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John Day River

On 10/19, 7 am-5 pm: Permits may be unavailable due to maintenance; please try back later. The number of river permits available for 2019 trips is not limited, however an online launch permit is required for each boating group. An online launch permit is required year-round and available here to boat all sections of the Mainstem downstream of Spray. Permits to boat upstream of Spray are encouraged and available here and at launch points. Once issued, don't forget to log-in and confirm your permit between 10 and 30 days prior to your trip. Permit fees are non-refundable. NOTICES: THIRTYMILE launch access is OPEN; for updated information, copy and paste this link into your browser: https://www.blm.gov/or/permit/application/thirtymile-info.pdf STARVATION LANE launch access is OPEN, however the ramp is washed out; The River Toilet Dump Stations at Clarno & Cottonwood are CLOSED-please make alternate plans.

Permit Overview

Notice: For 2016, all river segments and launch dates are unlimited.


General Permit Information

  • An online launch permit is required and available HERE to boat all river segments year-round on the mainstem John Day downstream of Spray. Also, free on-line permits are available here to boat the mainstem upstream of Spray and the North Fork downstream of Dale.
  • Permits will NOT be limited in 2016. Permits for launch dates through April 30th may be reserved at any time. Permits for May, June and July launch dates will be available beginning the first Monday in March.
  • A non-refundable launch fee is due when a permit reservation is made for trips entering the Wild and Scenic River section (Service Creek to Tumwater Falls; Segments 1-3) between May 20 and July 10. The fee is $20 per overnight trip per group, or $10 per one-day trip per group. All fees collected will be used directly on the river to help keep launch sites and river campsites clean.
  • One launch permit is issued per group, with a maximum group size of 16 persons.
  • Each permit authorizes the trip leader to launch on a specific date in a specific river segment; once a permit is reserved, dates and segments are not changeable.
  • A trip leader may list one alternate trip leader at the time of reservation.
  • The trip leader or alternate is required to be present on the entire trip and may be requested to show permit and photo ID during the trip.
  • Each person may be named as a trip leader or an alternate trip leader on a maximum of one overnight and three day-use permits at a time.
  • The minimum age for a trip leader or alternate trip leader is 13 years.
  • All permits are issued on-line as they become available; there is no lottery, no waiting list, and no permits are issued by phone. For assistance please click here to contact the Prineville BLM or call 541-416-6700.

Permit Exceptions:

  • Neither a launch permit nor a fee are required when boating a distance of less than 100 yards upstream or downstream of the launch point, or to cross the river to the opposite bank.
  • Priest Hole Exception: For short day-trips taking place completely within Priest Hole Recreation Site (a distance of one mile between River Mile 136.5 and 137.5), free unlimited self-issue paper permits may be obtained at Priest Hole.

To get at permit you will need:

  • Desired launch point and launch date
  • Desired take-out point and date
  • Name, address, and birthdate of trip leader and alternate (if listing an alternate)
  • Vehicle license plate number at take-out (may be updated at the launch)
  • Credit Card to pay launch fee

How to get a permit:

See map

Limited Seasons and Segments - Notice: For 2016, all river segments and launch dates are unlimited.


See map

Unlimited Seasons and Segments


  • July 11 to May 19 in Segment 2 and 3 (between Service Creek and Cottonwood)
  • Year-round in Segment 1 (downstream of Cottonwood), and Segment 4 (upstream of Service Creek)
  • Year-round on all segments of the North Fork John Day River
  • Year-round for short day-trips taking place completely within Priest Hole Recreation Site (a distance of one mile between River Mile 136.5 and 137.5). Self-issue permits are obtained on-site at Priest Hole