let's get one thing straight
A short, kid-friendly, lightly-trafficked scenic hike with views of the Crooked River and the interesting geology of the canyon.
Rattlesnakes can be a problem along this trail, so keep a short leash on your dog and an eye on your kids. There are also a couple brief sections with moderate exposure that could end in an unfortunate (but short) fall if you trip on a rock.
The Hike (described in a counter-clockwise direction)
Starting near the Crooked River Ranch RV Park, the trail quickly begins a descent into the canyon. Gentle switchbacks lead you closer and closer to the river. Across the canyon are dramatic walls and alluvial fans, with small groupings of hoodoos. The river appears very inviting as there is little shade. Keep an eye out for kingfishers.
In about a third of a mile you’ll come to a “Y”. Take the trail on the left to continue on the main loop. If you were to take the trail to the right you would simply make the hike a little longer and you’d end up on the same path as if you’d taken the left-hand trail. But by taking the right-hand trail you’ll drop down and be much nearer the river. (This would have been the preferred choice, but the munchkins weren’t interested in dropping further into the canyon knowing that’s all the more they’d have to climb out.). Either choice, you’ll be paralleling the Crooked River - headed down river.
In another third of a mile you’ll arrive at a “you are here” trail sign. This is also your second “Y”. Take the left trail to ascend back to the beginning. Note that although the right-hand trail is depicted on the sign, it’s not clear where it leads other than further downriver.
From the second junction, switchbacks take you uphill and eventually to a long, moderately sloped path back to your starting point.
Although it’s a short hike, it’s largely unshaded. So bring plenty to drink.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.