Hike Cottonwood Canyons Pinnacle Trail

Cottonwood Canyon Visitor Center

Cottonwood Canyon State Park and the Pinnacles Trail offers scenic views and glimpses of wildlife along the John Day River.

Starting near the entrance to the fee-free Cottonwood Canyon State Park, which is one of Oregon's newest state Parks, find the large sign for the start of the Pinnacles Trail.  This park was formerly a ranch, and this largely flat trail runs along an erstwhile ranch road that follows the John Day River. Undulating 4.3 miles into the canyon, you may catch glimpses of wildlife like elk, big horn sheep, and deer.  The trail gets it's name from the rock formations etched into the basalt cliffs, and the many spots along the route make for excellent photos.  Keep an eye underfoot too, as rattlesnakes make their home in this area.

Be sure to bring adequate water on this hike. There is little shade along this trail which can by very dry and dusty. 

Pack List

  • Water
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Camera
  • 10 Essentials
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RT Distance 8.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 50 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Easy Trail With Beautiful Views

I’m traveling with my dog and we camped here out of our truck for one night. We did this trail the next morning. The smell of sage was perfectly pungent. Like wow!!! The trail was a mix of gravel and grass and was super easy to navigate and hike; very relaxing. I really enjoyed the huge rock formations and the beautiful sounds and color of the river. So many photo opportunities!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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