Diamond Craters Oregon

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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.

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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.

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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!


Abandoned Building # 2, Central Oregon


Traveling from Bend to Dayville, John Day, down to Haines and Burnes and back over to Bend reveals many abandoned buildings along the stretches of the highways.

same building but later changed to sepia tone.

This one is part of a cattle ranch and is fairly intact with some interesting features.


This house was built in the early 1950’s and was a place to stay for the cowboys who were out herding.   Now “Painted Hills Beef” is considered by some as the best beef produced in the state of Oregon.


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Horsetail Falls, Columbia Gorge, Oregon

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horsetail falls

Horsetail Falls      Type: horsetail    Height: 176 feet    Access: car or hiking
This classic example of a horsetail formation along Horsetail Creek can be viewed from a turnout on the Historic Highway, 2.5 miles east of Multnomah Falls

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Horsetail Falls Trail off the Historic Columbia River Highway is a great place to start your Gorge Waterfall Tour. Pass through a chamber behind Ponytail Falls, then continue on Oneonta Gorge Trail to see Oneonta Gorge, Oneonta Falls and Triple Falls.

Irish Bend Covered Bridge, Oregon

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Irish Bend Covered Bridge (Corvallis campus)

U.S. National Register of Historic Places

Irish Bend Covered Bridge is a wooden covered bridge near Corvallis Oregon, United States. It was constructed in 1954 and originally spanned the Willamette Slough on Irish Bend Road near the town of Monroe. However, in 1975 Irish Bend Road was realigned and the bridge fell into a state of disrepair. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It was eventually dismantled in 1988 and reconstructed on university property.

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Today, the bridge is part of a path through the research farm between 35th and 53rd Streets on the west side of the OSU campus, spanning Oak Creek. Although the property is owned by the university, maintenance is carried out by the Benton County Parks Department.

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Greaser Rock Art Site, Oregon


Greaser Petroglyph Site – Prehistoric Art

Native Americans have lived in southeastern Oregon since the Clovis Period, 12,000 to 10,000 years ago. At that time, pluvial lakes filled many of the high desert basins. Little is known about the people who occupied the land at that time, except that they camped and hunted near the lakes. The earliest petroglyphs in southeastern Oregon may be as much as 12,000 years old.


No one knows when the Greaser petroglyphs were carved or who carved them. They were probably created during either Clovis Period or the Stemmed Point Period that followed, placing the likely period of the Greaser rock carvings sometime between 12,000 and 7,500 years ago.


In 1840, when the first white men came through southern Oregon, the Northern Paiute tribe lived in the southeastern part of Oregon around Greaser Canyon. However, given the age of the carvings, it is possible that the Northern Paiute people had nothing to do with their creation.



The meanings of the Greaser petroglyphs are not known. They may have been used in religious ceremonies or marked tribal ownership of territory. The designs may have been map directions or simply art created to tell a personal story. No one knows.

The Greaser Petroglyph Site is located on land owned by the BLM in eastern Lake County Oregon.  The designs were scraped into a basalt boulder.  Because of its unique archaeological and cultural significance, the Greaser Petroglyph Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.


The Greaser Petroglyph Site is located 28 miles east of Lakeview, Oregon. The site is in the Warner Valley near Greaser Canyon.  The petroglyphs are carved on a southwest-facing basalt boulder, approximately 12 mile north of Oregon Route 140. The protected area around the petroglyphs covers 9 acres of open rangeland owned by the Bureau of Land Management.



The east facing basalt rim is one of the two southernmost of the “High Lake” sites in Lake County and has many superimposed glyphs.   Elevation is about 6,000 feet.


Ridgefield NWR Washington


Established in 1965 to provide wintering habitat for the dusky Canada goose.  the Refuge preserves both habitat for wildlife, and evidence of the people who once lived here.

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Black Headed Grosbeak

Along the lower reaches of the Columbia River the approximately 5300 acres  of the refuge has a mixture of wetlands, grasslands, riparian areas, and forests. These habitats with a mild and rainy winter climate, provide an environment for many species including neotropical song birds, wintering waterfowl, and other local native species. 

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red turtle

The refuge consists of five sections, with unique habitats. Two of these sections are open to public visits while the remaining three are kept as sanctuary for wildlife to escape human disturbance. This maintains a balance of allowing those species less tolerant to human presence to thrive in an increasingly urban area.  


Visitors can hike trails or take an auto tour route and has many opportunities for observing, and photographing wildlife. 

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Cinnamon Teal



The refuge also preserves the most intact archaeological site on the lower Columbia River, and evidence of at least 2,300 years of continuous human occupation. That history and culture is interpreted through the Cathlapotle Plankhouse built in 2005 and open to visitors on the weekends in the spring and summer

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Abandoned Building Hwy 20


The section of Highway 20 in central Oregon runs between Bend and Burns and contains a number of interesting abandoned buildings.  Here one of them is featured.  The above building was shot in regular color, the same building below was changed to Sepia tone, giving the photo an older, turn of the 20th century look.


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The same building from a different viewpoint, shot initially in color.


Now the same building in sepia tone.


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I love the look of abandoned buildings, especially in the countryside that evokes better times in the past but currently has a almost haunted look about it.

Welcome to Northwest by Southwest

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The author, Dr. Michael Poe

Welcome to my photographic blog I call Northwest by Southwest photos.  

In it I will publish photographs and notes covering the Northwest states of Oregon and Washington in the U.S. and British Columbia in Canada. The Southwest portion of my blog will cover the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and to a lesser extent, California and southern Colorado.

The photographs, captions and dialog will be on wildlife and outdoor photographs. Architectural archaeology such as ancient ruins, abandoned building, covered bridges and Victorian buildings will also be featured. Archaeology and ancient rock art from the region are included as well.