Burns: 130 miles SE of Bend, 130 miles SW of Ontario, 70 miles S of John Day
Southeastern Oregon, the most remote and least populated region of the state, is a region of extremes. Vast marshlands, the most inhospitable desert in the state, and a mountain topped with aspen groves and glacial valleys are among the most prominent features of this landscape. Although cattle outnumber human inhabitants, and the deer and the antelope play, it's birdlife that's the region's number-one attraction. At Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, birds abound almost any month of the year, attracting flocks of bird-watchers, binoculars and bird books in hand.
Because this is such an isolated region (Burns and Lakeview are the only towns of consequence), it is not an area to be visited by the unprepared. Always keep your gas tank topped off, and carry water for both you and your car. Two of the region's main attractions, Steens Mountain and the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, are accessible only by way of gravel roads more than 50 miles long. A visit to the Alvord Desert will also require spending 60 or more miles on a gravel road.