Sutton Mountain Campout

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Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

With 10,000 acres of undulating terrain, secluded canyons and spectacular vantages of the John Day Country, Spring Basin is magnificent to explore This public treasure, forever protected as Wilderness, offers a profusion of desert wildflowers in the spring and year-round recreational opportunities for hikers, horseback

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Cottonwood Canyon Riparian Soundscape

Cottonwood Canyon Riparian Soundscape




Bitteroot blooms on north-facing cliffs in western North America.

The Paiute name for bitteroot is kangedya. Traditional Native American uses of the plant included eating the roots, mixed with berries and meat, and using the roots to treat sore throats.


Organizer: Renee Patrick

Start Date: 5/29/2020

End Date: 5/31/2020

Region: John Day River Basin

Difficulty Rating: 1 out of 5

Maximum Group Size: 15 participants

Trip full; accepting waitlist participants

About the place

The ruggedly beautiful John Day River Basin inspires adventure with its mountainous terrain, steep river canyons, and room to roam.

At 4,700 feet tall, Sutton Mountain towers over the surrounding landscape, including the iconic Painted Hills National Monument. Sutton Mountain is home to bountiful wildflowers in the spring and vibrant herds of pronghorn, elk, and mule deer. Here solitude is as easy to come by as is a breathtaking vista. The recreational opportunities in this area will suit adventurous thrill-seekers and mellow nature enthusiasts alike.

About the stewardship work

For the stewardship component of this trip, we will be joined by members of local communities to participate in a half-day clean-up in the area. This trip is a great introduction to ONDA and the John Day River basin; those new to ONDA or the area are invited to attend.

Mark Darnell

Trip timeline

  • Friday, May 29, 5-7 p.m.: We will meet at a primitive car-camping location along Bridge Creek, near the Painted Hills National Monument and Sutton Mountain.
  • Saturday, May 30: After breakfast, volunteers will learn about conservation priorities in the area and how to experience these places responsibly. We will spend a half-day on a clean-up project along the John Day River with members of the local community, and return to camp to enjoy a well-deserved beverage and dinner around the campfire.
  • Sunday, May 31: After breakfast, we will break up into several hiking groups for outings of varying lengths,  abilities, and skill levels. Some hike participants will be recording data for use in creating better hiking/responsible recreation resources for the area. Depending on which hike you choose, participants can plan to be done by late morning, mid afternoon, or late afternoon.


We will be car-camping at primitive camping spot along Bridge Creek. There is no running water, so please bring enough water to meet your needs during the weekend. ONDA will provide a couple of portable toilets for group use.


Level 1

This trip will require volunteers to pick up trash for an afternoon, and hike their choice of routes ranging from 1 – 8 miles.

Participant responsibilities

Participants are responsible for their own food and camping gear as well as transportation to and from the trip (don’t forget your camp chair!). ONDA will bring some water, but it is a good idea to bring enough water to meet your needs during the weekend. Hiking shoes and comfortable hiking clothes are recommended, and participants should be prepared to be away from camp for half a day on Saturday, and for the duration of a hike on Sunday, and bring a day pack for snacks, water, and extra layers.

Gear provided

ONDA will provide work gloves, sunscreen, and garbage bags for the river clean-up. We will bring some group camping equipment (shade tent, tables for cooking, wash bins for kitchen cleanup, portable toilets), some potable water, expert leadership, and we can talk about hiking, camping, boating, and exploring in the area.


An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this trip.

Add your name to the waitlist

You only need to fill this form out once per year and can join additional trips this year by emailing the trip leader directly. You will receive a confirmation email within 10 working days of submitting your form. The confirmation email will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the “wait list.”

Six weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs, open spaces will be backfilled with people from the waitlist.

Three weeks before the trip start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive driving instructions, maps, carpooling options, and additional information in an email sent by the trip leader

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact the trip leader.