About BurnsFew people associate the Old West and its cowboy legends with Oregon, but Burns was once the unofficial capital of the 19th-century cattle empires that staked claim to the grasslands of this high desert plateau. Henry Miller, who acquired a million acres and more than a million head of cattle, was typical of the cattle barons who settled the region.
The junction of US 20, which roughly follows the old Central Oregon Emigrant Trail, and US 395 in Burns have made the town a transportation hub. The Burns Paiute Indian Reservation is on the north edge of town.
About 70 miles south of Burns is 30-mile-long Steens Mountain, which slopes gradually away from Malheur Lake to its 9,733-foot summit, then drops abruptly to the Alvord Desert on the east. Aspen groves, lakes and meadows stud the area.
About 50 miles west of Burns off US 20, the Glass Buttes rise some 2,000 feet above the surrounding countryside. The buttes, one of the largest known outcroppings of iridescent obsidian, furnished generations of Native Americans with material for spear points and other implements. Together with the outcroppings found in Yellowstone National Park, they supplied most of the arrowheads for tribes as far east as Ohio.
Visitor Centers Harney County Chamber of Commerce 484 N. Broadway Ave. Burns, OR 97720. Phone:(541)573-2636
Things to Do Harney County Historical Museum
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