Painted Sky

Offering classes and community for artists of all ages, the Painted Sky Center for the Arts is located in neighboring Canyon City. Classes and studio space supporting work in ceramics, oil painting, leather working and the performing arts. A dedicated staff facilitates the creative development of kids, young adults and life long learned alike. Learn more about what is offered, or the next arts opening below.

Links :

ATV Off Road

Unlimited dirt trails await just beyond the bounds of the City of John Day. Most require you trailer to the trailhead, and from there you’re free to explore. Be sure to remain in control of your vehicles and knowledgable of your route, as this is as remote as you’ll find in the State of Oregon. Advice and vehicles can be sourced from the Polaris dealership in town.

 Mountain Cycling

Popular for all ages are the dirt trails radiating out from John Day. Whether on a trusty rusty old school bomber or the latest electric-powered carbon fiber machine, it’s a good time all around. Investment in trails by the City can be enjoyed John Day bike park off of Well Road. For an especially pretty ride, new trails follow along the river and connect attractions in the community.

Kam Wah Chung Museum

During the Gold Rush of the late 1800’s Chinese immigrants came to the area to work. At that time, the Chinese population of John Day was the largest outside of San Francisco. A surprising local treasure, and National Historic Landmark, a small trading store has been preserved undisturbed since being sealed in the 1940’s. This compact building serves as a time capsule as well as a look into Chinese American culture of the day. Open for visiting between May and the end of October, a virtual tour is also available.
Learn more about Kam Wah Chung by watching an Emmy-nominated documentary produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Links :

Grant County Fair

The longest continually running fair in Oregon, The Grant County Fair is the highlight of the summer. Held on the fairgrounds in the center of John Day, along the river, families enjoy a rodeo, carnival rides, amusements and live music and much more. The 4H livestock competition recognizes the traditions of animal husbandry of the area and welcomes the next generation of into a strong community of proud ranchers and farmers.

Links :

 Fossil Beds

Located 45 min drive west of the City is the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. A dynamic visitor center brings the past alive and is a perfect stop for families on the long car ride. This is a working research center where paleontologists are actively doing fossil science in a lab setting visible to visitors. Admission is free to the Center and visits can be as short or in-depth as you please. Beyond the center are the actual fossil beds, The Clarno Unit, the Sheep Rock Unit and the Painted Hills, for trail hiking and exploration.

Links :

Green House

The John Day greenhouse is a community supported agriculture project to provide fresh produce spur new approaches to commercial agriculture. The greenhouse is over 6,000 square feet in size and features automated management of temperature, humidity, CO2, irrigation and fertilizer. Utilizing hydroponic growing bays and vertical space, the plants reach to over 12’ tall in the warm and sunlit space, year round.

Links :

Hiking Trails

Freshly constructed walking and hiking trails lay throughout the City footprint as evidence of the investment in public spaces. For those seeking a bit stronger of a workout there are the new trails at Davis Creek Park with some steeper stair climbs and a rewarding lookout.

Magone Lake

A quick drive on some dirt roads arrives you at a gorgeous mountain lake. Offering camping, picnic and BBQ stations and a sand beach, a visit to the lake is a perfect plan for a summer day. Popular for swimming or floating, be mindful of swimming safety for yourself and loved ones. Be sure to pack sunscreen and towels and enjoy a perfect respite from the rest of the world.

Links :


Unlimited dirt trails await just beyond the bounds of the City of John Day. Most require you trailer to the trailhead, and from there you’re free to explore. Be sure to remain in control of your vehicles and knowledgable of your route, as this is as remote as you’ll find in the State of Oregon. Advice and vehicles can be sourced from the Polaris dealership in town.

Cross Country Skiing

For those who have discovered the combination of fantastic exercise and solitude of cross country skiing, the terrain surrounding John Day is a dream. Points of access abound, and you can plan an outing for exactly the window of time you have available. Be sure to let someone know your plans for where you’ll be skiing, and don’t expect cellular networks to be within reach in the wilderness. Enjoy!


Winter brings a whole different style of excitement to the back country of John Day. High altitude and cold months combine for a solid snowpack which lasts late into the year. The local snow mobile club, Grant County Snowballers, in association with the Oregon State Snowmobile Association  (OSSA)  lead the way by grooming trails and expanding territory for riding.

For new riders new to the area, Huddleston (Southeast of Prairie City) is one of our best hubs, riders can access easy trails in all directions. Additionally, Canyon Creek is close to town and a popular launch spot, and from there trails to Seneca and up to High Lakes and Logan Valley are good options for riders starting out.

Links :

Strawberry MOUNTAINS

The Strawberry Mountains are located southeast of John Day, Oregon, in the Malheur National Forest. The prominent range contains a 69,000-acre wilderness area and provides numerous recreation opportunities. Most visitors enjoy the area between the months of June and October. Enjoy rugged hiking at elevations ranging from 4,000 ft to the 9,038-foot summit of Strawberry Mountain. Over a hundred miles of trails cross the wilderness, offering vista after vista to the enterprising hiker.

Use of motor vehicles and motorized equipment in wilderness areas is prohibited. See for additional information.

Links :

wildlife sightings

Seek and find wildlife in its natural surroundings. Black Bears, Elk, Eagles and so much more, making their livelihoods in the untrammeled wilderness surrounding John Day. Depending on the season, you can drive a good distance into the wilderness, or when snow is on the ground, you will need to hike or even snowshoe. Beautiful and inspiring sights await.


Apart from the bustle of urban centers is a classic American frontier town. Located in Oregon’s northeast quadrant, the City of John Day is rich in pride and history. Founded in the 1880’s the Gold Rush saw the population balloon to be the largest in the State. Today the high desert setting of the City remains a beacon of independence and self-determination.

Visitors are often drawn to the area to enjoy attractions such as the Grant County Fair or to revel in the open terrain year-round. Upon further familiarity a sense of strong community and quality time resonates. With vision the leadership of John Day has undertaken smart development to reinforce public services, such as schools and parks. A confidence in the future can be seen in the many initiatives to invest in new areas of economic growth including technology applied to agriculture, light manufacturing and hospitality.

"The Strawberry Wilderness, a place where I can truly be alone"

Lisa, Resident

"What I love about John Day is you can be at a business lunch and out the window see your wife and kids walk by"

- Father, Resident 

"When it comes to playing outdoors, John Day has a slice of everything, whether your rolling in the dirt or tearing up the snow "

- Garrett, Resident


Supported by the City of John Day
Designed by Straw to Gold