top of page
cyclists looking at sunset in the desert


Five days of  peaceful mixed terrian cycling featuring Steens Mountain Summit, Alvord Desert, Alvord Hot Springs, Crystal Crane Hot Springs, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and the Sod House Ranch.

Desert Dreams Details

2023 Tour Dates:

August 23 - 27  •  August 30 - September 3  •  September 6 - 10

Tour highlights include: The Frenchglen Historic Hotel, vistas from Kiger Gorge overlook, East Rim overlook and the Steens Mountain Summit, The Alvord Hot Springs and Desert, Crystal Crane Hot Springs, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, and a visit to the Sod House Ranch.

Elevation Difficulty

Mileage Difficulty




Tour Duration

5 Days - 4 Nights

4 - 8 Hours of Riding Per Day


281 Miles

(452 Kilometers)


The Desert Dreams tour originates in Bend, Oregon. This tour is 5 days of southeast Oregon cycling bliss. This is the route for you if you love soaking in hot springs under the stars, wildlife, mountain top vistas, geological wonderlands, and riding on mixed surface terrain.

Tour highlights include the historic Frenchglen Hotel, Kiger and East Rim overlooks at Steens Mountain (a fault-block uplift), huge skies and open spaces, the Alvord Desert, Alvord Hot Springs, Crane Hot Springs, and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Participants should have previous multi-day cycling experience and be comfortable riding 4-8 hours per day for 5 consecutive days. Daily rides range from 42-81 miles (68-130 km). The most challenging climbing day contains 6,246 ft (1,904 m) of cumulative elevation gain. Alternate route reduces the most challenging climbing day down to 3,734 ft (1,141 m). We have carefully designed the tour with support stops that allow a rider to opt out of a portion of the hill climbing and/or route distance, depending upon an individual rider’s preference.

Tour Itinerary

DAY 1: Hines to Frenchglen

Meet your guides in the morning for a short group orientation and safety talk. From Bend, we drive 2 hours east to the start of the cycling tour which is just south of Hines, Oregon. We begin with paved road cycling designed to immerse you in the wide-open landscape you now find yourself in. After only six miles of cycling, a gentle climb and an amazing descent provide perspective to this vast and beautiful landscape. The final 12 miles of the day’s riding is on gravel following the Donner and Blitzen River through the southern heart of the wildlife refuge. The day finishes with lodging at the historic Frenchglen Hotel with a family-style dinner.

Summary: 55 miles (88 km)  |  1,004 ft (306 m) elevation gain.

DAY 2: Frenchglen to Steens Summit to South Steens Campground

We ride from the hotel up a beautiful and challenging gravel climb on Steens Mountain Road. It has the feeling of climbing into another world. You’ll encounter groves of Aspens and more scenic vistas as you make your way up the climb. We’ll take a break at a classic U-shape glacial valley about a half-mile deep at Kiger Gorge, where the views are simply breathtaking. Kiger Creek is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and it supports a population of redband trout. We arrive at the East Rim overlook after a few more miles of climbing to spectacular views of this geological wonderland and the Alvord Desert below. Following the East Rim, we continue to Steens Summit at an elevation of 9,738 feet. Steens Mountain is the highest point in southeastern Oregon. It looms like a massive basalt island, with its summit over 5,000 feet above the Alvord Desert to the east. The day’s conclusion is a 12-mile descent to arrive at South Steens Campground.

Summary: 42 miles (68 km)  |  6,246 ft (1,904 m) elevation gain.

DAY 3: South Steens Campground to Alvord Desert Hot Springs

We ride through one of the BLM’s Herd Management areas that is managed specifically for pinto-colored horses. Not guaranteed, but it’s likely we will encounter the horses along our path. We return to pavement at mile 19 for some tranquil cycling in open ranch country. You’ll experience an outstanding climb up to Long Hollow Summit which will be followed by a blissful 4-mile descent, a true dreamlike experience for road cyclists. At about 4 miles out from Alvord Hot springs we get our first view into another world, the vast plane of the Alvord Desert. The day concludes with soaking in the hot springs. Beef from the local Alvord Ranch is available to cook on one of their custom ranch grills.  Equally amazing alternatives will be provided for anyone who does not want or prefer meat.

Summary: 80.5 miles (130 km)  |  2,779 ft (847 m) elevation gain.

DAY 4: Alvord Desert Hot Springs to Crystal Crane Hot Springs

Thirty lovely miles of low to no vehicle gravel cycling starts off the day. This section of the ride affords the opposite view looking back up to Steens Mountain. Some of the finest low-traffic paved cycling with fantastic climbs and descents occur in today’s route. Crane Hot Springs is the showstopping finale of day 4. A hot springs pond with open skies above, provides for some amazing star gazing and rejuvenation in the healing mineral spring water.

Summary: 69 miles (110 km)  |  2,188 ft (667 m) elevation gain

DAY 5: Crane Hot Springs to Malheur Wildlife Refuge to Bend

Today we will enjoy the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. The refuge is famous for spectacular concentrations of wildlife, that are attracted to the refuge’s habitats and abundant water resources in an otherwise arid landscape. Following the visitor center we take in the Sod House Ranch, to get a look back into the history of the settlement of this area. The trip concludes with a 2-hour return drive to Bend. Arrival at the tour origin point is planned to be between 3-4 PM.

Summary: 35 miles (56 km)  |  530 ft (162 m) elevation gain.

Tour Data


55% Paved  |  45% Gravel

Total Elevation

12,747 Feet (3,885 Meters)

Elevation Gain Per Mile

45 Feet (9 Meters)

Alternate Tour Itinerary

This alternate route shares the same Day 1 and Day 5 route as the original tour

Elevation Difficulty

Mileage Difficulty

DAY 2 ALT: South Steens Campground to Alvord Desert Hot Springs

Starts approximately 12 miles up the mountain while retaining all the most scenic views of Steens Mountain seen from the seat of your bicycle

Summary: 30.2 miles (48 km)  |  3,734 ft (1,141 m) elevation gain.

DAY 3 ALT: Alvord Desert Hot Springs to Crystal Crane Hot Springs

Cuts off the first 19 miles of gravel cycling and joins the group at the second support stop at the entrance to Steens Mountain. 

Summary: 61.4 miles (110 km)  |  1,882 ft (574 m) elevation gain

DAY 4 ALT: Crane Hot Springs to Malheur Wildlife Refuge to Bend

Removes the last 23 miles of the day's ride.

Summary: 45 .5 miles (73 km)  |  2,062 ft (628 m) elevation gain.

Alternate Tour Data


62% Paved  |  38% Gravel

Total Elevation

9,213 Feet (2,808 Meters)

Elevation Gain Per Mile

45 Feet (9 Meters)

Tour Ammenities

Inclusions: All meals, daily appetizer, snacks, water, camping fees, park entrance fees, and support transportation while on the tour.

Please contact us regarding any food allergies and dietary restrictions.

Exclusions:  Bicycle, guide gratuities, and alcohol.

Price: $2,275.00

2023 Tours

bottom of page