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Old 04-18-2013   #1
 
Carnation, Washington
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John Day advice

So i will be on the John day in around the first of june. Really looking for any camp advice, side hikes or places to see. I get the impression that not much in the way of attactions on this run Clarno to cottonwood. But my worst river trip is alot more adventure then sitting home. Trying to make a fun agenda for the group as a trip leader.

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Old 04-18-2013   #2
 
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Seattle, Washington
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Probably gonna have pretty low water -- aim for early days on the water as those afternoon winds can be brutal over there.

Tons of superb camps in that section of river, many of them with great hikes up ridges from camp. And there are places you can see some of the Painted Hills style formations from the river. I don't know of specific hikes but there might be fossil hikes in the area too.

But there's lots to explore and wander through on the John Day.
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Old 04-18-2013   #3
 
Pugetopolis, Washington
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What's the typical season for the JD or the Grande Ronde?

New to the NW...
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Old 04-18-2013   #4
 
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Seattle, Washington
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Just going off memory, the John Day can be too low to run by Memorial Day. We often did it in April.

The Grande Ronde will go into July, and in some years, early august. Best to go before school gets out and it gets over run.
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Old 04-18-2013   #5
 
Walla Walla, Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryDingle View Post
What's the typical season for the JD or the Grande Ronde?

New to the NW...
I can't speak to the main JD unless you want to know about the North Fork. The Grande Ronde's season usually runs out near the end of July for heavy boat rafters. I have run it as low as 750cfs in a 14' raft fully loaded with three people and it was pretty tough. But pack light or take IKs and the season never ends.
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Old 04-18-2013   #6
 
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Tigard, Oregon
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The typical season is March-mid-June, but I have a buddy that loves running it in July with the really low water. He has a 13ft raft with his family of 4 loaded up. He said the afternoon wind sucks, but as long as you are on a mellow time frame you get to enjoy the warm water, great fishing and have the river to yourself. I'm a fan of this book for a mile by mile guide, John Day River: Drift and Historical Guide: Arthur Campbell: 9780936608112: Amazon.com: Books.
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Old 04-18-2013   #7
 
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Bend, Oregon
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John Day

I just got back form a 3-night 4-day trip from Clarno to Cottonwood this past weekend. This was my 5th trip down there, and I like it better each time. There are numerous fantastic campsites, it just depends on how you break up the number of miles/days. Clarno to Cottonwood is around 70 miles, and when the water gets low it is a loooong trip. I prefer going down there in April to get higher flows to reduce float time. This year it was in the 4-5k range and I wouldn't want to go much lower than that without adding another day. By June, you will likely need a full week that includes some significant oar time, if it is still feasible at all. Clarno Rapid, about 5 miles below the launch, becomes an unrunnable rock garden (at least in a raft or drift boat) at low flows, but is easily portaged with a canoe or IK. Like mentioned by others, the winds can be brutal.

There aren't really any must-do hikes, but pretty much every camp features a nice side canyon or ridge to climb up for perspective. While not really a whitewater trip other than Clarno Rapids, it is really an incredibly beautiful canyon for the entire length. While parallel to and not very far east of the Lower Deschutes, it is MUCH more scenic and has much better camp site options, other than the last few miles above Cottonwood where the pickings get slimmer.

If you have a Garmin gps I have river miles and some of my favorite camps as waypoints. If interested, send me a PM and I can send them to you (or anyone else who wants them, for that matter).

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Old 05-09-2013   #8
 
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Tigard, Oregon
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I did a 3 day 2 night trip last weekend. My first time on Cottonwood to Clarno. I must say the camps especially from Clarno rapid to around mile 75 or so are particularly incredible. We stayed at mile 81.8 and Upper Hoot Owl Camps. Stopped at Palisades for lunch the camp area was flooded with wildflowers. Redwall camp is incredible too.

The flow was 2700cfs, the total float time was 18 hours. We had great weather, and the famous John Day River wind picked up each morning at 9am.
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Old 05-09-2013   #9
Shapp
 
the grove, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slickhorn View Post
Just going off memory, the John Day can be too low to run by Memorial Day. We often did it in April.

The Grande Ronde will go into July, and in some years, early august. Best to go before school gets out and it gets over run.
GR is always raftable through out summer and fall, I have rowed it at 600 cfs in a 14' rig without issue. I imagine in the most extreme drought year a little dragging might be necessary
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Old 05-09-2013   #10
 
Pugetopolis, Washington
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Good to know. Just bought myself and the gf a Packraft,so my River season just got a little longer She would love a mellow multiday float to break em in.
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