Welcome to Priest Hole Recreation Area!
For a rustic overnight stay deep in eastern Oregon, let your tires roll past the Painted Hills…one of
Oregon’s Seven Wonders…and drive deep into John Day River Territory to the Priest Hole Recreation
Site. Although primitive, camping here lands you in the middle of the Wild and Scenic John Day
River, designated for scenery, recreation, fish, wildlife and geologic values. Camping is allowed
everywhere, including on the gravel bar northeast of Priest Hole, where you sleep to the gurgle of the
river and stepping out of your tent or trailer lands your foot in the water.
Know before you go
Open YEAR ROUND but the rough road can make access difficult in winter.
ACCESSIBILITY is primitive and not easily accessible for people with disabilities.
no fEES for camping or floating the one-mile section around Priest Hole.
There is one toilet; NO potable water, trash cans or campsite amenities.
PETS ARE ALLOWED under owner control. Watch for rattlesnakes.
Hunting/fishing licenses are required . Fire restrictions run
June 1 – September 30 (liquid gas or propane only).
Priest Hole is located on the John Day River about 12 miles from Mitchell, Oregon. From
Prineville, head east on Highway 26 and turn north on Burnt Ranch Road toward the John
Day Fossil Beds, Painted Hills Unit. Pass the Painted Hills and follow the gravel road for 3
miles. Take a right (uphill) at the junction of Priest Hole or Burnt Ranch Rec Sites. From
there, take a left downhill, following the sign to Priest Hole.
point of interest
3050 N.E. 3rd St.
Prineville, OR 97754
Priest Hole is a local favorite for fishing and
swimming. Stopping here is a natural part of a
visit to the Painted Hills, Sutton Mountain Back
Country Byway and eastern Oregon!