On average, highs will commonly reach between 40 and 50 °F (4 and 10 °C), with a few rare instances where the temperature fails to break 32 °F (0 °C). Not into camping? Your other option is to stay at the bunkhouses offered by the folks who run Alvord Hot Springs (they also have a campground) which means you will have 24 hour access to their hot springs. The Alvord Desert is located in Harney County in southeastern Oregon. Check the weather - if there is rain predicted you may want to re-think your plans or come prepared. Along with Steens Mountain, these topographical features create a rain shadow. The Alvord Desert lies at an elevation of approximately 4,000 feet (1,200 m). This desert landscape is now known as what is called a playa (like the one in Death Valley National Park) and is approximately 20 miles long and 7 miles wide. Oregon Don’t forget to pack swimwear so you can visit the hot springs nearby. Passes are $5 and it will give you access for 24 hours. One of the biggest draw cards for visiting the Alvord Desert is being able to camp on the desert playa. At night, the temperature falls to between 20 and 30 °F (−7 and −1 °C), but will not normally fall much further unless Arctic air masses arrive. One of the best things about taking a trip out to the Alvord Desert is being able to visit the hot springs found in the area. Due to the spread of COVID-19, some points of interest may be closed or have restrictions. Drove out on the flat from the Frog Springs access point. Anything you plan or save automagically syncs with the apps, ready for you to hit the road!
The basin sees a moderate amount of its rainfall in the winter months from storms coming off the Pacific Ocean while the strong winter jet stream is aimed at the Pacific Northwest. The nearby Steens Mountain Wilderness contains populations of bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk, and pronghorn. Spring is when the area see’s the most rainfall therefore this is not the best time for camping on the playa. The 70 mile-long Steens Mountain Range runs alongside the playa towering 5,000 feet above providing a spectacular backdrop. Three primary geothermal areas are along the western edge as well as cold springs following NE to SW trending normal faults. Despite the barren nature of the playa, some opportunities for wildlife observation exist. Clear nights continue to bring cold overnight temperatures which commonly drop to between 30 and 45 °F (−1 and 7 °C), but afternoon warming raises temperatures to between 50 and 60 °F (10 and 16 °C) in early spring and 70 and 80 °F (21 and 27 °C) in late spring. The Alvord Desert is located in Harney County, in southeastern Oregon. The Desert lies at an elevation of about 4,000 feet (1,200 m). These storms attribute to the rainfall in April, May, and June that form in the south and move their way north across the desert and surrounding sagebrush plains. The outlet waters from the springs typically flow roughly one mile into the desert, and their reach roughly delineates the bird habitat. The playa is a dry lake bed that measures about twelve miles long and seven miles wide. During the dry season the surface is sufficiently flat for driving or landing small aircraft. This is one of the few year-round creeks out here, just north of the Alvord Hot Springs along the Fields/Denio Highway. Make sure you fill your tank up with gas because this is a very remote part of the state. The Ultimate Guide to Crater Lake National Park, Meet the "Big Daddy": Roadtripping US-20, the Longest Road, Road trip along the Oregon Trail: A journey through history, Salem, Massachusetts, embraces its sordid past as Witch City, An Atlantic Coast road trip from Boston to Miami, How to best experience Zion National Park, A neon-fueled road trip along Route 66's most iconic spots, The Blue Ridge Parkway connects two national parks. It is roughly southeast of Steens Mountain. Further out into the playa proper are numerous killdeer and snowy plover, along with the occasional American avocet. Some people enjoy driving on the playa really fast! The previous women's Land Speed Record was set at Alvord Desert by Kitty O'Neil, in the jet-powered SMI Motivator, in 1976. Great space for solitude and inspiration. On August 27, 2019, Jessi Combs died while making back and forth runs at Alvord Desert in an attempt to break O'Neil's record, and in June 2020, the Guinness book of world's records recognized Combs' runs on that date as the official new world record of 522.783 mph (841.338 km/). On the western edge of the desert is Alvord Hot Springs (42°32′38″N 118°32′02″W / 42.5440°N 118.5340°W / 42.5440; -118.5340 (Alvord Hot Springs)).
Vehicle driving attempts to score land speed records are performed on the dry lake bed. While many areas in the Oregon High Desert frequently dip below 0 °F (−18 °C) through the winter months, the Alvord Desert rarely sees these frigid temperatures.
But be careful as there has been recent fatalities. You don’t want your tent to flood or have your car stuck in mud and be stranded. It is a surreal landscape and worth visiting on your way to Alvord Desert if you are coming from Burns. The Alvord Desert is beautiful to visit at any time of the year however winters can be really cold and summers very warm.
Two mountain ranges separate it from the Pacific Ocean—the Coast Range, and the Cascade Mountains. Autumn is the most ideal time to plan a visit when there is little rainfall and temperatures begin to cool down. Steens Mountain to the northwest from the Alvord Desert, "Jessi Combs awarded the Guinness record as fastest woman on earth", "Aqueous Geochemistry of Thermal Waters in the Alvord Basin, Oregon", "Extent and location of the geothermal aquifer in the Alvord Basin, Harney County, Oregon: A study based on Strontium Isotope Geochemistry of rocks and fluids", "The Renaissance Woman of Danger—That's Tiny Kitty O'Neil", "Deaf stuntwoman Kitty O'Neil sets women's land-speed record", "Mythbusters Star and Race Car Driver Jessi Combs Dead at 39 After Jet-Car Crash", The Wilderness Society: Wilderness in Oregon’s High Desert, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Alvord_Desert&oldid=985314529, Deserts and xeric shrublands in the United States, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 25 October 2020, at 07:18. The Alvord Desert is a desolate landscape; the snow-capped peaks of the Steens Mountain range tower above a cracked desert floor. At nearly 10,000 feet in elevation, Steens Mountain is the highest mountain in Eastern Oregon however it is very little known. Also remember this is the desert and the temperatures do drop dramatically at night and there is no protection from the wind so bring some warm layers. It is truly a unique landscape and when people see a photo of it, the most common response is thats in Oregon? Most campers set up on the outer edges of the playa because some visitors like to drive rather crazily on the salt flats and you don’t want to risk being hit accidentally.
Be the first to add a review to the Alvord Desert. In July the temperature commonly climbs to between 90 and 100 °F (32 and 38 °C). The area receives very little rainfall throughout the year due to the rain shadow created by the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges as well the adjacent Steens Mountain. They have restrooms and a small store run by live-in caretakers on the property. We recommend that you at least spend one night camping on the salt flats as it is a unique experience and there aren’t too many places that you can do this. This unique land formation is located in one of the most isolated parts of Oregon therefore receives very little visitor’s. Alvord can be reached via the Fields-Denio Road from either Burns if you’re coming from the north, or from the town of Fields if you’re driving up from the south. Got any questions or your own travel tips on visiting the Alvord Desert? GREAT Oregon Destination. Visiting the Alvord Desert is unlike visiting anywhere else in Oregon. Spring is when the bulk of precipitation falls from thunderstorms. Its main feature is a large expanse of cracked earth—called a playa—that stretches outward like a flattened piece of crumpled paper. Alvord Desert The Alvord Desert is a desert located in Harney County, in southeastern Oregon in the western United States. With some areas only receiving 5 inches of annual precipitation, it is also one of the driest locations in Oregon. You can use the restroom at Alvord Hotsprings if you need for a $2 fee. The Alvord Desert is a 12-by-7-mile (19 by 11 km) dry lake bed and averages 7 inches (180 mm) of rain a year. The most popular is the privately owned Alvord Hot Springs which is located just on the edge of the playa itself.
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