Just 25 miles southeast of Bend, Ore., on U.S. Highway 20 is Millican Valley—a gem of a riding area that offers almost 150 miles of trails. The trails range in difficulty from easy to most difficult, so you shouldn't have a hard time finding trails that suit your skills. Riders find rockier terrain on the north side.
The North Millican Valley OHV trail system offers 102 miles of trails with three trailheads providing easy access. This is high desert—with elevations ranging from 3,300 to 4,200 feet—so the terrain is covered with sagebrush and juniper trees. The soil is sandy, and there are rock outcroppings.
Managed by the Prineville District of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the North Milliican Valley OHV Area is closed from Dec. 1 through April 30. During the summer, the area also may be closed at times due to extreme fire conditions.
The South Millican Valley OHV trail system offers about 43 miles of trails. This area is an ancient lake bed, so the terrain is flat with rolling hills with sagebrush, grasses and widely scattered juniper trees. Elevations range from 4,200 to 4,500 feet. There are three trailheads.
The trails are open to horse riders, mountain bikers and others as well, so respect other users.
The Millican/ODOT Play area is a fun little area with challenges for riders of all skill levels, ranging from gravel mounds to flat areas. There's a kiosk with information about rules, closures, and with maps of nearby OHV trail systems, as well as a chemical toilet.
This area serves as a staging site for both the North and the South Millican Valley OHV trail systems.
The Millican Valley OHV Area is remote so users should plan to be self-sufficient. That is, wear appropriate safety gear, carry a first-aid kit and never ride alone.
For the North Millican Valley OHV trail system, camping is allowed at any of the many dispersed sites. There are parking and camping areas at the West Butte Road staging area, the Horse Camp North Trailhead, the Cinder Pit OHV Play Area and the Millican/ODOT Play Area. The ODOT Play Area is the only one with facilities.
With the exception of the Millican/Oregon Department of Transportation Play Area, all areas require traveling on gravel roads to reach them. BLM officials note that during the riding season the roads can become "wash-boarded."
For the South Millican Valley OHV trail system, official parking and camping areas are at the Ford Road Trailhead, Horse Camp South Trailhead and the Evans Well Cut-off Road Trailhead. Camping is allowed in dispersed sites as well. The Ford Road and Evans Well Cut-off trailheads are right next to the paved road, The Horse Camp South Trailhead, however, requires traveling on gravel roads that are marginal. You won't find water, toilets or garbage collection at the sites.
To get to the North Millican Valley OHV trail system, follow U.S. Highway 20 east from Bend about 25 miles. The Millican/ODOT Play Area is about a mile east of Millican on the north side of the highway. To get to the other staging areas, continue on the highway about two miles and turn left on West Butte Road.
To get to the South Millican Valley OHV system, follow U.S. Highway 20 east from Bend about 22 miles. To get to the Horse Camp South Trailhead, turn right on the Evans Well Road (County Road 2015), continue south about a half mile and turn right on the dirt road, then proceed a mile to a wood corral in juniper trees. The other trailheads are along Spencer Wells Road (County Road 23). Turn right off U.S. Highway 20 just past Evans Well Road onto County Road 23.
For information on Oregon OHV laws, go to www.OregonOHV.org. For more information on the Millican Valley OHV Area, contact the Prineville BLM Office at 3050 NE Third, Prineville, OR 97754, (541) 416-6700.