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  • Writer's pictureScott Nechemias

The Columbia Plateau Route

Updated: Apr 18, 2021

The Columbia Plateau Route is a route in progress, I expect to thru the first section of the route from Cottonwood Canyon State Park to Mitchell Oregon in early spring 2021.

The Cottonwood to Mitchell section of the route will closely follow the John Day River for approximately 110 miles, and will be about 60 percent cross country, 30 percent jeep road, and 10 percent trail. Crossing five Wilderness Study Areas and Oregon's newest Wilderness Designation, with views of the Painted Hills National Monument, the completed route will take a hiker on a journey through some of the finest high desert hiking not only in Oregon but in the world.

Over the past decade the conservation work of groups like Oregon Natural Desert Association and the Western Rivers Conservancy has made an overland trek like this possible, previously there simply wasn't enough contiguous public land to traverse.

Eventually the route, which runs parallel to the Pacific Crest Trail, will cross the Western Ochoco Forest and connect to the Oregon Desert Trail or the Redmond / Bend area, allowing an adventurous southbound hiker an early season alternative to the snowbound Cascade Range. Upon completion of the first section of the route I'll publish maps and a guide online for those wishing to try their hands, and feet, at this trip.

Click thru the pictures below to see a sampling of what you'll find hiking along the John Day River Country

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