A Beautiful Spring Hike in Cottonwood Canyon

The pungent smell of sagebrush brought a smile to my face, and conjured up many memories of my youth.

Cottonwood Canyon sits in a deep canyon of the John Day River, one of our nation’s longest free-flowing rivers.

The park has 8,000-plus acres for hiking, fishing and exploring the interesting landscape.

The Pinnacles Trail follows the west side of the John Day River downstream for approximately 4 1/2 miles.

The wildflowers, butterflies and the ever-changing lighting on the tall, basalt cliffs kept me entertained for the the four-hour outing.

A great place to visit. I will return soon.

Sara’s Orangetip Butterfly

Yellow wildflowers brightening the canyon walls

The trail, an old ranch road, cut out of the canyon walls

Morning Cloak Butterfly


Mt. Adams on return trip from hike

Echo Azure Butterfly

Biscuit Root

John Day River

Game trail heading up into the upper cliffs

Giant windmills, a ubiquitous site on the return trip from the hike

Sheridan’s Green Haristreak Butterfly (thanks for the ID Caitlin)





Categories: Eastern Oregon OutingsTags: , ,


  1. A breathtaking hike through Cottonwood Canyon, John. I appreciate your meticulous work on identification (it can be daunting), and your photos are such a pleasure. I loved this spring bonanza.

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