Bend to Alvord Desert
Oregon Overland Route
The Bend Oregon to Alvord Desert Overland route was a route I created in 2019. I got the idea that there had to be away using our public land system (BLM and National Forest) to get from Bend a trendy mountain town in the central part of Oregon state all the way to the Alvord Desert which is a 12 x 7 mile dry lake bed in the Southeast corner of the state which has become a hot spot for Overland and adventure vehicle enthusiasts. Using mapping software I was able to map out a route that is all dirt track using roads that are already existing on public land.
Along the way there are many awesome points of interest including the A6 Intruder crash site, Christmas Valley Sand Dunes, Shirk Ranch and the Hart Mountain Antelope reserve just to mention a few, you might even encounter some wild horses along the way along with other wildlife like mule deer and antelope.
This Overland route is 300+ miles and will take you roughly a week to complete in its entirety, or you can do it sections if you can't afford the time off. This is some of the most beautiful and remote untouched country in Oregon. If you love overland adventure your will love this Overland route.
A6 Intruder Crash Site
Christmas Valley Sand Dunes
The Christmas Valley Sand Dunes are a natural sand dune complex covering 11,000 acres (45 km2) of public lands. A OHV permit and flag are required to go on the dunes. All of the camp sites are primitive with no water or restrooms. The nearest public facilities are located in the unincorporated community of Christmas Valley, approximately 16 miles (26 km) away.
Grumman A-6 Intruder
This memorial and wreck commemorate the crash of a US Navy Grumman A-6 Intruder Bomber, which went down during a low level night training mission on 19 September 1973. Both crewmembers, pilot Lt. Alan Koehler, age 27 and navigator Lt. Cdr. Philip Duhamel, age 33, were killed in the crash
Christmas Valley Sand Dunes at Sunset
The David L. Shirk Ranch is a historic ranch located in the Guano Valley of eastern Lake County, Oregon, United States. The ranch was originally homesteaded in 1881. It was purchased by David L. Shirk in 1883. He operated the ranch until 1914. The property was acquired by the United States Government in 1942. The ranch is now administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The remaining historic ranch buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
here is a grave marker approximately 500 feet (150 m) northwest of main house. It is located on a knoll overlooking the valley and the ranch. It is a separate part of the historic district, covering less than .1 acres (0.00040 km2). The headstone is inscribed: "Here lies Bill Vickers and J. Gruenke, Shot August 14, 1887". The details regarding the circumstances of these men's deaths are unknown, but there are several theories bouncing around the internet.
Driving through the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge
Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge
Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge on Hart Mountain in southeastern Oregon, which protects more than 422 square miles (1,090 km2) and more than 300 species of wildlife, including pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mule deer, sage grouse, and Great Basin redband trout. The refuge, created in 1936 as a range for remnant herds of pronghorn, spans habitats ranging from high desert to shallow playa lakes, and is among the largest wildlife habitats containing no domestic livestock. This section is closed from Dec 1 - Jun 15 for wildlife protection so plan your trip accordingly.
Best Times to do the Route
Most of the route is open all year around but the area through the Hart Mountain Refuge is closed from Dec 1 - June 15. I feel the best time of year is from September through November. The grasses can be very dry and combustable during the summer and weather can be temperamental late October through November.
Click the download link below to download the routes. You will receive a zip file with 4 GPX files. GPX files are a standard GPS file and you should be able to import them into any GPS software. Each GPX file is one section of the route. The download is free but donations are always welcome. Members of of my Patreon receive two extra bonus GPX files with waypoints and a bonus route.