Narrows (Photo by Marcus Haines)
Frenchglen (Photo by Bill Renwick)
For further information, contact:
USFWS • Harney County • ODOT
How to Use this Brochure
As you travel the Diamond Loop Back Country Byway,
you will find a patchwork of high desert terrains. From
the deep blues of mountain vistas and the dusky sagecovered hills, to the red rimrock canyons and the grassy
reaches of marshes and valleys, you will find 69 miles of
new adventure waiting for you.
This brochure offers the option of three starting points:
• Near Princeton on State Highway 78 (north)
• The junction of State Highway 205 and Diamond
• Frenchglen on State Highway 205 (south)
Check the map in this brochure or at the byway
interpretive shelters to determine your location. Then
choose the route that will take you to the features you
want to explore and some you didn’t even know existed.
If you are a wildlife watcher, keep an eye out for wild
horses, mule deer, or pronghorn antelope. Bring along
your binoculars to spot the waterfowl, shorebirds,
hawks, and eagles that traverse the Pacific Flyway
through the area.
Whether you are exploring a lava flow, stopping at
small historic towns, or passing the ranches scattered
throughout the valleys between the Steens and Riddle
mountains, you will travel back country roads that lead
to attractions right out of the ‘Old West.”
Little Red Cone, Diamond Craters
Tips for Travelers
Bureau of Land Management
Burns District Office
28910 Hwy 20 West
Hines, Oregon 97738
Public Lands USA: Use, Share, Appreciate
Inside Round Barn
Road conditions in the area can change without
Be cautious when going up or down the grade
between Diamond and Happy Valleys.
Please respect private property. Do not wander
onto meadows and ranchlands without getting
permission from landowners. During spring and
fall, watch for cattle herds on the byway.
If you see something of interest and you wish to
stop, drive your vehicle onto the road shoulder
as far as safely possible, or choose a pull-out to
get completely off the road. Be aware of others
who may have done the same, particularly
during the spring waterfowl migration.
Respect natural and cultural artifacts. Leave
them as you found them.
Nearest gas and food is at The Narrows on
Highway 205 at the turnoff to the Malheur
Time to Explore.Time
. . to Explore.Time
. . to Explore. . .
The Peter French Round Barn, circa 1880s, was built
by cattle baron Peter French for training ranch horses
during the winter months. The barn’s unusual design is
perfectly suited to its purpose. It is 100 feet in diameter,
has a 60-foot round stone corral surrounded by a 20foot wide outer circle paddock, and has an umbrellatype center truss with centrally supported rafters. The
structure is located on land donated to Oregon State
parks by the Jenkins family who opened a visitor center
and museum nearby in 2004.
Diamond Craters, an Outstanding Natural Area of 17,000
acres, has some of the most diverse basaltic volcanic
features in the nation clustered within a small, accessible
area. Also named for Mace McCoy’s diamond brand,
the area displays an entire range of eruptions possible
in basaltic volcanism. This volcanic area was formed
some time in the past 25,000, with some of the eruptions
taking place as late as 1,000 years ago. With the brochure
specifically designed for a self-guided tour, you will be able
to identify craters and vents, cinder cones, spatter cones,
lava tubes, driblet spires, a graben, and a water-filled maar.
The Kiger mustangs, thought to be one of the purest
herds of Spanish mustangs existing in the wild today,
may be the descendents of the Spanish Barb horses
brought to North American in the late 16th century.
Among their unique physical characteristics are dun and
buckskin colored coats, zebra stripes on knees and hocks,
hooked ear tips, and fine muzzles.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has developed
a wild horse viewing area accessible to high clearance
vehicles from Happy Valley Road and passable only in dry
weather. The Kigers and other mustangs can occasionally
be seen at BLM’s wild horse corrals. Tours of the facility,
located on U.S. Highway 20/395 a few miles west of Hines,
can be arranged at the BLM Burns District Office in Hines.
Town of Diamond
Diamond, a small ranching community named for Mace
McCoy’s diamond brand, was established as a major
supply center for ranchers, sheepmen, and travelers.
At its peak, the town had a population of about 50.
Today the town is almost deserted except for the
newly renovated Hotel Diamond, the school, a modern
community building, and a few residences. A row of
100-year-old poplar trees still shades the McWilliams’
home. A stone building constructed by Charles Hawkins
still stands to remind us of bygone days. It once served
as a store, post office, community meeting place, and
Malheur National Wildlife
Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this
wildlife refuge was dedicated by President Theodore
Roosevelt in 1908. The upper Blitzen Valley section,
including the P Ranch, was added in 1935. The refuge
is a favorite destination for bird watchers throughout
the western United States. Approximately 220 species
of birds, including migrating waterfowl, wading birds,
and shorebirds can be found on and adjacent to the
refuge during various times of the year. Stop at refuge
headquarters for more detailed information.
Town of Frenchglen
In the mid 1920s, the Eastern Oregon Livestock
Company urged the development of a town site in the
upper Blitzen Valley because an increasing number of
travelers were coming to their P Ranch headquarters for
aid and accommodations. In 1923, a post office was
established in the community, then called Somerange.
In 1930, the name of the post office was changed to
Frenchglen. The new name honored well-known, local
cattle baron, Peter French, and his father-in-law, Dr. Hugh
James Glenn, the California wheat king. French purchased
a 185,000-acre landholding to establish his cattle range.
Today, the town still has a post office, school, and several
residences. The hotel, which still accommodates travelers,
is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.