Painted Canyon Loop Trail

HARD 1 reviews

Painted Canyon Loop Trail is a 9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Jordan Valley, Oregon that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

DISTANCE
9.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,200 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

views

wildlife

no shade

no dogs

hiking
2 months ago

This hike is challenging, yet rewarding. The Owyhee Wilderness website claims it is the best hike in the Owyhees, but I think Leslie & Juniper Gulches are slightly better and much easier to get to. Serious hikers will probably like Painted Canyon more.
A couple disclaimers:
-Do not bring children or pets on this hike. There are a few sections where you will have to lower yourself down and climb rocks that are several feet tall with poor handholds. There was one point where it was easier for me to climb the steep, loose dirt hillside and traverse across rather than climb and risk falling.
-Do not attempt to drive to the trailhead from Camp Kettle Creek Road unless you drive a high clearance AWD vehicle. I drive a 2010 Forester and had to go 10mph for much of it. The approach from the south is much easier, but still requires a vehicle with medium clearance.
-I would not recommend hiking this from June to August. Today (May 18th) was only about 70 degrees out but in the direct sunlight, it felt much hotter. There is little shade in the afternoon. Bring water and electrolytes.
-In most places, this is not a trail. It is a collection of deer paths, creek beds, and overland hiking. Wear pants so the sagebrush doesn't scratch your legs. Wear sturdy hiking shoes. Poles aren't necessary.
-There is an abundance of reptiles out there. Tread carefully and watch for rattlesnakes.

With that being said, this is a very beautiful hike. You'll feel like you're alone in the wilderness. The colors in the canyon are amazing - some of the rocks are even blue and purple! I haven't uploaded my photos yet, but I can't wait to look through all of them. This is a truly hidden gem only two hours from Boise.