- North Fork John Day River
North Fork John Day River
Camas Creek to Monument (Camas Creek Confluence to Monument Park)
The North Fork John Day is a wonderful multi-day whitewater run suitable for intermediate paddlers that is typically run over 2-3 days. Rafts, kayaks, and inflatable kayaks are all popular but this is also a great run for experienced whitewater canoeists. Because this is a good weekend trip, consider a weekday trip if you want to encounter fewer people.
This section of the river emerges from the Umatilla National Forest and flows through a landscape of ponderosa pine groves and layered outcrops of basalt that form the canyon this river flows through. Towards the end of the run the pine forests start to transition to juniper and sagebrush. The wide open country invites hiking and exploration for spectacular views.
The public land along the river, managed by Bureau of Land Management, is interspersed with private land and some ranch homes as well as a handful of remote vacation properties. While this is a multi-day river trip, a dirt/gravel road parallels river right and a handful of roads enter the canyon in a few places. This does not intrude from the experience however and you will see more boats on the water than vehicles on the road as traffic is extremely light; in some places it is non existent where road segments are blocked by private gates. Campsites are plentiful on the benches along both sides of the river. The season for this run is late spring snowmelt and it's important to come prepared for the cold water and unpredictable spring weather.
The most significant rapids come in the first 10 miles and are in the class II/III range. Several additional class II rapids continue all the way to the take-out with several fun surf waves.
Camping options become more limited once you pass Wall Creek near the end of the run so plan your last night's camp at a point upstream. (American Whitewater)