Not all who wander are lost.
It was 101 degrees in John Day on July 13 — a perfect afternoon for a family getaway in the woods for a hike.
Our destination: Arch Rock Trail in the Malheur National Forest.
We’d heard great things about this hike, the views and the rock formations, and we were not disappointed.
The drive to Arch Rock from John Day is 29 miles, a total of 58 miles round trip.
At .6 miles total, the hike is easy enough for children.
Our family enjoyed the natural trail that took us through a beautiful wooded area and past interesting rocky outcroppings where a couple chipmunks scurried for cover.
The temperature was a welcome 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the John Day Valley.
Three informational signs along the trail tell the prehistoric story of the area.
Volcanic materials that formed the rocky outcroppings would have contained varying amounts of mud, ash and rock.
The arch formed when materials in that area of the rock eroded, as they were more susceptible to the effects of weather.
No matter how the arch was created, the view is stunning — a hidden gem in the forest.
My family enjoyed exploring both sides of the arch, and my agile teen climbed to the top for a bird’s-eye view.
The winding uphill climb to Arch Rock is definitely worth the journey, and I’m sure we’ll share it with friends and family in the future.
To reach this geological treasure, travel about 12 miles east from John Day on Highway 26, and turn left (north) on County Road 18, also called Keeney Forks Road. Continue approximately nine miles to Four Corners, which is Forest Road 36, and turn right. This road is graveled, but accessible by car. Travel about nine miles north to Forest Road 3650/468 (clearly marked Arch Rock), and turn right. Traveling a short distance, after passing over Camp Creek bridge, the brown metal trailhead sign, “Arch Rock Trail 258,” will be seen at the left.
Park by the roadside, and start your adventure!