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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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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.


Lessons only nature can teach. Honest spaces and unvarnished experiences

Tap into a full spectrum of emotion to be found immediately outside of John Day. Bountiful and resourceful public wilderness is a year round amenity. Access points provide both headspace and freedom to roam. Whether self-powered or motorized exploration, rowdy ATV jaunts, solo trips on skis or families camping lakeside, you can design your own good time.

Whether you enjoy bagging peaks, or gaining followers, there are memories waiting to be gotten in the open spaces surrounding John Day. Setting out for adventure, good things to keep in mind are equipment rental outlets in John Day, such as the Polaris Dealership, and Permits issued from the National Forest Service site.

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