15. Campbell Lake (Poker Jim Ridge Unit, Bighorn Wilderness)
Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. p. 120.
What to Expect: Large shallow lakes, countless potholes, marshes, desert scrub, sand dunes, short-grass meadows, countless waterfowl, and memorable views
Distance: 10.6 miles round trip
Elevation Range: 4,462-4,558 feet
Drinking Water: Most always
Best Times: Spring, summer, fall, winter
USGS 7.5' Maps: Bluejoint Lake West, Campbell Lake
Oregon Map Starting Point: Plush
Drive north 1 mile and then northeasterly approximately 20 miles to the Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge sign. Just as the road leaves the flat of the Warner Valley and begins to climb the rim, park at the junction of an unimproved way continuing northeasterly along the flat.
Hike (Campbell Lake quad) 2 miles along southeast shore of Campbell Lake to a jeep trail along the northeast shore of the lake. This way may be followed northwesterly 3.3 miles to the north shore of Stone Corral Lake (Bluejoint Lake West quad).
It is safest to return the way you came. The adventurous can set their own course back, but be aware that topographic quad maps are only somewhat useful here, in that the water levels shown on the map are but a snapshot in time. At any given time, water levels are likely higher or lower. Within a few years' time, these lakes have been both bone dry and overflowing to merge into one huge lake (during which time this exploration can only be done by canoe).
This exploration is on Lakeview District BLM land recommended for inclusion in the Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.
(If the water levels are high, bring a canoe and put in on the south side of Flagstaff Lake and go exploring. Afternoon high winds can often be treacherous. If the water isn't too high, campsites are numerous. One best navigates by occasionally climbing "high" points and using Poker Jim Ridge as a beacon to the east.)