Lonesome Lakes Wilderness (Proposed)
Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. pp. 123-124.
The wild does not reach out and grab you, but is nonetheless there for the taking.
Location:Lake County, 15 miles south of Hampton
Size: 168 square miles (107,468 acres)
Terrain: Gently rolling hills and rims
Elevation Range: 4,562-5,238 feet
Managing Agency:Lakeview District BLM
Agency Wilderness Status: None
Recreation Map: Northwest and Northeast Quarters, North Half Lakeview Resource Area, Lakeview District BLM
The area is typical of much of the Oregon Desert: a mix of sagebrush steppe and western juniper cover. The latter forms at the higher elevations in full cover, or in lower-elevation narrow bands where just enough moisture gathers.
The countless ephemeral lakes are used by Canada geese and many species of waterfowl. Remarkably, only a small fraction of these lakes have had a cattle pond bulldozed in their lowest spot.
Mule deer are present in good numbers. Pronghorn can be found here as well. Prairie falcon have been spotted.
Rocky Mountain elk are increasing in the area, a recent and not yet fully ex- plained phenomenon. According to Oregon Geographic Names, Elk Butte received its name from local settlers in the 1890s who tracked a "lone" and "stray" elk to what they called Elk Butte.
BLM did not designate the area as a wilderness study area, marking it down for lack of solitude. Few people visit here, and none complain of crowding.
In the end, what is or is not "wilderness" is a subjective determination made by each person. Lonesome Lakes has no towering cliffs, no raging rivers, no snow-capped peaks, and no painted hills. Yet, it is wild and inviting. Go see for yourself.