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Best John Day Fossil Beds Camping | Oregon National Monument

Visiting John Day Fossil Beds and hoping to camp? Well, you're in luck. While you can't camp in the National Monument, there are campgrounds as close as 5 minutes away from the site. Some are both RV and tent-friendly, while others are better suited to one or another.


Have you been to John Day or the Painted Hills? Did you stay in one of these campsites? Let us know about your experience below!

John Day Fossil Beds Camping

Traverse the Pacific Northwest has reviewed some of the best campgrounds in the Pacific Northwest. We have everything you need to plan your next trip, whether you're hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, paddling, and more!


Is Camping Allowed at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument?

No, camping is not allowed within John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. But there are nearby campgrounds that you'll want to check out instead. None are too far from the national monument, so driving won't be an issue.



Is Dispersed Camping Allowed Near John Day Fossil Beds National Monument?

There are a few areas near John Day Fossil Beds where you can camp for free. But it's important to get a map ahead of time to make sure you know which areas are BLM land and which are privately owned. You can call the Bureau of Land Management or the USFS to find out more.


View of the Painted Hills
A view of the Painted Hills

Camping Near John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Here are the 11 best campgrounds near John Day Fossil Beds:


Muleshoe Campground

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 45 minutes

Muleshoe Campground is conveniently located for someone hopping to visit John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and the Painted Hills. It is very cheap, at only $5 a night. You can expect sweeping, beautiful scenery.


Amenities

You can expect the following amenities at Muleshoe Campground:

  • Toilets

  • Fire pits

  • Pets allowed

  • Tent-sites only


Dayville South Fork RV Park

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 5 minutes

Located in Dayville, Oregon, the South Fork RV park has 14 sites that offer several amenities and AT&T/Sprint cellphone service. It's close to the river with level sites and some shade. There is a dump station you can use when you leave the park.


Amenities

You can expect the following amenities at Dayville South Fork RV Park:

  • Toilets

  • Cellphone service

  • Tent and RV camping

  • Dumpsite

  • Nearby town

  • River access

Rates

Around $25 a night


Fish House Inn and RV Park

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 5 minutes

The Fish House Inn and RV Park is only 5 minutes from John Day Fossil Beds. It's one of the more conveniently located campgrounds if you're visiting the national monument.


It's in Dayville, Oregon, and offers small cabins, RV camping, and tent camping. It's close to swimming holes, the river, and tourist attractions.


Amenities

You can expect the following amenities at Fish House Inn and RV Park:


Fire pits

Grills

Pet-friendly

Horseshoe pits

Cabins


Rates

  • Rooms: $100+

  • Tent-camping: $20.00

  • RV full hookup site: $40.00

  • RV power-only site: $30.00

  • Dry camping: $25.00


John Day Fossil Beds Foliage
Exploring John Day Fossil Beds plant life


Ochoco Divide Campground

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 50 minutes

The Ochoco Divide Campground is at the top of the Divide within a pine forest. It's pretty high up, nearly 5,000 feet, so it's going to be cold throughout much of the year.


Nearby, you can also enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and birding if you get tired of the better-known Fossil Beds and Painted Hills (the campground is about 30 minutes from the Painted Hills). The campground is usually open from mid-may to October. There is no water available.


Amenities

You can expect the following amenities at Ochoco Divide Campground:

  • 4 vault toilets

  • Tent-sites

  • First-come-first-serve only

  • Picnic tables

  • Firewood for sale

Rates

  • $13 a night

  • $5 for an extra vehicle


Barnhouse Campground

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 30 minutes

Barnhouse Campground is very closely located to John Day Fossil Beds, only 30 minutes away. It's a first-come-first-serve campground that free and offers tent camping, toilets, picnic tables, and more. There is no water, but there is one vault toilet.


You can expect the following amenities at Barnhouse Campground:

  • Picnic tables

  • A toilet

  • Fire pits

  • Phone service

No fee is required!


Wheeler County Fairgrounds RV Park

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 1 hour 10 minutes


Only an hour or so from John Day Fossil Beds is Wheeler County Fairgrounds, RV Park. It's in Fossil, Oregon, just a couple of minutes off Highway 19, north of the National Monument.


