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Heritage Landing Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

On the Heritage Landing Trail (bobcat)
Blister beetle on rabbitbrush, Heritage Landing Trail (bobcat)
Hairy goldaster (Heterotheca villosa), Heritage Landing Trail (bobcat)
Nearing Rattlesnake Bend on the Deschutes, Heritage Landing Trail (bobcat)
The hike on the west bank of the Deschutes River (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Heritage Landing TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Rattlesnake Bend
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 55 feet
  • High point: 215 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No


Hike Description

The "other" side of the lower Deschutes River attracts a different sort of clientele than the Deschutes River State Recreation Area on the east bank. Rafters and boaters use the launch at Heritage Landing to end their trips. Fishermen use the trail up the river to find a quiet casting spot. Hikers can take advantage of this trail as well, which runs between the railroad and the river. Interesting wildflowers bloom here from spring into fall and, the farther you walk, the more peaceful it will become. The area is a state park and can be very busy during the summer with jet boats, rafts, and other craft plying the lower Deschutes. Heritage Landing is also the easternmost reach of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area on the Oregon side of the river. Note that most of the Heritage Landing area was severely burned in the July 2018 Substation Fire. Almost all trees and shrubs along the length of this hike were killed.

From the upper end of the pullout, head over a fence on a stile through sage and rabbitbrush and descend to a sandy jeep track that leads south. This is what is known as the Rock Pile Trail. On a hot summer or fall day, there will be fishermen and recreationists also using this first part of the trail. Goldasters are bloom everywhere in late summer and gumweed can be seen closer to the river. The shore is rocky and you can look across to large islands in the Deschutes. Pass a lone juniper standing isolated among the rabbitbrush. Trails lead down to the river bank. The jeep track peters out and becomes a path that leads close to the river. The slope steepens down to the white alder-lined shore, and you cross several muddy seeps. A cairn and plaque state: “For Your Enjoyment 1986 The Dalles Rod & Gun.” Then pass another cairn put there by the Izaac Walton League in 1983. Reach an outhouse, where the tread becomes sandy.

The trail splits and you can take the high road here. There are small rapids to the left. Pass over a low stone wall. More goldasters can be found here. The trail ascends to the right above a sumac thicket. Descend and look up to Rattlesnake Viewpoint, near the Deschutes State Park Boundary on the opposite bank. The river bank has more shade cover in this area. Continue around Rattlesnake Bend in the Deschutes, where the path becomes less distinct. This is a good place to turn around. On the return, try to stick to the fisherman's track close to the river when you have the option.


  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • Green Trails Maps: Columbia River Gorge - East #432S
  • National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • Bureau of Land Management, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service: Lower Deschutes & John Day Rivers

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Dogs on leash

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • PDX Hiking 365 by Matt Reeder
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan

More Links


Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.