wilderness photo

Public Law Designation

The 170,166-acre Steens Mountain Wilderness was designated under Public Law 106-399 on October 30, 2000. Download a copy of Public Law 106-399 (PDF) here.

Natural History

During the Ice Age, glaciers formed in the major stream channels on the mountain. These glaciers dug trenches about one-half mile deep, through layers of hard basalt. The result was four immense U-shaped gorges—Kiger, Little Blitzen, Big Indian, and Wildhorse. The famous notch in the east ridge of Kiger Gorge formed during a later glaciation when a small glacier in Mann Creek Canyon eroded through the ridge top. Massive internal pressures forced the east edge of the Steens upward. The result was a 30-mile-long fault-block mountain with a spectacular and rugged east face that rises one vertical mile above the Alvord Desert. Steens Mountain is the largest fault-block mountain in the northern Great Basin.

NW Passage Content

Below are just a couple wilderness-related articles from our award-winning magazine—Northwest Passage! Check out these articles, or read any article from our entire catalog—or click on a magazine cover to grab an e-book of that entire issue to read on your tablet or smartphone.