66. Chalk Basin (Owyhee Breaks Unit)
Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. p. 231.
What to Expect: Unique ecological sites with a bit of badlands, barren soils, and sparse vegetative communi-
ties, all quite scenic
Distance: 4.6 miles round trip
Elevation Range: 3,400-3,740 feet
Drinking Water: Yes
Best Times: Spring, fall
USGS 7.5' Map: Lambert Rocks
Oregon Map Starting Point: Rome
In downtown Rome head northwest (US 95 runs east-northeast and west-southwest) for 1.8 miles. The road turns to the north-northeast for 0.2 mile to an inter- section. Continue westerly (enjoy the Rome Cliffs as you drive by) for 4 miles. You now come to an intimidating-looking gate, probably with a "No Trespassing" sign that would turn back lesser souls. In fact, this is a public right-of-way, according to the BLM staffer in Rome. Proceed northerly through the gate 0.6 mile. Where the good road turns west, take the worse road that forks to the right, which passes the butte to the west, across Crooked Creek and then turns north. After 0.6 mile from leaving the good road, take the left (northwesterly) road for 3.7 miles to another intersection. Stay on the main road, which turns northeasterly and then northerly for 1.4 miles to another intersection. Continue northerly 3.4 miles and park at the intersection.
Hike the unimproved way to the east steeply down off the flat and into the Chalk Basin. In 2 miles, after having crossed the second (likely) dry stream channel, walk this channel downstream to several springs. Even in late summer the creek has a little water. You might have to dig in the mud and let it collect and then filter. Continue downstream for a view of the Owyhee River. Continuing downstream to the river is highly problematic because of rough terrain.
This can either be a day hike or you can camp in the basin.