When I lived in Portland, I went to the Alvord desert three times... it is a 7 hour drove, but I wanted to see it in different seasons. Each time did not disappoint.
I stayed here twice of the three times because I was with a group and the $50 bunker was not bad split up. And this got us access to the hot springs... no brained.
It was also super nice to have a heater.. while this is a dessert, the winters are so cold.
The Steens range was just dusted with snow, so we were very lucky. It was presidents weekend for reference.
Bathrooms, but not showers.
The bunkers are old military converted into a living space. Small, but really fun to stay in.
Road is easy to get to. Dirt for a few miles off the highway, but super stunning.
Worth the long haul. Every time.