From the trailhead, hike north cross-country for 0.4 miles until you intersect a trail. Follow the trail right to Spring Basin Canyon. At the next junction, turn right toward the canyon bottom. Follow the trail as it eventually loops back around west and it will intersect Clarno Road as the John Day River comes into view.
For an additional challenge (9 miles round-trip):
Turn left at the junction for Spring Basin Canyon to ascend a ridge to Horse Mountain. After gorgeous views from the remote peak, zigzag down into Hay Bottom Canyon and reconnect with a trail that ends at a southern border of the wilderness area. From there, follow the boundary westward until the John Day River comes into view and you meet Clarno Road. Head north to the car.