Vinegar Hill-Indian Rock Scenic Area


Photo of Vinegar Hill-Indian Rock

Located in the northeast part of the Forest, this high elevation area provides spectacular vistas of the North Fork John Day Wilderness, the Middle and North Fork drainages of the John Day River, and the peaks of the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness to the south.

This area welcomes non-motorized recreation only to protect the fragile sub-alpine ecosystem. However, snowmobiles are allowed in the winter.  There are several trails to disperse visitors throughout the area and much of the area has been altered by wildfires in the past.

Nearly every type of alpine wildflower found west of the Rockies can be blooming at different times in this area. Big game species and upland game birds are common. There is a variety of geologic formations including basalt, rhyloite, granite, and shales; rockhounders will find agate, jasper, and quartz. The area has a rich history and active and decaying remains of mines can be seen. The area provides unfettered opportunities for solitude and isolation except during big-game hunting seasons.

To reach this wondrous area from John Day, follow Highway 26 for approximately 26 miles, turn left onto Highway 7, follow Highway 7 for about 1 mile, turn left onto County Road 20, continue on County Road 20 for about 11 miles, then turn onto Forest Service Road 45, continue for approximately 4 miles where you will reach the boundary of this scenic area.