John Day Travel Guide

Located just north of Canyon City in Oregon, John Day was named after a Virginian who was part of the 1811 Astor Expedition, perhaps best known for his fits of dementia and an incident where he was stripped naked by natives. The largest of the communities in Grant County, known for its ranches and timber, tourists come here for the fishing, hunting, winter sports, and also for the world-famous Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

Oregon’s natural wonders are paramount in the John Day area and outdoor recreation opportunities abound throughout the region. There are literally thousands of acres of land dedicated to public use for hiking, horseback riding, hunting and fishing, as well as cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter.

The volcanic deposits that comprise John Day River basin have preserved the area’s plant and animal heritage in the many fossils that have been discovered here. Today visitors can see the preserved fossils for themselves at the 14,000 acre John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.


Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum: for anyone interested in Oregon’s history, this fascinating museum chronicles the legacy of the Chinese, who formed the core of the workforce that contributed so significantly to the development of the region.

Unity Forest State scenic corridor: is home to a wide range of wildlife; depending on your luck, you might see antelope, black bear, bobcat, elk or mule deer.

John Day Fossil Beds: the three sites here have revealed some of the most important fossil finds in the US including those of a saber-toothed cat which was preserved under a layer of volcanic ash.