500 feet elevation gain
Open April to December
Use: hikers, horses
The Blue Mountains’ 1860s gold rush ended long ago, but a few miners still work their claims in the spectacular canyonlands where Granite Creek and the North Fork John Day River collide. Footbridges allow the trail to cross from one side to another of the cliff-edged canyon, passing huckleberry patches and old-growth ponderosa pines. To tour the area on a easy loop, hike an upper trail into the heart of the North Fork John Day Wilderness and return on an old mining road past the miners’ rustic cabins. Angling is banned in Granite Creek.
To drive here ...
On this route you’ll pass cobble wastelands where a gold mining dredge once churned up the creek. Pits in the hillside were washed out by high-powered hydraulic hoses to find more gold. Little treasure remains for the modern miners whose shacks you’ll see. Stay on the road, because trespassing and unauthorized gold panning are not allowed on these private claims.
For a longer trip, continue ...
This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon.