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Coming to see us? There are some great places to pitch your tent or park your trailer in and around Wheeler County. 


Camping choices in the area include a number of US Forest Service Campgrounds and camping areas. These are generally more than 10 miles from town and most have minimal amenities with large camp sites. The largest and most developed USFS campground is Ochoco Divide on US Hwy 26, 17 miles west of Mitchell. For more information on this and other USFS sites, contact Ochoco National Forest at (541) 416-6500.

Wheeler County offers camping at several locations, including the Wheeler County Fairgrounds and the newly renovated Spray Riverfront Park. For more information and Wheeler County locations please visit the "recreation" page on their county website.

Umatilla National Forest: Bull Prairie Lake

This moderate-sized campground is located adjacent to 28-acre Bull Prairie Lake, which is stocked annually with trout.  This is a lovely spot to spend a day or more fishing, hiking or just relaxing in sunshine under the tall pines.  There are free day-use picnic areas along the lakeshore adjacent to the campground.  A paved loop trail around the lake and several small docks provide accessibility for all.
The campground is located near the Morrow/Grant County OHV Park.  ATV riding is not allowed in Bull Prairie Campground.



For more information visit: Umatilla National Forest: Bull Prairie Lake Campground 

Cottonwood Canyon State Park 

Cottonwood Canyon State Park is rugged and vast, from the vertical cliffs carved by the John Day River to deep side canyons and arid, rocky grasslands that extend for miles in all directions. The park’s 8,000-plus acres are open for exploring, stargazing and contemplating the elemental forces that carved this unique landscape. 


For more information visit: Oregon State Parks: Cottonwood Canyon

Clyde Holliday State Park 

Think of Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site as an oasis. Its tall, willowy cottonwood trees provide shade and serenity. Each campsite is clothed with a variety of trees and other plants to give you that private, secluded feeling. The park borders the beautiful John Day River and is surrounded on all sides by some of Oregon's most pristine wilderness areas. You're as likely to have wildlife neighbors as human ones: the majestic Rocky Mountain elk and mule deer are frequent visitors. You can experience the thrill of seeing steelhead rush upriver to spawn. The park lies in the shadow of the Strawberry Mountain Range just a short drive away.


For more information visit: Oregon State Park: Clyde Holliday

Oregon Paleo Lands  
Institute Center

2024 Summer Hours

Thursday - Sunday 


*we will be closed

one hour for lunch

Want to Volunteer?

The Paleo Lands Center invites you, to meet the public and school groups at our educational hub of the John Day Basin. Volunteers can serve as Board Members, Advisors, Center helpers and docents and help share exciting natural history exhibits, brochures, and books with visitors and schools.
Please Contact the Center at

541-763-4480 or for details


Road and Weather Conditions


*Please call or email if you would like to schedule your school group for a visit during the week. Thank you!


Contact Information

333 West Fourth Street

Post Office Box 104

Fossil, OR 97830
Phone: (541) 763-4480




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