Spring! In Grant County, Oregon, nature throws open her front door, rolls out a lush green carpet, and invites us back to the freshness, hope and beauty of spring. 

Residents say it is spring when the red-winged blackbirds are back. There are one or two then they suddenly seem to fill the trees with their song and colorful, bright orange and red patches on their wings. Others say it is when Strawberry Mountain turns pink, then orange then red at sunset. It is a breathtaking site with the top still white-capped in snow. 

Then there are those who cannot wait for the blooming flowers of spring. The reds, the yellows, the blues, the magentas. In Logan Valley, just thirty miles south of John Day, the vivid view can make a person want to get out of their car and lie down in the far-flung spread of color and inhale the sweet scent of wild fragrances from the wild lupine, yellow bell, and the Cusick’s paintbrush. In the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, one will be amazed at the determination and fortitude of mariposa Lillies, purple sage, prairie clover and blazing star thriving amongst the rocks and arid landscape.

Across from the world-famous Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, the historic Cant Ranch offers spring hikers two easily accessible hiking trails: Cant Ranch Overlook Trail and the Cant Ranch Trail. Both are less than a mile in length and are easily accessible. Blue Basin and Foree trailheads offer longer and more challenging hikes within the geological layers of the Sheep Rock Unit.

Things To Do in Grant County

Some believe spring arrives with the gurgling sound of the Sandhill cranes. From Seneca through Silvies Valley and beyond, the Sandhill cranes gather to mate and hatch their young every spring. It is not unheard of to see 500 to 1,000 standing knee-deep in water covered fields and valleys created from the ground thawing and rain. They sleep standing up, sometimes on one sharp, boney leg. Sometimes leaning against one another. There is not a louder, more awe-inspiring sound than hearing them rise in unison to the sky.

The Sandhill cranes mate for life and if their mate dies over the winter, they return to the wet fields of Grant County to find another mate. You won’t have to fight crowds to see them. Just pull off to the side of the road and experience an uninterrupted photo shoot. 

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Spring in Grant County is a fisherman’s delight. With so many ponds and reservoirs it is hard to decide where to dip your line in the water. Starting in the northwest corner of the county near the town of Kimberly at Cavender Pond and ending at Trout Farm Pond in the Malheur National Forest east of Prairie City, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) stocks ponds and reservoirs throughout the County with rainbow trout.

Be sure to check out the Seventh Street Pond at the Seventh Street Sports Complex and the Brandon Pond located next to the ODFW building in John Day. Fish the main stem and the North Fork of John Day River for smallmouth bass. They are fighters and fun to catch. 

Things To Do in Grant County

Grant County shares four National Forests with surrounding counties. They are filled with wildlife, birds, and a varied species of conifer trees. Each of the nine small cities and towns has its own distinct eateries, hotels and inns, parks, and walking paths. The spring traveler can enjoy minimal crowds and traffic. 

Come for the experience. Find your place to reboot, reconnect, rewind. Let Grant County be your fresh Spring start!