John Day River

South Fork John Day River Back Country Byway

John Day Basin Resource Management Plan.

John Day Wild and Scenic River

John Day River final wild and scenic river study September 1979


The John Day River basin drains nearly 8,100 square miles of central and northeast Oregon. Absent of dams for 281 miles, the John Day is the second longest free-flowing river in the continental United States and the longest undammed tributary of the Columbia. Elevations range from 265 feet at the confluence with the Columbia River to over 9,000 feet at the headwaters in the Strawberry Mountain Range.

The John Day River system is fortunate to have designation under two important river preservation programs: the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Oregon Scenic Waterways Act. Together, these two acts, one a federal program and one a state program, provide the best protection available today for the natural, scenic, and recreational values of our river environments.

The John Day is still carving its way through the basalt layers of old volcanic flows that cover large parts of northern Oregon, creating a canyon as much as 1600 feet deep. The now exposed geologic layers provide memorable scenery. The river and its canyons offer unmatched habitat for many native fish including wild steelhead, Chinook salmon, bull trout, westslope cutthroat, and interior redband. Wildlife found along the river's corridor include mule deer, elk, and black bear, along with peregrine falcons and bald eagles.

Click to Discover Wheeler County:

Spray Access Site Managed by: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Contact: 800-720-6339
Waterbody: John Day River
Use Fee: Yes

Spray Riverfront Park Managed by: City of Spray is a use fee City Park located on the
John Day River within the City of Spray. Contact: 541-468-2069 for additional information.

Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site on US 26, 6 miles W of John Day at 59500 Hwy
26/395, Mt. Vernon, OR 97865. Call 541-93200-4453 for additional Park Information: 1-800-551-6949 Latitude: 44.416855 N Longitude: -118.956554 W

Other Nearby camping facilities:

Big Service Corral - Camping: Yes - Cabins: Yes - RV Parking and Hookup:  Yes. Located on 40280 Hwy
19, Fossil, Oregon, (541) 468-2121

Shelton Wayside ParkCamping: `Camping Yes-RV Parking: Yes-alf-way between Spray and Fossil

Bear Hollow Park
Camping: Yes R/V Parking: Yes 45260 Highway 19, Fossil, OR 97830

Julia Henderson Pioneer Park - Camping: No -Day use only


Wheeler County Fairgrounds and RV Park - RV Parking: Yes


Service Creek-Camping: Yes-Day Use:  Yes-RV Parking: Yes (in parking lot, no hookups)-Boat Launching:
- Blocks down from Service Creek Stage Stop-(541) 468-3331


Corncob Ranch and Horse Camp
Camping:  Yes (30 campsites)
RV: Yes ( no hookups, dry camp only)
1 Bedroom Cabin available to reserve
23193 Winlock Lane, Fossil, Oregon, 97830


OLD MILL CAMPGROUND-Dry Camping and RV spots (no hookups)-$12.00 per night

-103 Main Street, Spray Oregon 97874-(503) 422-8946

Mule Shoe Small Craft Boat Launch is free to launch site Managed by: Bureau of Land Management
Contact: 541-416-6700

Service Creek Boat Launch Managed by: Bureau of Land Management Contact: 541-416-6700

Twickenham Managed by: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Contact: 800-720-6339 for additional information.

Priest Hole Recreation Site a free to launch facility for small boats is managed by: Bureau of Land Management. Contact: 541-416-6700 for addtional information.

Clarno State Recreation Site Managed by: Bureau of Land Management 541-416-6700

Cottonwood Park Managed by: Bureau of Land Management Contact: 541-447-8757

Le Page Park Managed by: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Contact: 541-296-1181

Albert Philippi Park is Managed by: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Contact: 541-296-1181. Explore the river wild with this "boat-in park on the John Day River." Philippi Park offers dock facilities, 35 camp sites, beachfrontage, fishing, and tree-covered respite. Restrooms and warm showers available, maintained by the Army Corp of Engineers or the park's custodian. Open May 27 to September 6. Call (541) 739-1135 with questions. Directions: Philippi Park is accessible by boat only, about a mile up the John Day River from the Columbia River.  Parking and boat launch are at LePage Park (see above).

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