58. Cottonwood Creek (Cottonwood Unit)
Suggested Citation: Kerr, Andy. 2000. Oregon Desert Guide: 70 Hikes. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. p. 217.
What to Expect: Wide-bottomed meandering river canyon
Distance: 13.2 miles round trip
Elevation Range: 3,360-3,680 feet
Drinking Water: Yes
Best Times: Spring, summer, fall
USGS 7.5' Maps: Alder Creek, Tims Peak
Oregon Map Starting Point: Harper Junction (just south of Harper on US 26)
A four-wheel-drive or high-clearance vehicle is nice, but not usually required. Take the county road southerly from Harper Junction (yes, in the Harper Valley; whether they have a PTA is unknown) approximately 10 miles to an intersection with an unimproved road that heads up Cottonwood Creek (often dry here). A huge old cottonwood marks the spot. Drive southwesterly 3 miles to an intersection. Drive southerly about 1 mile and park (Tims Peak quad).
Hike 1.5 miles southwesterly to the end of the unimproved "road." You can continue up Cottonwood Creek Canyon southwesterly 4.8 miles to near the confluence with Alder Creek (Alder Creek quad). This is best done as a 1- or 2-night backpack.