Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. p. 36.

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The Oregon Desert, being a cold desert, has definite seasons. During each season, elevation is the best indicator of temperature and rainfall.

Winter. Snow covers the mountains in winter and can periodically blanket the lower flatlands. Winter hiking is possible during certain times at lower elevations. One must be flexible. It can be extremely windy and cold.

Spring. The snow will keep you out of the mountains (unless you are crosscountry skiing), but the lower elevations are very accessible. The earlier in the season, of course, the greater the chance of inclement weather. Depending on the rains, travel on backcountry roads can be a problem. In the late spring, what a difference a day makes in drying out a road. Again, be flexible.

Summer. Go to the mountains, where the water flows from the snowmelt and the air is cooler. The lower flatlands and canyonlands can be unbearable.

Autumn. A great time to be in either the mountains (when the quaking aspen are turning color) or the flatlands and canyonlands. The days are warm and the nights frosty. The later in the season, of course, the greater the chance of inclement weather.