Take highway 20 east out of Bend to Burns, highway 78 east of Burns to the Fields-Denio Rd going south. This puts you on the east side of the mountain. To access the west side take highway 205 south out of Burns to French Glen which gives you the north access to a loop road going up to the top of the mountain and lookouts over the gorges and desert.
Steens is fascinating in all seasons. In the Spring the eastern slopes are covered with lupines and other flowers, and in the summer (when the road opens usually about July 1), you can take the loop road to the top which provides spectacular views into the gorges and hillsides covered with flowers of all kinds. We saw a mountain lion one year. Bring insect repellent and sturdy shoes and warm clothes. This is high altitude and often very windy.
Steens mountain is a long ridge rock sticking up out of the high desert to over 9000 feet. Sunrise light catches the east side beautifully, and spring rains provide the moisture for reflections.