Scenic Driving

The Malheur National Forest hosts over 9,000 miles of mostly gravel, roadways. Many of our forest roads are extremely rugged or unimproved. Four wheel drive and high clearence is recommended and absolutely necessary for many of our more remote roadways. Be prepared to be fully self-sustained: aid and assistance of any kind can be far and few between in this neck of the woods. If you travel far from any major roads, you will likely find your cell phone to be of little use aside from cached maps and photographs.

Click here for FREE US Geologic Survey topographic map downloads to help you plan and execute your journey!

Road Routes

Strawberry Mountain Loop

This 74 mile paved scenic tour takes one fully around Strawberry mountains on a ride through wildflower strewn Logan Valley, the John Day River Valley rangeland, up and over forested high country, and through the towns of John Day, Canyon City and Prairie City. Total elevation gain of approx. 3855'.


North Fork Malheur River, USFS Rd “Lollipop Loop” Tour

This approx. 65 mile paved route takes drivers out of Prairie City, looping around alpine Forest roads and meadows via USFS Rd. 13 and 16 then back to Prairie via County Rd. 62 creating a sort of lollipop shaped route. Total gains amount to around 4050’. Many camping opportunities exist along the ride, including the Short Creek Guard Station.



Gravel Routes

South Fork John Day River Backcountry Scenic Byway

An exceptionally beautiful out-and-back journey along the South Fork of the John Day River nestled between the Malheur and Ochoco National Forests. This ride takes adventure seekers along the eastern boundary of the Black Canyon Wilderness. Thisroute is approximately 52 miles in length with 2230’ elevation gain and loss with a max grade of 5.9%.

Grouse Knob / Reynolds Creek Loop

Over the course of this 52 mile drive you will experience 4000’ gain.  Adventurers will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Strawberry Mountains near Grouse Knob.

Vinegar Hill Scenic Area Historic Hut-to-Hut Cabin Tour

This ride connects the Sunshine Guard Station on the Malheur National Forest and the Fremont Power Station on the Umatilla National Forest in a circumnavigation of the Vinegar Hill Scenic Area; following much of the region’s early gold mining history.


Find other US Forest Service Cabins for rent in the Pacific Northwest here.

Areas & Activities