Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,810.00 ft (551.69 m)
Trail type
27.60 mi (44.42 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Denio to Windy Pass journey is an expansive 27.6-mile trek that offers an authentic adventure through the heart of Oregon's high desert, east of Denio. This out-and-back route leads adventurers across the Pueblo Valley, a serene landscape where the rustic beauty of sagebrush and juniper dominates the terrain. Following the contours of Cottonwood Creek Road, the trail unwinds through a mix of dirt paths and primitive two-track roads, eventually reaching the captivating expanse of the Red Mountain Wilderness Study Area.

This wilderness area serves as a vital refuge for an array of desert wildlife, including deer and antelope. Its immense scale, combined with the diverse and rugged landscape of Red Mountain, numerous ridges, and a complex drainage system, creates a natural setting of unparalleled solitude and beauty. Here, the wilderness beckons adventurers to dive deep into the quietude of nature, far removed from the traces of human impact.

As the trail approaches Windy Pass, hikers are enveloped in the stark, breathtaking scenery characteristic of the high desert. This segment of the journey requires meticulous planning and preparation. Hikers must be equipped with sufficient water, food, and navigation aids to navigate the challenging, open expanses adorned with hardy desert flora.

The aptly named Windy Pass introduces an additional element of challenge, presenting strong and continuous winds that test the resilience of even the most seasoned hikers. However, the effort to traverse this section is immensely rewarding, offering spectacular, panoramic views of the valley and distant mountain ranges that rise majestically against the horizon.

Considerations for Hikers:

Leave No Trace: It's imperative to practice Leave No Trace principles to ensure the preservation of this pristine desert and mountain landscape for future explorers. The untouched beauty of this area is a shared treasure that requires our collective respect and care.

Weather Preparedness: The high desert is known for its dramatic temperature shifts between day and night, along with sudden weather changes. Hikers should closely monitor weather forecasts and prepare accordingly to ensure safety and comfort on the trail.

Water and Shade: With minimal to no shade available along the route, it's essential to plan for sun exposure and hydration needs. Carrying adequate water is crucial, as sources are scarce in this remote desert landscape.

Embarking on the Denio to Windy Pass trail is more than just a hike; it's an expedition into the raw and unbridled spirit of the natural world. This journey invites a deep connection with the land, offering a profound sense of peace, challenge, and awe that only the vast wilderness can provide.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round





Solitude. Desert landscapes. Scenic mountains.


Little shade and little to no water.

Trailhead Elevation

4,226.00 ft (1,288.08 m)

Highest point

5,643.00 ft (1,719.99 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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