Need a place to play? Where you can enjoy nature viewing at its finest? This is a place where those weary of hectic schedules and jangling telephones can find peace, a place where life can be pondered from a different and unique perspective. Most of all, a place carefully designed and maintained for people -- for the mother and her baby out for a Sunday drive, for the father teaching his son how to fish, for the teenager who wants to get away for a bit, for the couple on a weekend camping trip, for the grandparents who just want to take it easy for a week. Mountain waters flow out of the Ochoco Mountain Range, joining together to form the Crooked River. This river, confined by its canyon and the Bowman Dam, forms Prineville Reservoir.
This trail climbs through an amazing canyon area, out on some bluffs and to Chimney Rock, a neat rock formation high above the Crooked River. We saw wildflowers, birds of all types, including Ravens and Vultures who were picking at a carcass, and views everywhere, including the beginnings of a spectacular sunset. And, we only saw two people. It was an incredible hike, and a great start to a long weekend in Central Oregon! If you are in this area, it's a must-do hike.
Enjoy hiking this, however, just a note for anyone who decides to hike it in the snow/ice (as we [self, husband, 12 yr old son, 2 german shepherds] did one time), there are two areas where it can be dangerous in the snow/ice- Yak-traks or something similar would be helpful to put on your boots, also, keep your dog on a lead unless he/she absolutely will stay right next to you. There is a place when the area is frozen the dog can actually slip and drop over the side of a fairly large cliff.
Hiking in the spring and summer is very nice though!
We started out on the OHV trails at the West boat ramp. The trail was muddy and quite steep going up to the rim overlooking the reservoir. We (Karen and myself) hiked all the way around the rim, to HWY 27. We were running out of daylight, so we turned back after we reached Bowman dam. Next, we intend to start out earlier and hike from the reservoir off of Juniper Canyon Rd, to Chimney Rock.
The trail, like all of the Lower Crooked Wild & Scenic River area, is managed by BLM and it starts directly across the road from the Chimney Rock campground.
The trek up to the pinnacle may be only slightly longer than a mile, but by the time you get back to your vehicle you will have hiked 2.6 miles and your butt will have had a good workout in the process.
See full review at Hiking Central Oregon!