John Day River Basin

Steve Roelof   Website

Home to Wild Waters

The ruggedly beautiful John Day River Basin inspires adventure with its mountainous terrain, steep river canyons, and room to roam.

Absent of dams and among the longest free-flowing rivers in the nation, the John Day River provides unparalleled habitat for wild steelhead, Chinook salmon, bull trout, westslope cutthroat, and interior redband.

Horseshoe Bend

Spring Basin

Jim Davis   Website

Lower John Day

Steve Roelof   Website

Spring Basin

Jim Davis   Website

Cottonwood Canyon

Jessica Brothers

A Record of Ancient History

The John Day River Basin is a geologic wonder, where Oregon’s ancient history is on display. The region’s famous John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is a starting point for exploring 50 million years of natural wonders.

Preserving a Native Fish Stronghold

For decades, Oregon Natural Desert Association has a worked to protect and restore this region’s natural legacy. From critical habitat for fish and wildlife, to the captivating experience the region offers visitors and beyond, the John Day River basin is worthy of strong conservation action. ONDA’s vision includes new protections for more than 130,000 acres in the areas known as Horse Heaven and Cathedral Rock, Sutton Mountain, and the Lower John Day.

Jim Davis   Website

Sutton Mountain

At 4,700 feet tall, Sutton Mountain towers over the surrounding landscape. With a steep, craggy west side and a rolling, grassy eastern face, the mountain has a mysterious Jekyll and Hyde quality. Sutton Mountain is home to bountiful wildflowers in the spring and vibrant herds of pronghorn, elk, and mule deer. Here solitude is...

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Tyler Roemer   Website

Horse Heaven and Cathedral Rock

Deep canyons, remnant old-growth pine forests, and rolling hills covered with juniper, sagebrush, and bunchgrass define the character of the remarkable public lands included in the Horse Heaven and Cathedral Rock proposed wilderness areas.

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Greg Burke   Website

Lower John Day

Drawn to the exhilarating rapids, remote canyons, and thriving fishery, more than 10,000 people float the 72-mile long Clarno to Cottonwood stretch of the Lower John Day River each year.

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Our favorite places in the John Day River Basin