Amenities

At Wheeler County Fairgrounds RV Park, you can expect the following amenities:

  • 12-space RV park with full hookups

  • Tent-camping

  • Restroom

  • Showers

Rates:

Tent site: $15 a night

RV site: $25.00 a night

RV weekly site: $175 a week

Shower: $3.00


A view of the Painted Hills
Admiring the colors at the Painted Hills

Fossil Motel & RV Park

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 1 hour 10 minutes

Close to the previous campground is the Fossil Motel & RV Park. It offers RV sites, tent sites, and full and partial hookups. The campground also has rooms for rent (motel-style). They range in rates from $80 to $90 a night. Pets are allowed for an extra fee!


Amenities

At Fossil Motel & RV Park, you can expect the following amenities:

  • Toilets

  • Showers

  • Free wifi

Rates:

  • RV sites (full hookups): $35 a night

  • RV weekly sites (full hookups): $210 a week

  • RV sites (partial hookups): $25 a night

  • RV weekly sites (partial hookups): $150 a night

  • Tent sites: $20 a night


Bear Hollow County Park

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 1 hour

Located in Wheeler County, near Fossil, Oregon, the Bear Hollow County Park Campground is another great camping option near John Day Fossil Beds. The campgrounds are in the woods and provide tent campers with flat spaces, picnic tables, and fire pits.


Amenities

At Bear Hollow County Park, you can expect the following amenities:

  • Tent sites

  • Fire grates

  • Water

  • Vault toilets

  • RV-sites

Rates:

A reported $25 a night for RV or tent camping



Shelton Wayside Campground

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 1 hour

A quiet campground near John Day Fossil Beds that feels isolated. There are bundles of firewood available, and every campground has a picnic table, fire ring, and closely available garbage cans. There are vault toilets that are quite clean. Plus, it's easy to get to from the road.


Amenities

At Shelton Wayside Campground, you can expect the following amenities:

  • Drinking water

  • Trash collection

  • Picnic tables

  • Reservable sites

  • Toilets

  • Pull-through sites

Rates:

$20 a night


John Day Fossil Beds Tree
Exploring the barren landscape of John Day Fossil Beds


Big Sarvice Corral Campground

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 50 minutes

Big Sarvice Corral Campground is only 50 minutes from John Day Fossil Beds. There are 15 campsites, toilets, and showers. There are both tent-camping sites and RV-camping sites.


Amenities:

At Big Sarvice Corral Campground, you can expect the following amenities:

  • Picnic tables

  • Electric hookups

  • Pets are allowed

  • Showers

  • Toilets

  • Trash collection

  • Water hookups

Rates:

Around $10 per tent-camping site.


Donnelly's Service Creek Campground

Distance from John Day Fossil Beds: 50 minutes

Donnelly's Service Creek Campground is off Highway 19, just south of Fossil, and a bit closer to the National Monument than other campgrounds on this list.


You'll exit Highway 19 and get onto 207 along John Day River, where the campground is located. The campground is most commonly used by boaters. All the sites are first-come-first-serve.



Amenities

You can expect the following amenities at Donnelly's Service Creek Campground:

  • Vault toilets

  • Tent and RV sites

  • Picnic tables

  • Fire pits

  • Pets are allowed

Rates:

Around $5.00-$10.00 a night



In Summary

John Day Fossil Beds is a one-of-a-kind location in Oregon that visitors often pair with a trip to the nearby Painted Hills. If you spent some time there and decided to camp at one of these campgrounds, let us know in the comments! We'd love to hear about your experience.


FAQs

Is John Day Fossil Beds open in winter?

Yes, John Day Fossil Beds is open in winter! During the winter season, you can visit from 9:00 to 5:00 every day.


Are John Day Fossil Beds worth visiting?

Yes, the John Day Fossil Beds are worth visiting! The area is totally unique, plus there are some pretty fun things to do nearby, like visiting the Painted Hills.


What are the three different parts of the John Day Fossil Beds?

The three different parts of John Day Fossil Beds are Sheep Rock, Painted Hills, and Clarno.


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