Pets allowed
Trail type
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.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


1,250-foot deep scenic canyon. Wildlife viewing.


Summer heat and lack of shade.


Bird watching
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Geologically significant
Big Game Watching


Nearby Adventures

John Day + Blue Mountains Area, Oregon
John Day + Blue Mountains Area, Oregon
Columbia River Gorge, Washington

Nearby Lodging + Camping


Mountain sheep on the John Day River
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