Chimney Rock Campground: One Day on the Crooked River

After the last trip to Eastern Oregon I was craving another day or two in the high desert.

This time it was my girlfriend and I who went. I spent a few hours looking at a number of different campgrounds in Ochoco National Forest and ended up going with the Chimney Rock Campground on the Crooked River. The area falls under the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), normally their campgrounds are less populated and provide less services.

After getting our last minute food items from Ray's Food Place in Prineville, we set out south on Highway 27. It was a beautiful day, about 65 degrees with the sun making it feel at least 10 degrees warmer. The highway was a beautiful drive along the Crooked River through mixed juniper and pine forest. Once you get about 10 miles south of Prineville there is a BLM kiosk. It had maps and general information about the area.

Highway 27 From Atop Chimney Rock
The sun was rapidly dropping behind the rim of the valley as we pulled into the campground. I was somewhat disappointed by the number of people there, but it turned out most were only fly fishing for the afternoon. We looked at the campground map and saw that site number one looked the most secluded so we went to check it out. It was by far the best spot there! The closest we could get the car was about 10 feet away, so carrying the supplies wasn't a big deal. The site sits near the highway but the road noise during this time of the year was almost non-existent.
Campsite Number 1

After talking to some locals we found out that the campground is overrun by loud-mouthed drunks in the summer time, so keep this in mind if you head out on a summer weekend. Also the fishermen were pulling some pretty good sized redside trout out of the river.  Though this time of the year we were the only people who stayed overnight. Another upside to staying off season, is that there were no fees to camp! This is from November 1- March 30. BLM Info 

The View South From Chimney Rock
The next morning we set off for a hike up to the namesake of the campground. The hike itself was fairly easy, because of the cool temperatures and the gradual grade of the trail. In the summer a morning or evening walk would definitely be advisable. It was about a 700 foot gain over 2 miles. If you're the more adventurous type you can easily scramble up the south side of Chimney Rock. Epic unobstructed views await! 
The Trailhead
Chimney Rock

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