Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area lies along the Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway, giving visitors a chance to see and enter a unique piece of mining history, as well as understand the effects it had over the surrounding landscape.

The Sumpter Valley Dredge is a massive mobile dredge and centerpiece of the park. Operating continuously from 1935-1954, the dredge ran 24 hours per day siphoning up the valley floor in search of gold. Over its lifetime, the dredge unearthed over $4.5 million in gold (adjusted for inflation and the current rate of gold, the current equivalent would have been $180 million).

The dredge operated by scooping up the valley floor, and then processing the gold found within. It had the ability to move 7 yards per minute. The effects, however, are still largely apparent stretching for miles up and down the valley, with much of the landscape still just disturbed piles of rocks.

Visitors to the park will find a Visitor Center which has gifts, as well as videos of workers speaking about their experience on the dredge. A QR Code can be scanned so that visitors can follow along on a virtual tour. There are three short trails throughout the Heritage Area, each on flat gravel. There is also a graveyard to mining tools and artifacts laying adjacent to the dredge that park workers are currently in the process of cataloging.

The dredge itself can be boarded during daytime hours from May 1st through October 31st. Guided tours are offered on weekends during this period.

During the offseason, the park grounds are open, however access to the dredge remains closed. The Heritage Area may be closed during snowy winter conditions.

There is a vault toilet onsite, along with several interpretive signs throughout the grounds. 

The Heritage Area is open daily from 7am to 7pm. Visitor Center open hours throughout the summer and fall open season are 10-4 Monday-Friday and 9-5 Saturday and Sunday.

In 1971, the Sumpter Valley Dredge was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

There is no fee to visit the park.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round


Open from

May 01 to October 31


Access to a unique historical feature. Easy walk throughout trails and park.


Limited hours.


ADA accessible
Historically significant
Family friendly
Guided tours
Picnic tables


Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

John Day + Blue Mountains Area, Oregon
John Day + Blue Mountains, Oregon
John Day +Blue Mountains Area, Oregon


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