Not for novice hikers! This loop hike at Oregon’s second-largest state park, two hours east of Portland, involves off-trail scrambling, descending a steep ravine, traversing angled slopes, straddling basalt boulders, and the like. Be tick-safe, rattlesnake-aware, and wind-ready. For our efforts, we’ll see bighorn sheep, windmills, and lots of John Day River geology. 

Activity Notes

One of Oregon’s great adventures takes hikers up and over Cottonwood Canyon, where you will be greeted with views of the surrounding canyonlands, farms and wind turbines. It’s a long drive from Portland but this hike is worth it. We’ll make a mostly-off trail loop up and over Gooseneck Ridge on the west slopes of Cottonwood Canyon, before returning along the Pinnacles Trail that follows the John Day River. The off-trail part of this hike is mostly easy with one difficult spot in the middle where hikers must cross a steep ravine. Expect epic views, early spring wildflowers, wildlife and few people – but also bracing winds, steep slopes and a very long day. Hike: 8.8 miles, 1,800 feet elevation gain. Drive: 240 miles round-trip.  $2 for members, $4 for non-members. Meet at Gateway Transit Center at 7:30AM.

Other Information
Driving Distance from Portland 122 miles
Driving Time from Portland 2 hours
Distance - Round Trip 8 miles
Expected Duration Car to car in one day
Interesting Features Basalt Columns, Spectacular Views
Relevant Books PDX Hiking 365