Thursday, October 8, 2009


This is a route I always wanted to take when I was a young kid. The old Oregon highway maps didn't show it as a paved route connecting Prineville and US 395 south of John Day, but once I found out it was paved all the way across I was fascinated. I finally got the chance to take the route about 12 years ago, and todayThursday October 8 was my fourth time.

What's so great about this route, you might ask? Once you're about halfway across it you might be thinking "There's nothing out here at all!" But to me, that is the best part of it. It is a stretch of pavement that extends roughly 119 miles, with only a handful of farms and ranches and one little town (which probably only has at most about 100 people) along the way.

0.0 Junction at US 395 16.7 miles south of downtown John Day.

Looking west from junction with US 395.

0.6 Looking south from the road, into Bear Valley.

3.6 Geary Campground Road to the right.


Today I saw all kinds of birds, including a golden eagle, and too many deer to count. Here, at around mile 7.8, Mom was out for a walk with her kids.

The deer were in the edge of a large burn.
This is also at mile 7.8, looking west up the road.
8.0 Entering Malheur National Forest land.

11.0 The highway winds along the upper Silvies River. This was taken at the junction with US Forest Service Road 24.
14.5 The road crosses a divide, and a sign reads "Rough Road 51 Miles"! There aren't any potholes in the road at this point, but it has been patched extensively and has no shoulder stripe or center stripe in places.
15.6 Heading downhill.
15.8 Leaving Malheur National Forest land.


19.5 View to the south of the road.

20.0 Cross another divide.

20.3 Heading down toward the South Fork of the John Day River.


24.8 Just about at Izee. There isn't much there... a house or two, and a few old, deserted buildings.



32.0 At junction with South Fork Road, looking north.
32.2 The return of the center stripe and shoulder stripes. The road is smoother here, but has numerous seams running across it, contributing to a slightly bumpy feel.

32.9 Start uphill again.


38.8 Looking back down, to the east, from the hill we have been climbing.
39.0 Cross a divide, head downhill briefly.

42.0 Heading back uphill again already, with a view to the south.
42.7 Cross another divide.

42.9 Heading down the other side, looking west.
43.7 The road is now good, very smooth.
44.6 South Weberg Road and Delintment Lake Road to the left.




59.4 At junction of Beaver Creek Road and Rager Ranger Station Road (that road takes off to the right). Looking west.
63.0 Turn left into Paulina.
Paulina Store and Post Office.

An old church.

The Paulina school facility.

63.8 Back at the highway, looking west.



75.4 Looking northwest.

Also at 75.4, looking north.
79.6 Cross South Fork Crooked River.


81.1 Looking south.


85.4 Tower Point Lookout Road to the left.

88.2 Pine Creek and Antelope Reservoir Road to the left.

92.4 South Newsome Creek Road junction. This picture looks south up Newsome Creek Road. Note the forest fire in the background.

93.6 Post, the geographic center of Oregon!




100.7 More deer!
102.1 Sharp 25 mph corner to the right, then highway leaves the Crooked River and heads up a side canyon.

103.9 Castle Rock

106.1 Looking back down the hill to the south.
106.4 Top of the hill.

108.3 Looking northeast, toward the Ochoco Mountains.

Also at 108.3, looking ahead down the road.

110.4 Looking north from the road, Ochoco Mountains in background.


116.0 (below)
116.8 I just about hit three deer at this point! Click to enlarge the picture, and you will see several more.

117.2 Three-way stop. Juniper Canyon Road to Prineville reservoir goes to the left. We are now on the edge of Prineville.

118.0 Street leads to Fairgrounds to left.

118.6 The Izee Highway ends at US 26 on the east end of Prineville.