Christmas Valley Back Country Byway
Christmas Valley is in south-central Oregon about 60 miles south of Bend. The byway follows a series of county roads and BLM Road 6109C for a total of 102 miles. The roads are a combination of paved and gravel roads suitable for most passenger cars. BLM Road 6109C requires a high-clearance or four-wheel drive vehicle. Some sections of the byway are closed in winter. Sections may also become impassable after periods of heavy rain from March through May.
Christmas Valley Back Country Byway travels across the high desert landscape covered with sagebrush and shifting sand dunes. A unique feature to this desert landscape, however, is the isolated forest of pine trees. The Lost Forest area preserves a 9,000-acre stand of ponderosa pine growing among the high desert landscape common to this part of Oregon. This stand of ponderosa pine is about 35 miles east of the nearest ponderosa pine forest.
Adjacent to this oddity of nature is the 15,000-acre Christmas Valley Sand Dunes Off-Road Vehicle Area. Some of the sand dunes here rise 60 feet above the desert floor. Ten thousand acres are open to the public for recreational purposes. Vehicle use outside the dunes is restricted to roads or trails posted as open to vehicular travel.
There are no developed campgrounds along the byway. The BLM manages a campground in the Green Mountain area but there are no designated campsites or facilities. Only picnic tables are provided. About ten miles north of Fort Rock is the Deschutes National Forest and Cabin Lake Campground. It has 14 campsites on five acres and drinking water. South of the byway is Thompson Reservoir and the Fremont National Forest. Two campgrounds with a total of 32 sites and drinking water are on the lake.
Information: BLM-Lakeview District Office, 1000 S 9th St, Lakeview OR 97630 / 541-947-2177. Fremont National Forest, HC 10 Box 337, 1300 South G St, Lakeview OR 97630 / 541-947-2151. Oregon Parks & Recreation Dept., 1115 Commercial St NE, Salem OR 97310 / 800-551-6949