Just above the banks of the Wild and Scenic John Day River, the Pinnacles Trail hugs the river’s edge for 4.3 miles as it meanders east.
As the trail departs from Cottonwood Canyon State Park's Lone Pine Campground you will get an up-close look at the Columbia River basalt that flowed throughout the region some 10-15 million years ago. The river has slowly eroded this landscape over time, exposing countless lava flows and the composition of their geometric columnar forms.
Be sure to keep and eye out for rattlesnakes as you pass this step grassland full of tall sagebrush, and watch the canyon’s slopes as well, as the area is home to one of the largest herds of California bighorn sheep anywhere in Oregon. Cottonwood Canyon State Park is also home to bald eagles, coyotes, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and the occasional Rocky Mountain elk.