the sign so as to get a view of the “beginning” of the gorge. If you’re lucky you might happen to be there when fighter jets come from the south and drop down into the gorge. That ride must be a hoot!
Check out the Official Route.