Travel Attractions

Upper John Day River Rafting

The John Day River is a tributary of the Columbia River, approximately 281 mi (452 km) long, in northeastern Oregon in the United States. One of two rivers in Oregon to bear this name, it is by the longer and more well-known. The other John Day River is a small tributary of the Columbia in Clatsop County.

The river was named for a member of the Astor Expedition that was funded in part by John Jacob Astor, John Day (1771-1819), who wandered lost through this part of Oregon in the winter of 1811-1812. Through its tributaries it drains much of the western side of the Blue Mountains, flowing across the sparsely populated arid part of the state east of the Cascade Range in a northwest zigzag, then entering the Columbia upstream from the Columbia River Gorge.

The river flows through exceptionally scenic canyons in its upper course, with several significant paleontological sites along its banks. Undammed along its entire length, the river is the second longest free-flowing river in the United States.

Despite the extensive use of its waters for irrigation, its free-flowing course still furnishes an exceptional habitat for diverse species, including prolific wild salmon runs. The John Day is the longest free-flowing river in Oregon, and the second longest in the continental U.S.

The John Day, which runs 280 miles from its headwaters in the Blue Mountains to its confluence with the Columbia. Its a good trip to choose if you are looking for a scenic float and mild whitewater.

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