Black Canyon to Sutton Mtn. & the Painted Hills

We heard about an easy hike about 5 miles in total up to Sutton Mountain — It’s walking on an old “Jeep trail” that is fairly flat and calm. After driving through Mitchell and stopping for some gas we were pretty quickly at the parking spot. We saw some other hikers (they were decked out with backpacks and hiking poles — from Bend) who were also planning on hiking to the top of Sutton Mountain. They weren’t exactly sure which way the trails were either and knew that it was kind of something you’d find and figure out along the way. We started off ahead of them but quickly saw there was no path really and let them take the lead so we could follow. Our Elsa decided to hurry up alongside them but once we got her back we actually lost sight of them and had no idea which way to go. We picked a mountaintop and headed in that direction, which was a lot of fun. Steep, uphill fun!

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WE MADE IT! On the way down I saw a slithering snake and I didn’t look long enough to figure out what kind it was but I did let out a scream. Shortly after that Kenny saw a coiled rattlesnake which we made sure to avoid with the doggy. The grass was very tall so it was hard to see exactly what was lurking. Thankfully we made it down pretty easily and with no more snake sightings despite how brushy and steep it was!

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We passed this on the way to John Day River and the Painted Hills… Snake #3. Thankfully this one was dead —

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We happened to go out on such a nice day — The sun was shining with clear skies but it wasn’t too hot! Thankfully this is May and not quite summer so it was perfectly picturesque. There were definitely some tourists out, so many in contrast to where we had just hiked from which was basically deserted.

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After we returned home, (think we made it back around 5 pm after stopping in Prineville for some dinner) we read again about getting to the Mt. Sutton hike. Apparently there was a gate and no markings of a parking lot so all 7 of us trying to hike Sutton were in the WRONG PLACE! We’re planning on going out again in search of this mysterious place thinking the actual hike will be a lot easier than what we did today.

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