Located on the border of John Day River in northeastern Oregon, Clyde Day State Recreation Site is a shaded, secluded natural retreat for RV campers. The park is surrounded by some of the best-preserved land in the state. There are miles of hiking and biking trails that lead along the river. You’ll also find some of the best birdwatching in the region. Dozens of species visit the river and pond, including the bald eagle, great grey owl, and American white pelican.
In addition to the natural wonders, the park has several interpretive programs in the summer at the amphitheater by the RV campground. The Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site has displays and exhibits that highlight the local history of the park from the gold mining days when it was an active trading post. There was also a Chinese community center, and you can learn more about the people that worked the gold mines.
The recreation site has 31 RV sites located near John Day River, all with excellent views of the water. All of the sites also have electrical hookups for your rig. You’ll be near the park’s nature trail, amphitheater, and heritage site.
Clyde Holliday State Recreation site is located in northeastern Oregon, split between Portland and Boise. The site is easy to access by RV, and the campground is right next to the main entrance. If you are coming from Portland, take US-26 east from the city and you will get to the park in around five hours. From Boise, take I-84 west from the city to US-26 and you will reach the park in around three and a half hours.
The park is located just off US Highway 26, so it’s easy to access without driving on any backroads. The recreation site itself is small, with one main road leading to the campsites. The road is well paved and wide enough that large RVs can get to the campground with no issues.
The 31 sites in the campground all have electrical hookups. All of the sites are located within proximity to hot showers and modern restrooms, as well as an RV dump station. There is also fire wood and ice for sale next to the campground. The park is pet-friendly, as long as dogs are kept on a leash.
There is an outdoor amphitheater that hosts summer programs. You’ll also be close to the park’s visitor center, as well as the nature trail. The sites in the campground are open from April through September, and are first-come, first-served. They fill up quickly beginning in spring and running through early fall, so try to get to the campground early if you want a spot. You can also call the park office in advance to ask about available campsites.
The park also has two teepee sites located next to the main campground. These sites do not have hookups of any kind. These sites can be reserved online up to nine months in advance. As there are only two sites, they fill up quickly, so book as early as possible.
The park is situated along the banks of John Day River, making for excellent fishing throughout the year. The river is famous for having some of the best bass fishing in the country. Peak season runs from mid June until August. However, you should get bites anytime between early spring and late fall.
The river also has summer steelhead, which you can spot in season as they spawn. These fish are catch and release, with the exception of any fin clipped hatchery strays. Fishing is excellent from the shore, but you can also take a boat out onto the river.
The park also offers interpretive programs throughout peak season in the summer. These programs are hosted at the amphitheater that is conveniently located next to the RV campground on John Day River.
Programs vary widely, from nature discussions to shows targeted at kids. Visit the park office for more information on programs that are available during your stay.
The park is home to the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site. This building hosts historic artifacts from when the area was a trading post near a gold mine. There was also a herbal apothecary, as well as a Chinese community center.
The site is open from May through October, and you’ll have to sign up for a ranger-led tour. These tours are free, and can be booked at the visitor center. The visitor center also hosts a number of interpretive displays that highlight the area’s history. There is a gift shop located in the visitor center as well.
You won't be disappointed if you pack your bike in your rig. The park has a number of scenic bike paths that lead along the river and through the surrounding willow and cottonwood forests. The park is also right next to the Old West Scenic Bikeway, which leads you along some of the state’s most famous historical sites and most beautiful terrain.
The park’s biking trails are also perfect for wildlife viewing, as you can catch species such as elk and deer as they come down to the river and the pond.
Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site is surrounded by some of the well-protected natural preserves in the state. This makes for excellent hiking no matter the season. The park also has a nature trail that follows the river to a secluded pond area. The trails picks up right by the teepee camping area, and leads to some of the best spots for wildlife viewing in the park. It can be reached in just minutes from the main RV camping area at Cascara Campground.
If you plan on packing your binoculars in your campervan you are in luck. The park is also an excellent destination for any RV camper interested in birdwatching. You’ll find dozens of species near John Day River in the park, many of them native to the Northwest.
In spring and summer, look for American white pelican and gull. You’ll also be able to spot bald eagle, as well as western bluebird and great grey owl. Check the visitor center for bird checklists that will tell you what to look out for. Oregon’s park department also produces a number of resources on birds in the state, available on their website.