Sleep in a Tipi at Clyde Holliday State Park Near John Day, Oregon

Industry Observer

You don't have to be a Plains Indian living in the 19th century to be able to sleep in a tipi.  Just make a reservation to stay at one of the two tipis available at an Oregon State Park in central Oregon. 

Clyde Holliday State Park SignClyde Holliday State Recreation Site

The Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site is along US Highway 26, about seven miles west of the town of John Day.  The John Day River borders the park to the south.

The 31 campsites are first-come, first-served and have electric and water.  Hot showers, flush toilets, ice, firewood, and an RV dump station are available.

Some campers use the park as a base to visit local attractions: Kam Wah Chung Museum in John Day (not to be missed!), the John Day Fossil Beds, Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area, and bird-watching at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The park is named for local rancher Clyde Holliday who came to Grant County in the 1940s and established a logging operation.  He then branched out into cattle ranching. Holliday and his wife Earlene donated the land that eventually became part of the Oregon State Parks system.  An online brochure with a site map and descriptions of things to see and do nearby is a good resource to help plan a visit.

Tipi Camping

My wife and I have camped in many places, but we'd never slept inside a tipi before.  We made our reservations six months in advance to be sure we'd have the opportunity during our vacation road trip to eastern Oregon.

There are two tipis available.  Parking is about one hundred yards away, but there is a wagon available to help haul camping gear to the site.  Two wooden doors open up access to the interior.  Unlike the Indians, we had a concrete floor, electrical outlet, small space heater, bench, and sleeping mats.  The opening at the top provided some natural light.  We were warned by the camp host to sleep along the edges in case of rain.

Our patio area was fenced with brick pavers and a fire ring.  Having grown weary over the years of starting fires and battling smoke, we now use a portable propane fire ring to enjoy a hassle free campfire and even cook on it if we don't want to use our camp stove.

We slept comfortably for two nights, lulled to sleep by the sound of the nearby John Day River flowing by.  It was bittersweet having to leave to journey on to our next destination, but we know that we can return the next time we're in central Oregon.


Cooking Breakfast on Fire Ring


Day Use Area

Besides camping, the Park has a large day use area with a well-maintained stretch of lawn, shaded by tall cottonwood trees and bordered by the John Day River to the south.  It's a convenient rest stop and picnic location for travelers on Highway 26 and popular with local residents for family reunions and other celebrations.


Clyde Holliday State Park Day Use Area



Clyde Holliday State Park is located 1 mile east of Mount Vernon, on US Highway 26, on the right, and 7 miles west of John Day on US Highway 26 on the left.


John Day River in Clyde Holliday State Park



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Rick Obst is an Arizona native who moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2005 and fell in love with the verdant Pacific Northwest.  He enjoys photography and discovering the many people, places, and events that make this part of the world so special.

To learn more about Eugene, Lane County, and western Oregon, visit 365 and More Things to do in Lane County, Oregon on Facebook.  You'll see hundreds of pictures and links to discover the beauty and attractions of this special area.



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Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Wow, what an interesting experience.  The outdoor space looks great and sleeping by the river sounds even better.

The concrete floor, though....I'd have to bring a blow up air mattress. 

Feb 22, 2018 01:42 PM #1
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Those are delightful views, Rick.  I can imagine wonderful memories being made in a place like that.

Feb 23, 2018 05:57 PM #2
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

CONGRATULATIONS Rick, on having this blog FEATURED in the PHOTOS group!

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Feb 23, 2018 05:58 PM #3
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