Save
You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge
Oregon
26

Oregon State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Oregon
Central & Eastern Region
Cottonwood Canyon State Park
start slideshow
Cottonwood Canyon State Park © daveynin / CC BY 2.0
Cottonwood Canyon State Park © daveynin / CC BY 2.0
Cottonwood Canyon State Park © daveynin / CC BY 2.0
Cottonwood Canyon State Park © daveynin / CC BY 2.0
Search
Availability
Calendars
Availability Search
COTTONWOOD CANYON STATE PARK
COTTONWOOD CANYON STATE PARK
near The Dalles
Wasco, Oregon   97065
(lat:45.4576 lon:-120.4181) map location

Phone: 800-551-6949
Cottonwood Canyon State Park is rugged and vast, from the vertical cliffs carved by the John Day River to deep side canyons and arid, rocky grasslands that extend for miles in all directions. The parks 8,000-plus acres are open for exploring, stargazing and contemplating the elemental forces that carved this unique landscape.

The iconic John Day River is a long, remote, natural river system, with 252 free-flowing miles. The lower John Day River offers one of the best spring and fall wild steelhead runs in Northeast Oregon. Anglers also come for catfish and smallmouth bass. J.S. Burres, across the river, is a popular boat launch for rafts, kayaks, canoes and drift boats.

The park is also open to hunting outside the developed area. It is the responsibility of the hunter to stay current on regulations.
Nature of the Area
Visitors may see Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, white-tailed jackrabbit, big horn sheep, and all manner of smaller mammals. Both migratory and resident bird populations are a treat, especially for raptor lovers. The rocky landscape also invites reptiles, including at least six species of lizards, western rattlesnakes and various nonvenomous snakes. April and May put on a show of wildflowers.
History of the Area
Located in the eastern part of Oregon, this natural reserve was established as a state park in 2013. It is named after Cottonwood Canyon, which runs through it and covers an area of approximately 8000 acres making it one of the largest parks within Oregon's borders.

The land that now constitutes the park has been inhabited for thousands of years by Native American tribes such as Wasco and Northern Paiute before European settlers arrived. The canyon itself got its name from early pioneers who noticed large cottonwood trees growing along its banks.

In more recent history, prior to becoming a protected site under management by Oregon Parks & Recreation Department (OPRD), much of this region served agricultural purposes with cattle grazing being predominant activity on these lands since late nineteenth century till mid-twentieth century when farming became prevalent due to irrigation projects initiated during Great Depression era.

It wasn't until beginning twenty-first century that OPRD started acquiring parcels here aiming at conservation efforts while providing recreational opportunities like hiking or fishing for public use. In total around $7 million were spent over decade-long period buying up properties from willing sellers including ranchers whose families had owned them generations back thus ensuring their preservation into future too.
Camping
The Lone Tree Campground sits near the John Day River and offers a primitive camping experience with potable water and vault toilets nearby ADA showers and flush toilets are within walking distance.

Backcountry camping is allowed on a hike-in basisno dispersed vehicle camping is permitted. This includes the BLM land surrounding the park and Starvation Lane, which are managed by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Those looking to backpack may park at any trailhead, and must hike a minimum 1 mile before setting up camp. Please be sure to contact park staff with any questions relating to your trip.


Location
Cottonwood Canyon State Park is
Nearby Parks

Trails
The Pinnacles Trail and the Lost Corral Trail, each 4.3 miles one way, follow either side of the John Day River downstream. The Lost Corral Trail, leaving from JS Burres, is open to both hikers, bikers and equestrians. The Pinnacles Trail, leaving from the end of the campground, is open to bikers and hikers.

Upstream, the Hard Stone Trail is open to foot traffic only. Or, you can strike out on your own along old, unmaintained ranching roads that lead into the back country. The J.S. Burres day-use area is a popular boat launch for rafts, kayaks, canoes and drift boats.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
write a review
Share On

Nearby Hotels
Booking.com

Directions
1. Start by heading east on I:84 E towards The Dalles.
2. Continue driving for approximately 100 miles until you reach Exit 97 for US:197 S toward Dufur/Bend.
3. Take this exit and merge onto US:197 S.
4. Follow US:197 S for about 40 miles until you arrive at Maupin.
5. In Maupin, turn left onto Bakeoven Rd/US Forest Service Road 48 (signs will indicate Cottonwood Canyon State Park).
6. Continue on Bakeoven Rd/USFSR48 for around 30 miles as it winds through scenic landscapes alongside the river.
Nearby Parks

state route ranger badge
Oregon
26

Oregon State Parks

X