South Fork John Day River Back Country Byway
Department of Transportation.
Enjoy the South Fork John Day River Back Country Byway. Drive through the canyon made of Columbia River Basalts, marvel at the old growth ponderosa pines, Douglas and white fir, and willows that line the road. Keep an eye out for the special status plants that are protected in this area. The river itself contains beautiful rapids and the Izee Falls, which drops 56 feet vertically.
If you want to spy some wildlife you can find several species at Murderer's Creek- deer, elk, black bear, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and birds. The Murderer's Creek Wildhorse Management Area encompasses 150,000 acres and is home to over 100 wild horses.
For people who like to learn about the past, you can drive by the historic Rockpile Ranch. This ranch was established in the late 19th Century and is still in operation today. Also, there is a small two-room schoolhouse located in Izee, about 34 miles upstream from Dayville. The school was used until 1989, when it closed its doors to students. Now it is used for community functions.
Getting to the Byway:
From Prinville to Dayville:
- Go west on SE 2nd St. toward SE Knowledge St.
- Turn right onto SE Knowledge St.
- Turn right onto E. 3rd St., or US 26.
- Follow US 62 for 77.7 miles.
- Follow John Day Hwy for 6.8 miles and start the Byway at Dayville.
From Baker City to Dayville:
- Go south on 3rd St. toward Auburn Ave.
- Turn left onto Auburn Ave.
- Turn right onto Dewey Ave., or OR 7.
- Follow OR 7 for 50.9 miles.
- Turn right onto US 26.
- Follow US 26 for 59.4 miles until you reach Dayville and begin driving the byway.
Navigating the Byway:
- Start the byway in Dayville going southeast on US 26.
- Turn slightly right (southwest) to go on to Country Road 42.
- Follow CR 42 for 9 miles.
- Turn slightly left (east) onto South Fork Rd.
- Take a sharp left (east) toward Sundstrom and go east through town.
- Take a sharp left (northeast) to get back on South Fork Rd.
- The road will loop around sharply to go back southwest.
- Continue to follow South Fork Road south for 15 miles.
- Stay right (west) at the fork to go on to South John Day Rd.
- Stay straight (southwest) to stay on South Fork John Day Rd.
- Turn left (southeast) to stay on South Fork John Day Rd.
- Turn slightly left (east) to go on to CR 63.
- Follow CR 63 for 7 miles and go through Izee.
- Stay on CR 63 going south until it merges with CR 68.
- Follow CR 68 south until the road ends.
- This is where the byway ends as well.