John Day River Clarno to Cottonwood

Clarno, Oregon

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This run on the John Day is another favorite for many, including open canoers, drift boaters, and kayakers. Because the gradient here is steeper than in the preceding run, the river moves faster and has more wave action. Fewer ranches make boaters feel more isolated along this stretch. It has been designated a Wild River under the Oregon Scenic Waterways System. Many magnificent canyon walls exist, unseen by all but river runners. Allow at least four nights of camping on the river. A very relaxed trip with swimming and side-canyon hiking may last 6 to 7 days. In addition to the rapids, the terrain provides difficulties. Spring weather can range from snow flurries to sunny with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit within a few days. Beware of rattlesnakes, strong upcanyon winds in the afternoons, and the lack of potable water. Scouting Clarno and Basalt Rapid can easily involve long hikes because of the length of the rapids.

John Day River: Clarno to Cottonwood Professional Review and Guide

"This run on the John Day is another favorite for many, including open canoers, drift boaters, and kayakers. Because the gradient here is steeper than in the preceding run, the river moves faster and has more wave action. Fewer ranches make boaters feel more isolated along this stretch. It has been designated a Wild River under the Oregon Scenic Waterways System. Many magnificent canyon walls exist, unseen by all but river runners. Allow at least four nights of camping on the river. A very relaxed trip with swimming and side-canyon hiking may last 6 to 7 days.

In addition to the rapids, the terrain provides difficulties. Spring weather can range from snow flurries to sunny with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit within a few days. Beware of rattlesnakes, strong upcanyon winds in the afternoons, and the lack of potable water. Scouting Clarno and Basalt Rapid can easily involve long hikes because of the length of the rapids."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Clarno
Distance: 69
Class: Class II-III
Season: Best during snowmelt season; Flow: 1200–6000 cfs
Driving Directions: Directions to John Day River: Clarno to Cottonwood

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May 2018