High Desert

river Camping


Experience Oregon's John Day River

Enjoy the high desert landscape and meandering water along Oregon's longest free-flowing river.
Woman rafting oregon high desert John Day river

High Desert Women's Retreat

Camping and rafting with option for fishing. For anyone who identifies as female, ages 13 and older. 

Oregon fishing for smallmouth bass on the john day river

High Desert Bass Fishing Adventure

Camping and smallmouth bass fishing. Experienced guides provide all fishing gear.

Oregon family fishing high desert smallmouth bass john day river

High Desert Family Adventure

Camping and rafting with option for fishing. Great for all ages and abilities.

Looking for an outdoor family adventure that will build memories to share for the rest of your life? Or a group activity or corporate retreat that offers beautiful high desert scenery, rafting, smallmouth bass fishing, kayaking, hiking, and camping combined with excellent gourmet food? How about a chance to get away to rest and refocus on a women's only retreat? Or an angler's trip built entirely around catching as many smallmouth bass as possible? Whatever your flavor, we have the perfect trip for you.


Come join us and drift the peaceful waters of the John Day River corridor. This river offers Class I-II whitewater, perfect for scenic rafting and kayaking. You can wet a line in search of the many smallmouth bass in the river and we can teach you to kayak in our easy to master, sit-on-top  kayaks.

Start the summer off right with the fresh air, sunshine, and wildlife of the high desert. You'll make special memories camping along the shore under the stars, far from city lights. Spend your time at camp playing games, eating great food, getting to know your fellow adventurers, or just finally finishing that book.

This trip operates on the traditional territory of the ancestral lands of the Tenino, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and the Numu (Northern Paiute).



3-8 days


Starting at $795 plus 3% public lands use fee


Age 3+

Women's only trips open to age 13+ and those who identify as female


John Day River near Mitchell, OR.

Nearest airport is Bend/Redmond (RDM)


Camping in tents along the river shore. All equipment provided.


Mellow: Class I-II rapids

John Day river oregon big horn sheep


  • Experienced guides 

  • Transportation to and from the Redmond/Bend Airport (if needed).

  • We can arrange pre-trip hotel accommodations in Redmond or Prineville the night before the trip (if needed). We also offer the option of meeting at the river the night before the trip begins to get an early start on your trip.

  • Three delicious meals a day, prepared by our excellent camp chef. Great desserts and snacks too!

  • All camping equipment: tents (2 people per tent unless otherwise arranged), sleeping pads, sleeping cots, dry bags, fishing equipment, solar showers, camp toilet etc.

  • All boating and safety equipment, including life jackets and satellite phone.

  • 30-50+ bass per day depending on the amount of dedicated fishing time (catch and release). Oregon fishing license required.

  • We can also arrange post-trip hotel accommodations in Redmond or Prineville the last night of the trip if you are catching a flight out the next day.


  • Personal clothes and toiletries.

  • Oregon fishing license (if applicable)

  • Camera or phone for capturing the memories

  • Alcoholic beverages (non-alcoholic beverages will be provided)

  • Tips for guides


The John Day River in spring and summer is typically warm and dry. In the event that we do get some precipitation or cold weather, we will still continue with our trip . Please check the weather before your arrival and pack appropriately.

Arrowhead staff will do all the camp and kitchen set up, as well as all the cooking. If you're interested in learning boating, fishing, or camp craft skills, we'd love to teach you anything you want to learn! 

Camp chef river trip oregon john day river rafting

Frequently asked questions

Is this a good trip for families with children?

Yes! We recommend this trip for any families with children starting as young as three years old. If you have a child younger than that, give us a call and we'll see if it's a good fit. You'll be able to sit back and enjoy the river while the kiddos play in the calm water, dig holes in the sandy shore, and enjoy drinks and snacks that you don't need to prepare or clean up. Please note that Arrowhead staff are not trained childcare professionals, and you will be responsible for your children at all times.

Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?

Yes! We can accommodate almost all food allergies and dietary restrictions. After you have booked your trip, we'll send you a questionnaire where you can tell us any dietary restrictions you may have based on preference, religion, or allergies. For severe food allergies we will do everything we can to minimize the risk of cross contamination between foods, but it is never possible to remove the risk entirely. Let's chat if you have concerns. Please note, some food substitutes are significantly more expensive to purchase and prepare, and a small fee may be added to your trip to account for dietary requests.

What should I pack?

Once you have booked your trip we will send you a detailed packing list based on your trip's season and location. Our goal is to provide any specialty river or camping gear you may need, so you don't have to go out and purchase anything new for your trip. Basic items for all trips include:

  • Swimsuit
  • River clothing (quick dry items)
  • Camp clothes (warm cozy layers for cool evenings)
  • Hiking shoes
  • River sandals
  • Toiletries
  • Sunglasses and hat
  • Camera
  • Personal medications
  • Book or journal

What are you doing to protect against COVID-19?

For information on our current COVID-19 practices, please see our COVID-19 page.

Is it ok if I've never been camping before?

Yes! No experience is necessary for any of our trips. We love to introduce newcomers to the world of rivers and camping. You're welcome to sit back and relax while we handle everything, or we'd be happy to teach you about camp cooking, setting up a tent, basic boating skills, or whatever else you'd like to learn.

Are there bathroom and shower facilities?

On the river we use a camp toilet system called a groover, which will be set up near camp. We set up a privacy tent around the toilet and strive to give you the best view possible while you relax and take care of business. Many folks find that using the camp toilet is easier, cleaner, and far more scenic than they expected. We will also have warm water solar showers set up with privacy tents for your use. Give us a call or email with any specific questions or concerns - we want you to feel comfortable on your trip, and there are no stupid questions.

What is the cancellation policy?

For complete cancellation policy info please visit our cancellation policy page.

Will I have internet access and cell phone reception?

In some areas you may get a few bars on your phone, but you should not plan on reliable phone or internet access. In the event of an emergency, we take a satellite phone on all trips.

What are the risks I should be aware of?

On any river expedition, there are inherent risks. We work hard to plan ahead and prepare for incidents that may occur. As a participant, safety concerns you should be aware of are:

  • Water safety
  • Wildlife
  • Sunburn
  • Illness
Simple tools to manage those risks are:
  • Wear lifejackets and follow guide instruction while swimming
  • Don't touch or approach wildlife, take photos at a distance
  • Apply sunscreen early and often
  • Wash hands frequently