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Cottonwood Canyon State Park

23 Reviews
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Cottonwood Canyon State Park

23 Reviews
Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the date(s) you selected. Please choose a different date.
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Highway 206 between Condon and Wasco, Wasco, OR 97065
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tkinor wrote a review Feb 2020
Beaverton, Oregon26 contributions20 helpful votes
The area is somewhat remote but quite beautiful. The geology is fascinating as you walk/hike along the river. Was there on a bluebird day and grasses were still golden vs green but it was still striking. Easy enough walking/hiking (we did around 10+ miles). I plan to come back when the flowers start to bloom and hope to be fortunate enough to see bighorn sheep again (and no snakes).
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Date of experience: January 2020
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sally j wrote a review Oct 2019
Chelmsford, United Kingdom1,187 contributions135 helpful votes
This place is very pretty, the scenery is typical for the area, with hills and rivers, and mostly the trails are fairly even to walk on. Good place to visit, and its so lovely and quiet.
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Date of experience: September 2019
1 Helpful vote
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Ruth V wrote a review Aug 2019
40 contributions48 helpful votes
A little bit out of the way, but wow, what a spectacular setting for a state park, like none we have ever stayed at. We usually stay at state park cabins or yurts, and this was hands down the nicest, biggest cabin we have ever stayed in. The bathrooms/shower areas were clean and well thought out. I would come back here in a minute. We did not want to leave.
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Date of experience: August 2019
3 Helpful votes
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S S wrote a review May 2019
Aloha, Oregon4 contributions4 helpful votes
I stayed in the Cliff Swallow cabin (the one that does not allow pets) and it was beautiful inside. It did smell a little of, um, body odor but I just opened the window and aired it out a bit. When you sit on the wood bench out front, it has a wonderful view of mountains, truly amazing. The cabin next to me was rented as well and they played frisbee right on the small patch of dried grass...it was weird to see them from my window, like a couple of feet away, not much seclusion which I was looking forward to. Also, if it had been Summer, though there is A/C, there would be NO WAY I would sit outside...it is barren and exposed - would be nice if they planted some type of shade tree next to each cabin but hey, most people don't spend much time in them anyway but I did a large hike and spend more time in mine recovering than maybe normal? I also did the Pinnacle hike and it was gorgeous walking along the John Day and seeing actual cliff swallow nests. there is a sign that warns you that you must be careful of rattlesnakes and take a TON of water with you (mainly in Summer) due to sun exposure so just plan ahead....there are plenty of people on the trail so you won't die but always take more water than you think you need. Overall, I say stay here once and see if it is for you. There is absolutely NO cell service which I thought was lovely. The showers are free if you rent a cabin and they are single room showers, very nice. Bring your own sheets, the bed and couch are plasticy and you will not want to sit on them without some type of cover...I actually brought my own camping mat and just placed it on top of the bed mattress. There is a propane grill and a mini fridge; absolutely no cooking of any kind allowed indoors. You will have to park a bit away from the cabin and either walk your stuff down or use the wagon cart provided at the front of each cabin. I saw the hosts once and never saw a ranger. Never saw where you can buy firewood (no fired allowed starting July 1, I believe). Only other negative is that they are planning on putting up about 10 more cabins and they are doing construction so go now before you are all packed together tight. It sounds like a negative review and that is not my intention - it is truly spectacular but it was just a different experience, not a bad one, just different....which is good! It is always what you make of it!
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Date of experience: May 2019
1 Helpful vote
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jcravens wrote a review Sep 2018
Portland, Oregon58 contributions71 helpful votes
This is a brand new state park, established in 2013, and is now the second largest state park in Oregon, encompassing 8,000 acres (3,200 ha) (the largest is Silver Falls State Park). It has 21 primitive sites for tents and self-contained RVs (max site size is 75 feet) and a lot of space in between each. Each has a wind break for tents because of the winds - at times, especially at night, quite intense. It's open year-round. There are also seven hiker/biker camp sites next to the main campground. All sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There's pit toilets in the campground, and flush toilets up at the entrance near the old barn and small visitor's center. The campground and the hike and bike trails are on the lower John Day River - at the time we were there, it was so low one could walk across it. There are also communal bicycles and fishing poles which are FREE TO USE. There is a lot of construction going on between the barn and the campground - four cabins, a shower facility and an "experience" center are being built, but no construction happens in the evenings, on nights or on weekends. According to the park employee I spoke with, the park will not turn any camper away. If you get there and the campground is full, you can camp up around the barn in the designated area or stay in the parking lot. I LOVE this park. I love the concept, I love the high desert canyon look, I love the rustic feel, I love the amazing stars at night... there's easy access down to the John Day River and there is an easy trail around the campground along the river to the visitor's center and then another simple one on the other side of the road that heads back to the campground, passing by Sage Knob, which offers a lovely view of the area. There are words carved into the wood all around the site, telling stories of early settlers or of a tree or the age of the land or local history. The barn, the size of the camp sites, the wind breaks for tents, the big tree and bench at the start of the main hike and bike trail, the communal bikes, the river access, the scenery, the barbed wire sculptures - IT'S FANTASTIC! A great site for hiking or biking and definitely camping - but not in the summer and most definitely not without bringing a LOT of water with you when you hike or bike ride. This is high desert, and daytime temps in the summer are often over 100 - there is VERY little shade - none at all in the campground or on the trails. You also have to be prepared for the wind, especially at night. As I mentioned, there are wind breaks in each site for tents, and you absolutely need them. My impression is that campfires are usually banned because of the winds and intensely dry conditions. The warnings on the information sign can be intimidating - warning of rattlesnakes, of cougars, of puncture vines, of the need for water, of no cell phone service, of how far it is to a hospital. Looking forward to returning next year!
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Date of experience: September 2018
4 Helpful votes
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