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Camping at North Fork John Day Campground

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North Fork John Day Campground is a serene camping destination located in the Umatilla National Forest on the banks of the North Fork John Day River in Oregon. This campground offers a peaceful retreat for campers interested in fishing, hiking, and enjoying the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.


The campground is situated in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. It can be accessed via Highway 395, approximately 10 miles north of the city of Dale.

Facilities and Amenities

  • Campsites: There are multiple campsites available for tents, trailers, and RVs, though the length of vehicles that can be accommodated varies by site.
  • Water: Potable water is typically made available to campers during the operational season.
  • Toilets: Vault toilets are maintained at the campground for visitor use.
  • Trash: There are usually trash receptacles, but it's always wise to practice “Leave No Trace” principles, which includes packing out all trash.
  • Tables and Fire Rings: Each campsite typically comes with a picnic table and a fire ring/grill.


  • Fishing: The North Fork John Day River is known for its fishing, particularly for steelhead and trout.
  • Hiking: There are numerous trails accessible from the campground, including paths that are part of the Blue Mountains Trail system.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The area is home to an array of wildlife, including elk, deer, and various bird species. Remember to keep a safe distance from wildlife.
  • Swimming and Water Sports: Although the water can be cold, the river provides opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and rafting.

Operational Season

The operational season varies and can be affected by weather conditions. The campground typically opens in spring and closes in late fall. It is recommended to check the latest status with Umatilla National Forest service before planning your trip.

Fees and Reservations

  • Fees: There is usually a nightly fee to camp at North Fork John Day Campground, so visitors should be prepared to pay when they arrive.
  • Reservations: Some sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, while others may be reservable in advance through a reservation system. Check the current reservation policy before you go.

Contact Information

Before heading out, obtain current conditions and regulations by contacting the Umatilla National Forest:

  • Umatilla National Forest Supervisor's Office
  • Address: 72510 Coyote Road, Pendleton, OR 97801
  • Phone: +1 (541) 278-3716
  • Website: Umatilla National Forest

Important Tips

  • Check the Weather: Be prepared for changing weather conditions and pack accordingly.
  • Fire Safety: Follow all fire restrictions and guidelines to prevent forest fires.
  • Wildlife Precautions: Use bear-proof containers and keep a clean camp to avoid attracting wildlife.
  • Respect Nature: Stay on designated trails and avoid damaging vegetation and natural features.
  • Local Regulations: Follow all posted rules and regulations specific to the North Fork John Day Campground and the Umatilla National Forest overall.

This information should help you prepare for a successful and enjoyable camping trip to the North Fork John Day Campground in Umatilla National Forest. Always verify details prior to departure, as circumstances and guidelines can change.

Location of North Fork John Day Campground
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