BLM Criterion Tract
The Criterion tract has been managed by the Bureau of Land Management since its acquisition in 1995. South of Maupin, it is accessible from 197 and extends west towards the Deschutes River 2000 feet below. Its open, expansive views and free wandering through the cheatgrass and lonely junipers (and sunshine, when the rains remain caught up in the Cascades), have quickly made it one of my favorite spots to explore. There are old jeep tracks from the lands days as a ranch and some paths. They vary in how established they have remained and how much they have been overgrown. Parts are open to grazing so expect to see cows and cow paths. And hordes of meadowlarks. There are some fences remaining, and some designating the boundaries with private property, and down closer to the river property there are borders that are unmarked, so it's a good idea to have some GPS if you are going to go wandering to respect the boundaries. Chukars explode off the cliffs, voicing their irritation in their squeaky toy croak, and although I've spooked around a hundred, I've yet to glimpse one on the ground, they are experts at bursting forth and dissapearing out of sight.