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Near the valley of the painted hills sits the little town of John Day. Ranches line the road to town, and not long ago cattle drives were a regular event on Main Street. The town is a hub for this rural area, bringing locals to the farmer's market, small museums, and the big county fair. The Oregon town sits between two national forests: Malheur and Umatilla. They cover 3 million acres of the Blue Mountains, rolling through dessert grasslands, alpine lakes, and sage and juniper groves. Campers can choose from a half dozen campgrounds within an hour's drive. Tent camping here leans toward the rustic, with vault toilets and potable water. Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site is a better choice for amenities. Just west of town, the campground has water and electrical for RV camping, plus hot showers and a dump station. The wooded camp sits on the banks of the John Day River for fishing and swimming. The painted hills are one of Oregon's top natural wonders. Layers of colored soil give the hills a striped appearance. Visit in the late afternoon, when the colors are at their most dramatic. You can find them at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, along with a fossil bed site. If you prefer to stay in town, check out the RV park at the Grant County Fairgrounds. The park offers full hook-up sites and is close to the town swimming pool.

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