From its headwaters to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge boundary, the Donner und Blitzen River is located in the eastern Oregon high desert. Although much of its course is through marsh, it offers scenic glaciated canyons and unique ecosystems. There is an exceptional wild trout fishery. Named by soldiers of German origin, the Donner und Blitzen River translates as "thunder and lightning" for a thunderstorm the soldiers experienced as they crossed the river.
The Donner und Blitzen River system also includes several spring-fed tributaries—South Fork Blitzen River, Little Blitzen River, Big Indian Creek, Little Indian Creek, Fish Creek, Mud Creek, and Ankle Creek—totaling 87.5 miles (140.8 km) of designated river.
rivers.gov/Donner und Blitzen