Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep in Cottonwood Canyon

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John Day River

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 changing light on the tall, basalt cliffs kept me entertained for the four-hour outing. And, to add icing to the cake, I came upon a small herd of bighorn sheep.

A great place to visit.

Bighorn Sheep (masters of camouflage)

John Day River

Canyon Wren

Beginning of the Pinnacle Trail

Canada Geese

Tracks of a large (full curl?) Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ram (notice the deep dewclaws and spread out hooves)

High basalt cliffs above the trail (Bighorn Sheep country)

I’ve been spotted

Pinnacle Trail (an old ranch road) carved out of the cliffs

John Day River after the storm clouds moved in






Categories: Eastern Oregon OutingsTags: , ,


  1. These are beautiful, John. I love them all but the river with the majestic mountains, the cliff trail, and the “I’ve been spotted” are my favs. I can see myself hiking that trail. I can feel the wanderlust. 🙂

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