An online permit is required year-round to boat within the Wild and Scenic section of the John Day River (Service Creek to Tumwater Falls) for both day and overnight trips. One permit covers your entire group for the full length of the trip and is based on where you enter the Wild and Scenic stretch. To obtain an online permit and for terms and conditions of the permit, please visit Recreation.gov and search for either John Day River Day Use Permits or John Day River Overnight Permits.
A self-issued paper permit is required to boat:
- Within Priest Hole Recreation Site, to float less than 1 mile (River Mile 136.5–137.5)
- The North Fork of the John Day between Dale and Monument (toilet and fire pan required)
- Self-issued permits are located at the launch kiosks.
A permit is not required to boat:
- Less than 100 yards upstream or downstream of the launch or to cross to the opposite bank
- The 1/4 mile between Cottonwood Bridge (Burres) and Lone Tree Campground, at Cottonwood Canyon State Park
- Between Monument on the North Fork of the John Day and Service Creek on the Main Stem of the John Day
Maximum Group Size
- Group size limits are in place to help protect the resource and to be considerate of others who are seeking solitude. Please pay respect to other boaters and to the river by remaining within these limits.
- Groups can have no more than 16 people, regardless of the number of permits obtained by the group. This includes babies.
- Due to sensitive habitat, the group size limit in Segment 1A and 1B (J.S. Burres/Cottonwood Bridge to Tumwater Falls) from September 1-November 30 is 4.
Terms and Conditions of Permit
The Trip Leader must keep the Permit with them at all times while on the John Day River. Photo ID is required for the Trip Leader or Alternate Trip Leader at the launch. This Permit is valid only for the launch segment and launch date for which it is issued.