The water is high; but not too high and the sun is warm; but not too hot. It’s rafting season on the John Day River.
Designated a National Wild and Scenic River; the John Day provides isolation, peace, and more than a few good fishing holes. A truly wild, back county experience.
The most popular trip is the multi-day trip starting at Clarno and ending at JS Burres. This trip through the John Day Wilderness Study Area provides rafters with beautiful views, great wildlife, and a chance to disconnect from the world.
For those looking for a shorter trip, the 10 mile float from JS Burres to the Starvation Lane take-out provide rafters and kayakers with a riverside view of the heart of Cottonwood Canyon State Park. Bring the tents and a fishing pole to turn it into a multi-day trip.
A few things to remember on your trip:
- Pack out all trash (dumpster located at JS Burres)
- Portable toilets are required on overnight trips (dump located at JS Burres)
- Be aware of fire bans (beginning May 24th this year)
- There is no cell service. Carry plenty of water and a first aid kit
- Make sure to have your life vest, whistle and float permit. Rangers may ask to see these on your trip.
For those planning a float, be sure to check the BLM website for rules, river maps, and float permits (required year round).
Rafting season usually lasts from May through early July, depending on water levels. Generally, 350-400cfs is required to float through the Cottonwood-Starvation Lane section. For current river levels check the USGS website. Once water levels reach 350-400cfs, the gate to the Starvation Lane access is closed.
Most importantly: Be safe. Have fun.