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Black Canyon Trail - No. 820

Contact Info
Ochoco National Forest
7803 Beaver Creek Road
Paulina, OR 97751

Phone:
541-477-6900
Basics
Length:
11.7 miles
Difficulty:
Difficult
Time:
9 - 11 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
2850 feet
Elevation Range:
2850 feet to 6350 feet
Elevation Change:
3500 feet
Season:
Summer to Fall

Description

This scenic trail follows parallel to Owl Creek and Black Canyon Creek for the length of the wilderness, descending from near the summit of Wolf Mountain to the South Fork of the John Day River. The generally moderate trail gradient passes through a diverse mosaic of open ponderosa pine forest, dense mixed conifer forest, small meadows, shrubby streamsides, and open grassy slopes, ending in a narrow canyon between basalt cliffs. Trail No. 820 connects with all other developed trails in the wilderness, although some trail junctions are not marked. Undeveloped trailside campsites are most suitable for small groups. Some parties can make a one-way through trip in a single day by shuttling vehicles, but less ambitious day trips are generally more relaxing.

There are no bridges at stream crossings. Numerous wet fords of Black Canyon Creek are required, especially on the easternmost three miles of trail and at the trailhead crossing of the South Fork of the John Day River. River crossing in spring high water conditions can be extremely hazardous, and should not be attempted. Travel cautiously, and be alert for close encounters with rattlesnakes, black bear, mountain lions, and other wildlife – especially in dense vegetation. Trail is maintained every year to primitive standards.

Details

Length:
11.7 miles
Difficulty:
Difficult
Time:
9 - 11 hours
Trailhead Elevation:
2850
Elevation Range:
2850 feet to 6350
Elevation Change:
3500
Season:
Summer to Fall

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

Dusty Camp Trailhead is at the west end of Trail #820. From Paulina, travel 11 miles toward Rager Ranger Station to Forest Road #58. Follow FR #58 11 miles through Rager Ranger Station to FR #5840, then 6 miles on FR #5840 to Mud Spring Campground. Continue on FR #5840 an additional 3.7 miles to Dusty Camp Trailhead. Trailhead is signed. There is a small, unimproved parking area and one unimproved campsite located near the trailhead. Forest Road #5840 beyond Mud Spring Campground is unsuitable for two-wheel drive vehicles when wet, and is not recommended for low clearance vehicles or trailers at any time.

South Fork Trailhead is at the east end of Trail #820. Travel US Highway 26 to Dayville. Turn south on Grant Co. Road 42. Approximately 9 miles out of Dayville, Grant Co. Road 42 takes a right fork to a dead end. Take the left fork onto the South Fork Road for an additional 3 miles to the South Fork Trailhead. The South Fork Road continues to Forest Road #58 and Rager Ranger Station, and to Grant Co Highway 67 west of Izee. Trailhead is signed and marked by an information board/trail register. There is a small, developed parking area. Two small, unimproved campsites are located near the trailhead.

Trail #820 may also be accessed from Boeing Field Trailhead on Forest Road #5810 via Trail #820A.< The better standard road to Trail #820A is more suitable for use by low clearance vehicles.


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