Bureau of Land Management National Park Service US Fish and Wildlife Service US Forest Service

John Day River (North Fork), Oregon

Managing Agency:

U.S. Forest Service, Umatilla National Forest
U.S. Forest Service, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest


Designated Reach:

October 28, 1988. From its headwaters in the North Fork of the John Day Wilderness Area to its confluence with Camas Creek.


Classification/Mileage:

Wild — 27.8 miles; Scenic — 10.5 miles; Recreational — 15.8 miles; Total — 54.1 miles.

North Fork John Day River

John Day River (North Fork)

From its headwaters in the North Fork John Day Wilderness to Camas Creek, the North Fork of the John Day River is one of the most important rivers in northeast Oregon for the production of anadromous fish. It supports the largest remaining wild run of Chinook salmon and steelhead trout in the Columbia River basin. Wildlife found along the river's corridor includes Rocky mountain elk, mule deer and black bears, along with bald and golden eagles, ospreys and goshawks.

The river's diverse landscape and geologic formations create high-quality natural scenery. Man-made developments have a primitive or historic appearance, including early day mining remains. There is a great deal of history from the gold mining era tied to this area. Recreation opportunities range from hiking and horseback riding to rafting/kayaking and gold panning.