Terrain is variable and potentially steep. A good map, compass navigation, and backcountry travel skills are a must.
Directions from Bend: Follow Highway 97 north for 42.5 miles to Madras. Continue on highway 97 for 17 miles then turn right on highway 293/Antelope Highway. After 13.5 miles, continue onto State Highway 218 E. Turn right onto Clarno Road. Proceed 3.5 miles on dirt road to the parking area and trailhead.
From the trailhead, hike north cross-country for 0.4 miles until you intersect a trail. Follow the trail right to Spring Basin Canyon. At the next junction, turn right towards the canyon bottom. Follow the trail as it eventually loops back around west and it will intersect Clarno Road as the John Day River comes into view.
Alternately, turn left at the junction for Spring Basin Canyon to ascend a ridge to Horse Mountain. After gorgeous views from the remote peak, zigzag down into Hay Bottom Canyon and reconnect with a trail that ends at a southern border of the wilderness area. From there, follow the boundary westward until the John Day River comes into view and you meet Clarno Road then head north to parking area.