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John Day River, Pinnacles Trail

John Day + Blue Mountains Area,

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John Day River, Pinnacles Trail

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  • The Pinnacles Trail along the John Day River.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • Tall sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata).- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • The Pinnacles Trail, an old road from the Murtha Ranch.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • Cottonwood Canyon State Park along the Pinnacles Trail.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • The John Day River in Cottonwood Canyon State Park.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • The John Day River in Cottonwood Canyon State Park.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • An old cow skull along the Pinnacles Trail.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • The Pinnacles Trail, an old road from the Murtha Ranch.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • Columbia River basalt along the Pinnacles Trail.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • The John Day River in Cottonwood Canyon State Park.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • The Pinnacles Trail, an old road from the Murtha Ranch.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • Pourous igneous rock along the Pinnacles Trail.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • Morning glory (Calystegia).- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • Morning glory (Calystegia).- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • Morning glory (Calystegia).- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • Looking back at the Murtha Ranch from the Pinnacles Trail.- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
  • Gray rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus).- John Day River, Pinnacles Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
1,250-foot deep scenic canyon. Wildlife viewing.
Cons: 
Summer heat and lack of shade.
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Region:
John Day + Blue Mountains Area,
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

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.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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Who's Done It
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