What to Do at Cottonwood?

With over 10,000 acres of publicly managed land, there is something for everyone at Cottonwood Canyon! From the weekend warrior to the avid outdoorsman, opportunity calls.

Some common activities at Cottonwood include…


Hunting is allowed at Cottonwood Canyon outside of developed areas and in accordance with ODFW regulations. Walk out a mile from the campground and you will be greeted by healthy populations of Chukar, Pheasant, Duck, Deer and Elk. Nothing beats a cool, crisp morning in the back-country with a favorite hunting dog!


Fishing opportunities are available year-round. From summer Smallmouth bass, winter steel-head, to huge catfish – any angler will be pleased.

Smallmouth fishing is best from June – September when the water temperatures rise and the bugs hatch; it’s a game figuring out what they won’t bite!

Steelhead on the John Day are almost entirely native; but the fight is one to remember. Typically the bite is on from November through March of each year. Let a fly wet the water and see what happens.

Be sure to check ODFW fishing regulations before heading out.


With over 15 miles of maintained trail, and countless miles of old jeep/cattle roads, you can hike to your hearts content. Be sure to get a park map and sign in at any trailhead. Always remember to carry plenty of water, and know before you go.


Cottonwood offers many opportunities for camping. The Lone Tree Campground offers 21 primitive camping spaces, 4 rustic cabins, 1 group camp, and a number of walk in spaces. Perfect for a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


With a valid boaters permit from the BLM, boaters are given the opportunity to see the park from another perspective. From a 4 night 5 day float from Clarno to Cottonwood bridge, to a 5 hour float from one end of the park to the other; life on the river is fine.

Horseback Riding

Horses are allowed on the Lost Corral trail, beginning from the J.S. Burres parking area. This trail opens up to miles of trail. Overnight camping is available in the back country, or visitors can venture to nearby Moro, Oregon for overnight stall rental at the fairgrounds.

Star Gazing

Those who call Montana “Big Sky Country” obviously haven’t been to Cottonwood Canyon. Situated away from the lights of the city, the stars here are something to be seen. Park fixtures and facilities are affixed with low lumen directional lights to help keep the park dark. On clear nights, the Milky Way is readily visible.

Nature Watching

It wouldn’t be a park without nature, and we have plenty of it! From Cliff Swallows to Deer, Bighorn Sheep to Rattlesnakes and Golden Eagles; nature abounds. Come during the spring when the hills turn green and wildflowers bloom for a real desert treat.

We are always looking to help visitors enjoy this unique and special place. Questions, concerns or comments? Let us know! We are here to serve.