North Fork John Day River Dale to Monument

Dale, Oregon

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This run marks the transition between the foothills of the Blue Mountains and the high desert country typical of eastern Oregon. The terrain is mountainous but not steep, with open forest of ponderosa pine and little evidence of civilization. Wildflowers are abundant in the spring, and walks into the hills above camp are quite worthwhile. The open vegetation makes walking easy and enjoyable. Good campsites are common. The trip is usually done with two nights of camping. From the put-in at Tollgate Campground to Camas Creek, the river is quite fast and has some holes. If problems arise in these first 3.5 miles, boaters should consider aborting their trip; three major rapids occur in the next 10 miles. The river gradually flattens out over the next 30 miles, but several long class 2- rock gardens and some large standing waves make it interesting all the way. At higher water, the river takes on a class 3- character. At any water level, the North Fork is definitely more difficult and much faster than the lower John Day.

North Fork John Day River: Dale to Monument Professional Review and Guide

"This run marks the transition between the foothills of the Blue Mountains and the high desert country typical of eastern Oregon. The terrain is mountainous but not steep, with open forest of ponderosa pine and little evidence of civilization. Wildflowers are abundant in the spring, and walks into the hills above camp are quite worthwhile. The open vegetation makes walking easy and enjoyable. Good campsites are common. The trip is usually done with two nights of camping.

From the put-in at Tollgate Campground to Camas Creek, the river is quite fast and has some holes. If problems arise in these first 3.5 miles, boaters should consider aborting their trip; three major rapids occur in the next 10 miles. The river gradually flattens out over the next 30 miles, but several long class 2- rock gardens and some large standing waves make it interesting all the way. At higher water, the river takes on a class 3- character. At any water level, the North Fork is definitely more difficult and much faster than the lower John Day."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Dale
Distance: 44
Class: Class II-III
Season: Best during snowmelt season; Flow: 800–2500 cfs; 4000 cfs
Driving Directions: Directions to North Fork John Day River: Dale to Monument

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May 2018