The Sutton Mountain Backcountry Byway is a 41-mile scenic loop that can be traveled in either direction. From State Highway 26 about 3 miles west of Mitchell, Oregon, head north on Bridge Creek Road past the Painted Hills for about nine miles. Continue to the right toward Priest Hole on the Twickenham/Bridge Creek Cutoff Road and follow that for about 15 miles. Head south on Highway 207 until you bump into Highway 26, about .5 miles west of Mitchell.
AUTO TOURING, CAMPING, HIKING, PHOTOGRAPHY
Reserve your campsite at these camping areas:
Looking for nice hiking areas to take a hike? Choose from these scenic hiking trails:
Welcome to 41 miles of Central Oregon’s scenic backcountry! Relish views of the orange and red clay mounds of the Painted Hills, crane your neck to catch the emerald-green lichen on the rock walls of Girds Creek Canyon, and get up close and personal with the high desert cliffs of Sutton Mountain. You can stick to the byway or explore colorful hiking trails, discover historic corrals from early ranching days, pause for a lunch break at Priest Hole on the banks of the John Day River, or camp under breathtaking, unobstructed night skies. Anywhere you look, it’s a photographer’s dream!
Know Before You Go:
- Open year round.
- The byway is open to motorcycles, vehicles, and bicycles.
- Picnicking, restrooms and drinking water are available at the Painted Hills National Monument (water not available during winter months).
- Fuel, food and lodging are available in Mitchell, Oregon.
- Primitive camping is available at the BLM Priest Hole Recreation Site, which can be reached via a 1.4 mile spur road off of the north side of the byway loop (restroom, no water).
Point of Interest:
The Scenic Byway passes by the Painted Hills, one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon. It’s worth the time to explore the colors, fossils and geology of this amazing place!
Sutton Mountain Back Country Byway Brochure