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Birch Creek Ranch - Jordan Craters

The Birch Creek Historic Ranch and Jordan Craters are near the Owyhee River and northwest of Jordan Valley, Oregon.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 51 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  This is a great day trip for a family.

Jordan Craters is a 27 square-mile olivine basalt lava flow that is estimated to be between... more »

Tips:  The Jordan Craters Road intersects US Hwy 95 about 8 miles north of Jordan Valley, Oregon (POI #1). The round trip mileage for this... more »

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Points of Interest

1. US 95 and Jordan Craters Road

Jordan Craters/Bennett Drive Road is a crowned graveled road. It is recommended for high clearance vehicles.

This intersection is 8 miles north of Jordan Valley, Oregon.

It is 26.3 miles and 1 hour and 26 minutes to the Jordan Craters from here.

From Jordan Craters to the Campground(POI #10) it is an additional 9.6 miles and 37 minutes.

From... More

2. Cow Creek Bridge

Just after crossing the Cow Creek Bridge there is space for parking and unloading ATV's.

3. Ranch Horses

We have seen ranch horses in this area several times.

4. Warning Sign

It is a rough road from here. There are large mud puddles in the road if it has recently rained. There are some pull outs with scenic views on the east side of the road.

We have seen deer in the sage brush here.

5. Jordan Craters

There are 27 square miles of lava flow here. There are impromptu trails into the lava bed, but caution is advised. Some of the lava is fragile and the potential exists for cave-ins. It is also sharp and hard on hands and foot ware.

Be careful around the crater edges. There are overhangs and the lava can be fragile.

6. Birch Creek Grade & Viewpoint

The descent into the Owyhee River Canyon starts here. The sign says it all.

The road is closed and the gate here is locked from November 30 to February 15 every year.

Be alert on the switchbacks as you are likely to meet trucks towing river raft trailers.

7. Birch Creek Ranch

The ranch caretaker lives here. Drive slow and help keep the dust down.

From here the road parallels the Owyhee River with many interesting rock formations along the canyon walls.

8. Water Wheel

The water wheel was used to irrigate the haying area on the ranch.

There is a junkyard on the canyon side of the road near here with several examples of old ranch machinery.

9. Morrison (Pinnacle) Ranch

The raft take out point is located here, also the restroom.

There are a number of interesting old buildings and corrals here. The video shows some of the structures and a lot of canyon scenery.

10. Campground

There are five sites with picnic tables and fire rings along the Owyhee River.

There is no potable water and no fee.

There are several stock trails, suitable for hiking, leading to the canyon rim from the river road.