Secrets of the High Desert, Full Day | April – June
Full Day Tour / We Guide You Drive Tour / Meet at TH / High Desert Mountains, Fascinating Lava Caves, Ancient cinder cones, thrilling roller-coaster style riding trails, National Forests, majestic viewpoints, this tour has it all. Encounter adventure, education, fun, and create lasting memories. #goexplore!
**Departs 10 A.M.**
Trail Mileage: 80 Miles.
Meet at the trailhead at 9:45 a.m. (leave Bend area by 9:15am)
Includes: Driving Instructions, Safety Briefing, Morning Snacks, Boxed Lunch and Beverages.
All guests are provided helmets and gloves for protection and safety.
Keep in mind that you will be exposed to the elements. We recommend all guests to wear long pants and durable, closed toe shoes.
It is a good idea to dress in layers, as climate in the high desert offers extreme temperature changes.
All helmets are equipped with a pull-down visor, except children (we provide googles). If you wear contacts you may want to wear prescription lenses instead, as trails can be dusty.
- Full of Forests, and great ponderosa pines. The best part of this back-country tour is just enjoying all the ecosystems found in the Deschutes National Forest and The Bureau of Land Management. See it all on our longest tour!!
- This trail begins just outside of the town of Millican and journeys through a massive Ponderosa Pine forest to vistas and lookouts.The area is dominated by Lodgepole pine, Western juniper, and Ponderosa pine with big sagebrush, bitterbrush, mountain mahogany, rabbitbrush, and a variety of desert grasses as the main ground cover. Common grasses in this area include Idaho fescue, bunch grass, and blue bunch wheatgrass. Animals common in the forest include mule deer, pronghorn, coyotes, bobcats, cougar, and American black bear. Smaller mammals include American badgers, porcupines, golden-mantled ground squirrels, and chipmunks. Small bird species include mountain bluebirds, western meadowlarks, white-crowned sparrows, lark sparrows, and sage grouse. Larger birds include ravens, great horned owls, turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, and golden eagles.
- This ride is an amazing way to enjoy your Central Oregon Adventure. Explore underground caves. Come share the adventure with us! Central Oregon Desert and The Deschutes National Forest and The Bureau of Land Management! #goexplore
- Derrick Cave is a lava tube located in the remote northwest corner of Lake County, Oregon. The cave is approximately 1,200 feet long. It is up to 80 feet wide and 46 feet high in places. It was named in honor of H.E. Derrick, a pioneer rancher with a homestead 3 miles southeast of the cave. The land around the cave is managed by the United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management. Derrick Cave is a classic lava tube structure. It was created by lava flowing downhill from a volcanic vent located north of the cave. Lava from the vent also created Devils Garden, a 45 square miles lava bed southwest of the cave. Most of the lava deposited around the Devils Garden area was delivered through the Derrick Cave lava tube
- The cave was named for H. E. Derrick, a pioneer rancher with a homestead 3 miles southeast of the cave. Because it was large and cool, early homesteaders in the Fort Rock area often used the cave as a summer recreation site. During social gatherings at the cave, families used the ice found in the cavern to make ice cream.
- During the early days of World War II, local residents planned to use Derrick Cave as an air-raid shelter if the Japanese began bombing the west coast of the United States. While residents of Central Oregon never needed an air raid shelter during World War II, Derrick Cave was designated as a nuclear fallout shelter in 1963. Supplies of food and water for up to 1,200 people were stored at the site. The supplies were stored in a small branch of the cave behind a locked steel door. However, vandals broke into the supply vault on several occasions and plundered the food cache. The vandals left the civil defense water cans, probably because they had frozen solid. By 1970, all of the supplies had been stolen by vandals or removed by civil defense authorities.
- The National Aeronautic and Space Administration also used Derrick Cave in the 1960s. As the agency was planning lunar landings, it was interested in determining if underground caverns could be detected from high altitude using gravimetric instruments. To support the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, North American Aviation and Pacific Northwest Bell conducted high altitude gravimetric tests using Derrick Cave as the underground target
- Pine Mountain Observatory (PMO) is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by University of Oregon Physics Department. It is located 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Bend, Oregon (USA) in the Deschutes National Forest on top of Pine Mountain. The site was discovered by professors Russ Donnelly and E.G. Ebbinghausen in 1965 and has been in operation since 1967.
- PMO’s mission includes a strong public education aspect. Programs for high-school students have not only include observation, but also analysis of data and preparation of a paper for publication. PMO has developed software that enables K-12 teachers to perform observations remotely and process the data for classroom use 
- The Oregon high desert is a region of the U.S. state of Oregon located east of the Cascade Range and south of the Blue Mountains, in the central and eastern parts of the state. Divided into a southern region and a northern region, the desert covers most of five Oregon counties and averages 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above sea level. The southwest region is part of the Great Basin and the southeast is the lower Owyhee River watershed. The northern region is part of the Columbia Plateau, where higher levels of rainfall allow the largest industry on private land to be the cultivation of alfalfa and hay. Public land within the region is owned primarily by the Bureau of Land Management, which manages more than 30,000 square miles (78,000 km2) including five rivers designated as Wild and Scenic.