"FRENCHGLEN - GATEWAY TO THE STEENS" Frenchglen by mtncorg

Frenchglen Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 42 photos

The nearby city of Burns - "nearby" is a relative term in this country, some 60 miles to the north - touts itself as the "Gateway to the Steens" and that is probably more correct for most people as the majority of the area's motel rooms and other tourist amenities will be found here. In Frenchglen, you have a few housees and the Frenchglen Hotel - still open for business as a State Historic Site. A couple miles east is a campground - Page Springs and another small resort where you might pitch a tent.

Frenchglen was named for the two owners of the ranch that used to take up most of the surrounding countryside here - Pet French and James Glenn. French had been sent up to Oregon in 1872 with 1,200 head of cattle to acquire ranch land for Glenn - a bigtime Californian cattle and wheat mogul for whom a county in the Sacramento Valley of California would eventually be named after. The 1,200 cows would become 45,000 with another 3,000 horses and mules roaming over 100,000 acres - the P Ranch, whose remnants can be found a mile or so east off the Steens Byway from Frenchglen. French was always looking to gain more land. His acquistiveness did not set well with some of the newer homesteaders coming into the area in the late 19th century. In 1897, French was shot down by one of these homesteaders in front of witnesses in broad daylight. The murderer was found 'not guilty' by a jury of his homesteading peers.

Besides the hotel, you can find a small store - Frenchglen Mercantile - where you can buy a few groceries, cowboy hats or some of the most expensive gas in Oregon. If you plan on staying in Frenchglen, reservations are in order for the hotel and its meals - there is another hotel about 15 miles northeast in Diamond which is an excellent alternative. IF you are camping, there are four campgrounds you will find along the Steens Byway: Page Springs, Fish Lake, Jackman Springs and south Steens. Be prepared for very cold nights if you stay at Fish Lake or Jackman springs as they are quite high on the 9,733 foot high mountain - Frenchglen is only 4,184 feet high by comparison. Gas up in Burns before coming south. The only other gas in the area is to be found at Fields some fifty miles to the south where the gas was $3.60 a gallon as compared to $2.75 in Portland/$3.11 in Burns. I did not check the Frenchglen price but locals advised that Fields was much cheaper - "worth the 100 mile drive!"

  • Last visit to Frenchglen: Sep 2010
  • Intro Updated Sep 14, 2010
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