Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

21.  The Potholes (Beatys Butte Unit)

Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. pp. 136-137.

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What to Expect: Petroglyphs, standing water in summer, and waterfowl

Distance: 15.6-mile loop/round trip

Elevation Range: 5,613-5,880 feet

Drinking Water: Yes

Best Times: Late spring, fall

USGS 7.5' Maps: Chimney Rock, Rocky Canyon, Sage Hen Flat

Oregon Map Starting Point: Adel

Drive east approximately 25 miles on OR 140 (0.4 mile east of milepost 53) to a stop sign, just before the highway turns south and steeply upward. Go northerly on the Beatys Butte Road 10.8 miles until you see a very primitive unimproved way off to the southeast (you're going north). (If you don't see it—it may have a small cairn, but don't count on it—and have reached a major intersection with a sign to Spaulding Reservoir, retrace your route 2.6 miles.) Park here.

Hike southeast (Rocky Canyon quad) on the way for 1.7 miles across the flat to Guano Rim. If you are backpacking, you may want to make camp at the base of the rim in the sandy flat. The next decent camping spot is The Potholes.

At the rim, the way turns into a jeep trail. Follow said jeep route 5.5 miles to the Sage Hen Canyon (Sage Hen Flats quad, after crossing Chimney Rock quad). Petroglyphs can be seen on many rims, especially next to an old cabin.

To see Indian Caves, tinajas (rocks with smooth holes in them formed by the water working little pebbles in a circle), and petroglyphs, explore The Potholes upstream 1.2 miles to a way crossing. Hike this way 1 mile northwesterly back to the cairn on the rim above the cabin. From here, retrace your steps on the jeep trail 2.1 miles to a very faint way that heads west 0.2 mile to an often dry lakebed (Rocky Canyon quad, after crossing Chimney Rock quad). Continue westward across or around the lakebed, to another sometimes dry lakebed, andthen westward to a break in Guano Rim called Wagonslide (1.6 miles). From Wagonslide, head northerly to your camp at the base of the rim, or cross-country to your vehicle (3.3 miles).