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The Minnehaha Creek crossing was a popular layover site for travelers on the old John Day Trail that passed just north of here at Lake West. Blazed out in the early 1860’s by miners and stockmen, this route was used for travel from the Rogue Valley to the newly discovered gold mines in the John Day Valley. Reopened in 1910 by the Forest Service, this wagon road became known as the Diamond Lake Road.

The trail begins on an old road for the first half mile, then gradually narrows as it enters the Minnehaha drainage. The trail passes several beautiful meadows before climbing briefly over pumice bluffs overlooking Minnehaha Creek, offering great views of small waterfalls below. Eroded pumice bluffs and exposed lava rock are evidence of the glowing avalanches of Mt. Mazama ash that covered this area over 6,800 years ago.

The trail continues through a forest of old-growth Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, and western white pine. An array of plants carpets the forest floor, including wild strawberries, huckleberries, Oregon grape and vanilla leaf. The trail returns to the river’s edge just prior to reaching the Soda Springs Trail junction.

What’s around here? Location & Nearby Things to See & Do

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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