John Day River Glamping at Service Creek, Oregon

25 10 2021

In April 2021 I had a couple of mid-week days off, and a great weather forecast. I also had a newly minted fishing license and was anxious to go angling! The John Day River is a beautiful, snow-melt fed river originating in the Elkhorn Mountains of northeast Oregon. Its flows are most favorable for fishing and rafting in the late spring to early summer. After that, as the snow melts, its levels drop. I hadn’t been out there in some years, but I remembered a riverside business at Service Creek. It’s called Service Creek Resort. looked at their website, and discovered they were launching a glamping (luxurious camping) area! I called, and they told me to come on out. I would be their first and only customer, being so early in the season. It’s a 4-hour drive through the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and into the rolling farms filled with rows and rows of wind generators.

Service Creek Resort is a multi-service operation. They rent river rafting gear, have a shuttle service, a small bed and breakfast, a restaurant, and the new glamping area. It is in a field behind the bed & breakfast. In old-school style, a staffer was waiting for me at the B&B and came out to greet me. I parked at the B&B, we boarded an ATV and she took me to my glamping tent.

The B&B has several rooms to rent. Glamping is behind, across the creek!

The glamping area has several tents of different configurations in a field. There is a common area with a fireplace, propane grills, and games like foosball.

My tent was set up on a platform. It had a porch with chairs. On the inside, an area carpet, king size bed, nightstand, and sofa. Very comfy! $65 a night.

The staff was great! As I work in the paddling business, and we rent rafts and other gear, I was instantly brought into their family. We heartily shared stories about customers and renting gear. I felt right at home.

I took my fishing gear down to the river and tried my luck. A number of fishermen floated by on rafts, in inflatable kayaks, or drift boats. VERY beautiful. It is canyon country, and in springtime the canyon walls can become green.

I picked a spot easily accessible by foot, with a deep pool I hoped held fish. After some time, and trying different lures, a strike! The John Day River is a warm river, and holds lots of Smallmouth Bass. The fight was on! But this one got off. Oh well, try again. After a few minutes another hit! This one I brought home. It flip flopped around and got all dirty but I snapped a photo.

That made my day! When I showed the photo back at the restaurant the waitress said it was a good one. I quickly took out the hook and let it go back into the river.

I had dinner at the restaurant, and enjoyed sharing stories with the staff. The waitresses on this night were high school girls, and this was their first night of the season. So I was their training guinea pig! It was super fun.

Sleeping in the tent was very comfortable. The bed was sumptuous. I left the mosquito netting at the front zipped, but left the canvas open. Later in the night, a breeze kicked up and I closed it up. It warmed up quickly without the breeze. It was so nice I would definitely do it again! Glamping is glorious!