John Day River - Overnight Permits

John Day Wild and Scenic River

See Segment Map and Descriptions Click "Read More" to see what permit you need.

The John Day River offers a range of recreational opportunities including boating, fishing, and camping. 

An online permit is required year-round

for both day and overnight boating trips within the Wild and Scenic section of the John Day River (Service Creek to Tumwater Falls) and is only available here on  

One permit covers an entire group for the length of the trip and is based on launch date and launch segment. Launch segment and date cannot be changed.  



You do not need a separate permit per segment. You may takeout at any boat ramp downstream of your launch point even if you float into other segments. Exceptions: Segment 3 and Long Distance. Click each Entry Segment link for details.  

Segment 3A and 3B High Season permits do not allow parties to takeout downstream of Clarno

If you launch in Segment 3 the last week of April (Low Season) and plan to float past Clarno you also need a High Season permit for Segment 2A for the day you plan to float past Clarno unless you are below Clarno on April 30. We recommend limiting layovers during this transition period.


Parties are required to register at the boat launch. Print the permit and leave the bottom registration section of the permit in the box at the launch kiosk. Carry the rest of the permit on the river in an accessible location.   


Whitewater boating skills are necessary to navigate all sections of the river. Water levels fluctuate greatly.

May through early July often have the best flows. See water level recommendations per craft , Current water levels , short term and long term flow forecasts. Find descriptions at American whitewater. Flows can change quickly; secure boats!

Visit our BLM John Day River website for more information.

Notifications and Alerts

Permit & Season Information

This permit is for an Overnight boating trip. For Day Use permits click here.  

Permits are unlimited except during High Season which is from:

Daily Rolling Release: High Season permits are first-come first-served and become available on at 7am Pacific Time 4 months and 1 month in advance of a given launch date. See the High Season Release Schedule .     

You cannot print your permit more than 14 days before your trip. Prior to printing your permit, you can cancel directly on Once printed, you must email or call the BLM to cancel. Cancelled permits return to the availability calendar. See Fees/Cancellations.

Trip leaders or alternates must be present the entire trip. Add alternate trip leaders when first obtaining your permit, they cannot be added later. You can be a trip leader or alternate on 1 overnight permit at a time.

Need to Know

When reserving a permit on this river, I understand that:

Annual Fire Closure

Fires in Firepans Only

Portable Toilet Requirement

Pack It In, Pack It Out

Motorized Boating

Fee Policy

Reservation Fee:

A $6.00 non-refundable reservation fee is required for each permit issued. Only one permit is needed per boating group. Each member of a group must remain with the trip leader while on the river.

Recreation Fee:

A non-refundable recreation fee is due when a reservation is made for trips entering the Wild and Scenic section during the High Season (between Service Creek and Tumwater Falls from May 1- July 15, and between Cottonwood Canyon and Tumwater Falls from Sep 1- Nov 30).  

The recreation fee is $20 per overnight trip per group, or $10 per one-day trip per group. All recreation fees are used directly on the river to help keep launch sites and river campsites clean.

Cancellation Policy

Change Policy:

Cancellation Policy:

Contact Information

Mailing Address

Prineville District Office 3050 NE 3rd Street Prineville OR 97754

Phone Number

Email:, Phone: (541) 416-6700

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