The Donner and Blitzen is commonly referred to as the Blitzen. The river rises on the lower slopes near Steens Mountain at an elevation of 6500 ft. It is located in the high desert region of Eastern Oregon and drains to the Southern part of the Harney Basin including the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The river terminates into Malheur Lake. The river has a unique and diverse setting, flowing through both marshland and glaciated canyons. Although its unusual name makes you think of two of Santa's reindeer, it translates in German to thunder and lightning.