Lambert Rocks Trail

Hike Rating: Easy
Hike Length: 7.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation Loss: 650’
Trailhead Elevation: 3,680’
Best Season: September, when days are cooler
Driving Access: High-clearance vehicle

Plus Points
• Rare hiking access to the scenic Owyhee River on an historical military wagon road
• The hiking route and river corridor are all within a BLM Wilderness Study Area
• Lambert Rocks is a vast pahoehoe lava field, with interesting pressure ridges and domes
• Flowing through the lava field is Bogus Creek, lined with cattails, sedges and sunflowers
• Hike passes the historical Bogus Ranch (private), base for horse rustlers in early 1900s
• Scenic basalt cliffs tower over the cool waters of the Owyhee River at hike's end

Minus Points
• No trees and little shade on this hike, so it’s best to start in early AM on hot days
• Long, hour-and-a-half drive to the trailhead for high-clearance vehicles only
• Rattlesnakes are a possibility throughout the summer, so caution is advised

Download (PDF, 554 KB): Photos of Lambert Rocks Trail
Download (PDF, 646 KB): Topo Map for Lambert Rocks Trail
Download (PDF, 520 KB): Road Map for Lambert Rocks Trail

Trail Notes
Map of Lambert Rocks Trail
From the trailhead on a high peninsula between Bogus Creek and the Owyhee canyon, the hike follows the road northwest as it dives steeply off the hillside. Within 0.2 miles, on a big switchback at the bottom of the hill, one has views up Bogus Creek to the cabins and stone corrals of the historical Bogus Ranch (private). According to the owners, this ranch was notorious in the early 1900s as a base for horse rustlers.

The route then follows the road back west for a few hundred yards, where it's joined by the old military wagon road coming up the hill from the north. Turn onto this old wagon road and follow it north downhill through the sage-covered lava fields, along the west side of Bogus Creek. Look for sage grouse in open flats within the lava fields. At about the 1.4 mile point, the wagon road crosses Bogus Creek, which is a 50'-wide boggy marsh of sedges and sunflowers. Hikers have no choice but to get their feet wet.

From the Bogus Creek crossing, the wagon road skirts along the northeast side of the lava field, through dry open grasslands, for about 2.2 miles down to the Owyhee River. Look for northern harriers on these dry uplands. Also in this section are fascinating lava pressure ridges and domes created as the lava flow cooled. For the last half mile to the river, the road drops steeply into the canyon, crossing through a wire gate at a fence line. At river's edge, one can find shade beside a few giant boulders, solitude and the opportunity for a cool swim in the placid, 150’-wide stream. Return as you came.

Road to Trailhead
When it's dry and hard, the 19-mile road to the trailhead is not overly difficult for a high-clearance vehicle — but the route is a long slow one, taking about an hour and a half from Hwy 95. The first 3 miles is on a paved road to the small hamlet of Arock. The route then follows the good gravel Bogus Ranch Road northwest for about 4.5 miles, where it ends at unlocked, double steel gates in a ranch corral.

For the next 11.5 miles past these gates, the Bogus Ranch Road becomes a rarely-graded, rutted and rocky track that requires a lot of patience. Adding to the challenge are several 100-yard-long stretches of powdery white volcanic ash in the road, about a foot deep, which one needs to plow through. There's not much danger of getting stuck here, as the road has a hard base below the powder, but one has to keep up the vehicle's speed to avoid getting bogged down.

In the last 4 miles, one encounters a couple of wire gates (leave them as you find them) and several dirt roads branching off north and south. It's not difficult to stay on the route to the trailhead though, as it's always the road trending northwest and always the most well-traveled road. After about 19 miles, one comes to a high narrow peninsula of land between Bogus Creek on the east and the Owyhee River canyon on the west. Park on the top of this peninsula and DON’T try to drive any further downhill. The road ahead is narrow, crazy steep and passable by ATVs only.

Camping Options
The nearest developed campground is the Rome Launch Campground, managed by the BLM. It's located just off Hwy 95, a half mile east and across the river from the Rome store and about 25 driving miles from the trailhead. It has 6 free camp sites at the edge of a gravel parking area on a terrace above the Owyhee River. There are a few spindly cottonwood trees here for shade and each site has a picnic table and fire ring. The campground offers two vault toilets and drinking water, but no trash pickup. Though used primarily by rafters in the spring, it is open year-round for desert travelers.

The next nearest developed campground is the Antelope Reservoir Recreation Site, also managed by the BLM. It's located just south off Hwy 95, about 21 miles east of the Rome store and about 34 driving miles from the trailhead. There are 4 free sites here on a bench above the west shore of the reservoir, each with a picnic table and fire ring. The campground has a vault toilet, but no drinking water or trash pickup. This campground is situated in a broad, sagebrush-covered basin, with no tree cover, but with wide views of the surrounding arid landscape. Waterfowl, shorebirds and pelicans visit the reservoir, but water levels fluctuate with the seasons and it sometimes dries up completely.

Agency Contact: Vale BLM District, (541) 473-3144

DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, but the authors do not guarantee that it is either current or correct. The reader assumes full responsibility for any use of this information, and is encouraged to contact local federal land agencies to inquire about current conditions before traveling.

Page last updated: 1/17/13