Diamond Craters is an designated Natural Area comprising of 17,000 acres and has some of the most diverse volcanic features in the nation clustered within a small, accessible area. Diamond Craters is located in the high desert country about 55 miles southeast of Burns, Oregon.
Named for rancher’s Mace McCoy’s diamond brand, Diamond Craters displays an entire range of eruptions possible in basaltic volcanism and was formed in the past 25,000 years, with some of the eruptions taking place as late as 1,000 years ago. Geological features include craters and vents, cinder cones, spatter cones, lava tubes, driblet spires, a graben, and water-filled maar.
It’s an isolated place and some precautions should be taken when traveling in the area. First, Diamond Craters has no tourist facilities. The nearest places where fuel is sold are Diamond and Frenchglen. Keep your vehicle on hard-packed road surfaces and obvious parking areas. If you go hiking, carry drinking water. Watch out for rattlesnakes.
Diamond Loop National Back Country Byway
The BLM or Bureau of Land Management has several routes within public lands as Back Country Byways. These are typically unpaved and more remote than other byways and are noted for their scenic attributes. Most of the public lands found along the byways are distant and provide both solitude and recreational opportunities.
Designated on March 14, 1991, the Diamond Loop National Back Country Byway offers a variety of wildlife, historical landmarks and fascinating natural formations. Traveling the 69-mile byway takes you through a patchwork of high desert terrains – from the deep blues of mountain vistas and the dusky sage-covered hills to the red rimrock canyons and the grassy reaches of marshes and valleys.
There are two places to access the Diamond Loop Back Country Byway: near the town of Princeton on State Highway 78 (north), or at the junction of State Highway 205 and Diamond Lane (west). We recommend filling up with fuel and food in Burns or at the Narrows before venturing around the byway. Lastly, remember much of southeast Oregon is open range – be prepared to share the byway with cattle and wildlife!