Cottonwood Canyon's Gooseneck Loop is an off-trail adventure. We will ascend from our campground to a high point with a view of windmills, and then we will follow little flags for the first part of our off-trail experience. When the flags end, we will find our own way across a very rugged landscape. We may see bighorn sheep along the way. We'll eventually end up at a fenced dirt road which we will follow to a high point above the John Day River. If conditions are very dry, we will go left down a steep grassy slope toward cottonwood trees and the Pinnacles Trail, our return route, for an 8 mile hike. If conditions are not very dry, we will go right down a steep rocky route toward the Pinnacles Trail, for a 6.5 mile hike.
This is a trip for experienced hikers. There is no shade anywhere on our route, and it's often very windy at Cottonwood Canyon. Proper footwear, trekking poles, and sun/wind protection are a must. Hazards include unstable terrain and possible ticks and rattlesnakes. I'll be wearing gaiters.
This hike is paired with Clarno's Geologic Wonders on Sunday 10/17/2021. If you wish to do one or both hikes, I encourage camping at Cottonwood Canyon State Park, where the fee is $10 per vehicle, and the sites are first-come, first-served, Friday and/or Saturday nights. Note that there is absolutely no cell service in the park.
Due to Delta, I am not listing a carpool location, but if fully vaccinated folks choose to carpool (masks highly encouraged), I will put signed-up hikers in touch with each other. All roads are paved and accessible to all vehicles, and there is no fee to park in day-use areas.
Registration is Closed