South Steens Campground is located in the heart of Steens Mountain. Visitors will find picnic tables and grills at 36 family campsites amid juniper and sage. The equestrian site, designed specifically for horse users, is directly adjacent to the family campground. Recreational stock (horses, mules, llamas, goats, etc.) are not allowed in the family portion of South Steens Campground, but are welcome and comfortable at 15 equestrian sites complete with tie posts and small corrals.
Know Before You Go:
The typical season of use at South Steens Campground is mid-May through mid-November. Vault restrooms and drinking water are available. The use of pelletized or certified weed-free hay is required on all BLM public lands in Oregon and Washington. Point of Interest:
South Steens Family and Equestrian Campgrounds are close to the Historic Riddle Brothers Ranch, several hiking trails, and the Little Blitzen and Big Indian gorges.
South Steens Campground Brochure
I originally went to the South Steens family Campground to find a site and it was full. I went over to the equestrian campsites even though I didn't have any horses. It worked out just fine. The campsites are close together so there isn't much privacy. It is August and they are not allowing campfires. They have restrooms and a well house to get water from. The skies were clear and I was able to get a glimpse of the meteor shower. I've never seen stars like that it was really nice. This is a good base camp to go to Wildhorse Lake for a quick hike. It's 2 1/2 miles long but worth it. I would come back here.
We stayed here for 1 night during a long weekend escape to Steens. The campsites aren't very private as they sit amongst low sage bushes, and they're not particularly large; only enough space for 1 car and 1 tent. The facilities are clean. There are lots of great trailheads in the area. Other campers were quiet and respectful.
We go up to the South Steens Campground each year and stay in the Equestrian side of the campground. Normally we spend 7-10 days there and ride the gorges and down to the Riddle Brothers Ranch. This campground is great for horses. The solar well is great for water and having corals at each site is awesome! We high line some horses but there is still plenty of space for that as well. No campfires are allowed in the fall but what we do to stay warm outside is we have a small wood stove that works great to cook on as well. Just a little piece of advice is to always have you rain coat with you when you go riding in the Steens, the weather can change fast!
We headed to South Steens as a basecamp for some of the longer hikes. This campground is SUPER big, and we didn't have a problem getting a spot even though it was FCFS in the middle of the weekend. Clean picnic tables and sites. They have running water (So stock up before headed into the gorge! - next water is Jackman Park!) and clean pit toilets. Not a lot of shade so prep for that. All in all a nice BLM spot!
We spent 2 nights at the campground and did the Big Indian Gorge hike to the headwall (it was awesome!) Campground was clean and quiet, except for a few big RV's with generators.