Geological Significance · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
Need to Know
Water and toilets are only available in the day use area of Cottonwood Canyon State Park at the start of the trail. No day use fee is required, but there is a fee-required camp site at the park. There's very little shade along the trail, and it can get brutally hot during the summer months.
This easy, wide gravel/sand trail starts at the day-use parking lot just above the aptly-named Lone Tree Campground (which has very little shade available) and runs approximately 4.5 miles along the banks of the scenic John Day River. There are no other intersecting trails, and it's an out-and-back journey only.
The ostensible end goal is the pinnacles from which the trail gets its name -- an interesting, if not entirely spectacular rock formation high above the trail near its end. I say "near" the end, because there's no definite end to the trail ... it just sort of peters out eventually. Basically, once you get a good view of the pinnacles, there's not a lot of point in going much further. The canyon itself is very scenic in that Oregon high desert sort of way, so the journey has some interest.
Flora & Fauna
Elk, deer, antelope, coyotes, jackrabbits. Northern harrier, Swainson's hawk, rough-legged hawk, red-tailed hawk, prairie falcon, merlin, American kestrel, golden eagle, bald eagle. Rattlesnakes, other snakes, lizards, frogs.
Wildflowers generally bloom in May/early June. Balsam roots and monkey flowers in early May. Sagebrush blooms in October.
Shared By: Cameron Booth