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Ritter Road Swimming Hole

Middle Fork of the John Day River

John Day + Blue Mountains Area, Oregon

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Ritter Road Swimming Hole

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  • Middle Fork of the John Day River from the swimming hole off of Ritter Road.- Ritter Road Swimming Hole
  • Middle Fork of the John Day River from the swimming hole off of Ritter Road.- Ritter Road Swimming Hole
  • The swimming hole is below a bridge that crosses the river.- Ritter Road Swimming Hole
  • - Ritter Road Swimming Hole
  • Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium), an invasive yet attractive plant, grows near the river.- Ritter Road Swimming Hole
  • A swimmer does a backflip off of the cliff jumping spot at the swimming hole.- Ritter Road Swimming Hole
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Easy access. Slow-moving river.
Cons: 
Limited nearby amenities. Cows graze near the water.
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Region:
John Day + Blue Mountains Area, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Location type: 
Cliff jumping
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Team

Located along the Middle Fork of the John Day River just a few miles from its convergence with the North Fork, a hot spring and a swimming hole offer a rare attraction in what is otherwise farm country. Ritter Road breaks away from Highway 395 between Pendleton and John Day, and this swimming hole, at mile marker 10, is just a mile away from the more heavily-trafficked Ritter Hot Springs.

On hot days, local families and visitors looking to take a break from the hot springs descend on the Ritter Road Swimming hole, one of the river's few swimmable, slow-moving spots, and swimmers plunge off of the not-so-high cliff jumping spot. The rest of the the river along Ritter Road is either too shallow for swimming or would require crossing private land to gain access, but this spot is easily accessible. Generally empty, this spot gets more visitors on Saturdays in the summer when Ritter Hot Springs is closed to the public.

Cows graze along the river, and rattlesnakes are a rare but possible occupant as well; avoid drinking the water while swimming, and exercise caution while walking in the taller grasses.

Cliff Jumping Safety

Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

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