John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

River rafting At John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

River rafting

Large portions of the John Day River system are designated as a National Wild and Scenic River as well as an Oregon Scenic Waterway. The lower section of the John Day River from Tumwater Falls upstream to Service Creek is classified as recreational and has the best rafting potential.

The spring flows bring the best rafting conditions with the river becoming unfloatable usually by July 4th for most boats, though not all. Floating at levels between 1500cfs, and 5000cfs will keep most people away from rocks and trouble. You can check the river flow two ways. Call Oregon River Flow at 503-261-9246, or use the internet to find the Oregon Water Resources Department at http://www.wrd.state.or.us, and click on "Stream Flows". Service Creek to Twickenham is a 15 mile drift and can be done in one day or two. Service Creek to Clarno is 48 miles which makes for a nice three night/four day float. Service Creek to Cottonwood is about 118 miles, a very nice six night trip.

For more information, see also "Soggy Sneakers, A Guide to Oregon Rivers" by Williamette Kayak.

Directions

The Visitor Center at the Sheep Rock Unit is located on Highway 19 between the towns of Dayville and Kimberly, 2 miles from the junction of Highway 26 and Highway 19.

The Painted Hills Unit is located 9 miles northwest of of the town of Mitchell, just off Highway 26. There is no visitor center at this unit.

The Clarno Unit is located 20 miles west of the town of Fossil. along Highway 218. There is no visitor center at this unit.