A wedding, cowboy-style, on ranch in central Oregon. YeeHaw! I’m so excited because I’m headed to high desert country.

If you haven’t been to Oregon, you might have only seen photos of lush green forests, rocky coastlines, or wagon trains. But Oregon has multiple climates including ocean coastlines, wild forests, mountains ranges, deep valleys, and arid deserts. Yes, Deserts!

In fact most of Oregon is desert.

map showing large high desert area

Oregon’s desert is at a high elevation and is referred to as “high desert” (averaging around 4,000 feet/1,200 meters above sea level). Oregon deserts are beautiful, full of life and even have some green depending on the time of year.

It’s about a 5-hour drive from the Oregon coastline to central Oregon. It takes me more than double that time (10-12 hours) because I stop everywhere! I head out just before sunrise.

Photos of my journey – Goodpasture Bridge, the McKenzie River, Belknap Lava Fields, and roadside oddity “Petersen Rock Garden”.

I arrive in Prineville, Oregon just before sundown and pitch my tent. The wind is wicked strong, and I pound all the stakes in extra deep hoping my little tent doesn’t transform into a kite and fly away. By the afternoon of the following day we have a tent city established and all the tents work in unison to block wind and stand in solidarity!

The wedding goes off without a hitch, filled with amazing people who are here to celebrate love, laughter, happiness, and positive vibes. My kinda peeps!

Afterwards I visit two of the many places that demonstrate the beauty of the high Oregon desert and are considered among the 7 wonders of Oregon.

The “Painted Hills” are formations of colorful layers within the hillside corresponding to various geological eras when this was an ancient river floodplain. The red layers indicate a warm-moist environment with ponds and lakes, rainfall would have been between 30-50 inches (76-127 cm) per year.The yellow and tan layers indicate a dryer environment where rainfall would have been between 20-40 inches (51-101 cm) per year.

Today’s average rainfall for central Oregon is around 12 inches (30.5 cm) per year.



“Smith Rock National Park” has something for everyone with its sheer cliffs, boulders, canyons and rivers. The word “Majestic” comes to mind as I sit and absorb the incredible views. When I come this way again I plan on camping out and doing a few early morning hikes before the heat of the day sets in.

As I take an equally leisurely drive back, making my way home. The heat of the desert transitions to cool green mossy forests, and I stop at even more places that show the endless beauty of Oregon .

Photos of my journey – Willamette Forest, Clear Lake, Sahalie Falls

I’m back in my little cottage just after sunset, appreciating the wonderful places I’ve seen and the beautiful people I’ve met. Adding a few more gems in my grand adventure called LIFE!

“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket!” – Cowboy Saying

Next Blog: “#BigIsTiny”

Previous Blog: “#TruthIsPerspective”

Oregon is a Desert State

Geography of Oregon

Oregon’s 7 Wonders


Back to all blogs on Pipe’s Adventure

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