John Day River Oregon Whitewater Rafting, Fishing, Camping

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John Day River

Located east of Mount Hood, the John Day River is most easily accessed from the JS Burres State Park, just southeast of the town of Wasco. The John Day is the longest free-flowing river in the state.

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What can I do and see along the John Day River?

  • Rafting
    Rafting adventures are enjoyed upriver from Cottonwood Access at the JS Burres State Park. The closest section to the Hood area is the lower section that begins at Clarno and ends at the park, a multi-day trip with a few smaller rapids. Rafting below JS Burres State Park is less common as river access is strictly limited and Tumwater Falls are impassable.
  • Fishing
    Fishing access is limited below Cottonwood as the river passes through private property. Most anglers raft the section between Clarno and Cottonwood to enjoy smallmouth bass and salmon fishing in the early season. Steelhead fishing picks up in the fall.

Where is the John Day River?

The John Day River runs roughly 280 miles through central Oregon, from the Blue Mountains to the Columbia River. The closest river access to Mount Hood and Hood River is at JS Burres State Park.

When is it accessible?

Water levels along the John Day are highly dependent on snowmelt. The typical season is from May through June.

How much does it cost?

A fishing permit is required to fish these waters.

Who can I call with more questions?

Contact the local BLM office in Prineville at (541) 416-6700 or read about John Day River Permits and Trips.

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