LePage Park sits at the confluence of John Day and Columbia Rivers near the John Day Lock and Dam.
Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the park was our first stop on our planned six-month meander. We’ve camped here at least half-a-dozen times over the years. It is a convenient location on the Oregon side of the scenic Columbia Gorge. The campground features 22 RV sites with electric and water hookups. Amenities include bathrooms with warm showers, docks and a dump station.
The most popular activity at LePage Park is fishing for salmon, steelhead, walleye, bass, catfish and sturgeon. Other activities to fill your time include boating, beach access and wildlife watching.
We’ve spotted big horn sheep and bald eagles. Camp Hosts Hank and Ann David report: “We’ve had in our yard deer, porcupine families, a cliff wren, and nesting Say’s Phoebe, chukar, small cottontail bunnies, mink, ringtail cat, sage rats, and rattle snake under our steps.”
Other birds living in or near the park include ospreys, pelicans, American goldfinch, and killdeer. “This year we found a fox den, but never saw the fox,” said Ann David. “Ranger Greg said they will raise their kits in the den, then leave.”
LePage is open mid-April to mid-October. Reservations are available at Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777. Without reservations, availability is first-come, first-serve.
If you go to LePage Park:
Campsites: $25 per night. (National Park Service’s Senior and Access passes give campers 50 percent discount.)
Day use fee: $5 per car
Additional vehicle at a campsite: $5 per vehicle per night
Boat ramp and tie-up dock fee: $5 per day
Dump station: $5 for non-campers
Directions: From I-84, take exit 114, five miles east of Rufus, Ore. The campground is on the eastbound side of the interstate. Westbound campers will exit and follow signs under the roadway.
John Day Lock and Dam
A big bonus for families is the nearby John Day Lock and Dam. It is one of the three locks and four dams in the Columbia River basin that is operated by the Army COE Portland District.
Located 216 miles upriver from the mouth of the Columbia River near the city of Rufus, Ore., the John Day Lock and Dam was dedicated in 1968. Construction was completed in 1971.
“The project, which consists of a navigation lock, spillway, powerhouse and fish passage facilities, is authorized for navigation and hydroelectric power generation.”
Public facilities include Giles French Park, fish viewing room and visitors’ gallery on the Oregon side of the river. Access to the dam is from Interstate 84 at Exit 109.