Cottonwood Canyon/JS Burres State Parks

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Whyte Park Rest Area (Rock Creek Crossing)

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Rock Creek (north) from Olex

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Hwy 206 Mountain Overlook

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Olex/Hwy. 19

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Condon to Olex via Wolf Hollow and Upper Rock Cr. Roads

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From eastbound (can do westbound as well) I-84, take the Biggs Junction, at the top of the exit turn right onto Hwy. 97 heading south. Drive approx. 9 miles and turn left to Wasco. In town, you will see the sign for Hwy. 206 to Cottonwood Canyon State Park/Condon. Turn left and follow Hwy 206 for approx. 15 miles to the parks.  After you cross the John Day River into Gilliam County, turn left into the JS Burres State Park, a boat launch area with restrooms and the trailhead for the Lost Corral hike, a 10 mile out and back north along the river.


Habitat and Birds

With the mix of riparian, sagebrush and canyon habitats, there is potential for a good variety of species. Look in the willows along river for Yellow-breasted Chat and Lazuli Bunting. Common Poorwill can be heard in this region at night.Canyon Wren, Rock Wren, sparrows, White-ThroatedSwifts, Say’s Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Ash-Throated Flycatcher. There are sightings of Golden Eagles and Prairie Falcon. Along the river there are Spotted Sandpipers, Belted Kingfishers, ducks and geese. There is a record of an American Dipper from this location which is a very good county bird. There is a nesting location of Western-Screech Owl in the area. Townsend’s Solitaires, Hermit Thrush and Varied Thrush can be found from late fall to early spring. There is potential for some species of flycatchers here as well. Worth birding in Spring/Fall for migrants. For those wanting to get a hike in while birding, there is the Lost Corral trail that follows the John Day river north for 10 miles before dead ending. This hike will give one great views of the Bighorn sheep that graze along the hillsides of the canyon.