Outdoor Activities

A river is in the foreground with a colorful cliff in the background.
Cathedral Rock is just one the many scenic spots along the John Day River.


Clarno Unit Trails
Painted Hills Unit Trails
Sheep Rock Unit Trails

Dogs are allowed on trails (and roads) so long as they are on a six foot leash under the control of the owner. Dogs are not allowed off trail. Only certified service animals are allowed in buildings in the monument.


While there is no camping within the three units of the monument, there are many choices for nearby camping.

River Rafting

Large portions of the John Day River system, including those travelling through John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, are designated as a National Wild and Scenic River as well as an Oregon Scenic Waterway. Spring flows bring the best rafting conditions with the river usually becoming unfloatable by July 4th for most boats. Local outfitters generally recommentd floating at levels between 1500cfs and 5000cfs. Call Oregon River Flow at 503-261-9246, visit the Oregon Water Resources Department website to determine current stream flow levels.

Advance BLM/Oregon State Parks permits are required for to travel on the John Day River during the main float season between Service Creek, Clarno, and Cottonwood, regardless of distance travelled.


It is legal to fish in the monument and elsewhere on public lands along the John Day River with the proper Oregon state fishing license. Smallmouth bass and rainbow trout are abundant. Note that the monument has a restriction on taking frogs and crawdads. No other special regulations apply; follow state fishing laws. For more information, contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in Canyon City at 541-575-1167.

Mountain Biking

There are no mountain biking areas within the monument, but there are many designated routes in nearby public lands.

Last updated: December 13, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

32651 Highway 19
Kimberly, OR 97848


(541) 987-2333

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