Jordan Valley

In eastern Oregon, bordering Idaho, is the city of Jordan Valley. First populated by the Northern Paiute people, the area is perhaps most notable for the Pillars of Rome, a 40-minute drive west of the city.

The Pillars of Rome are 100-foot-high rock formations that got their name for bearing a resemblance to Roman ruins. They measure about five miles long and two miles wide and are a truly spectacular sight at sunset.

Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management (

This area in Malheur County is all about nature. North of the city by some 40 miles by road is Leslie Gulch, another striking geological landmark made of rhyolite ash that erupted from the Mahogany Mountain caldera in a series of explosions about 15.5 million years ago.

If you have a 4×4 vehicle or a whole lot of patience, a quick drive over into Idaho to the Succor Creek Reservoir may be in the cards for you. The Succor Creek State Natural Area on the Oregon side of the border is just about as remote as you’ll get in this state.

Forty miles to the south of Jordan Valley is also Three Forks Hot Springs. A hike to the springs begins at the confluence of the North, Middle and Main forks of the Owyhee River and ends at the hot springs, which are beneath a waterfall and well worth the trip to this neck of the woods.