Lower Crooked River

Take a day trip in the Crooked River’s National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Chimney RockMain Street turns into State Highway 27, also known as the Crooked River Highway, as you travel south of Prineville. The highway will take you through farmlands before entering a rugged, gray and red columnar basalt-lined canyon. The BLM maintains a number of premier campsites for day use and for camping. The lower Crooked River Recreation Area is below Bowman Dam and the Prineville Reservoir, and is a river nationally known for its rainbow trout fly fishing.

The Crooked River has an extensive drainage that covers much of the interior of Crook County. The North Fork heads near Summit Prairie and the South Fork heads near the G.I. Ranch. Peter Skene Ogden and a group of Hudson Bay trappers in search of beaver were among the first white men to explore the river in 1825. The Crooked River was named for its meandering nature. It is a tributary of the Deschutes River, joining that river at the current-day Lake Billy Chinook. Prior to the construction of the Bowman Dam, the river would often flood the town of Prineville.

Note: There are no services, gas or food on the Crooked River Highway. The only site with water is Chimney Rock. Beware of deer at dawn and dusk.

For more information on Campsites along the river follow this link: crookedriver_brochure_

Rattlesnakes – Avoid rattlesnakes by keeping out of grassy or brushy areas. If you do see a snake, back up slowly and walk in the opposite direction. Do not harm or kill it.
Raptors – Raptors are carnivores (meat-eaters) and as a group, they have impressive abilities. These birds of prey include hawks, eagles, owls, and falcons. Raptor is a Latin word meaning “one who seizes by force” and all raptors have locking tendons in their talons. The great horned owl can see 80 times better at night than a human. A peregrine falcon can reach diving speeds of 220 mph. Bald eagles have been known to drown because they locked onto a fish too big for them to lift. Watch for eagles and hawks flying above the canyons.
Swallows – If you are fishing the river, watch the swallows. When they feed by skimming the surface of the river, it is time to start fishing with a dry fly!

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