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Oregon State Parks

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USA Parks
Central & Eastern Region
Bates State Park
Western Meadow Lark ©
Western Meadow Lark
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John Day, Oregon   97817
(lat:44.5925 lon:-118.5098) map location

Phone: 800-551-6949
Bates State Park was once the site of a thriving lumber mill and an adjacent company town set in a lush valley in the Blue Mountains. The mill closed in the mid-1970s. Families--and in some instances their houses--moved to nearby Prairie City and John Day. The mill buildings and town were dismantled the land sat empty for more than 35 years.

The memory of Bates lives on in many of its community members, and the site is now a state park, thanks in large part to their efforts. When you visit or stay at the park, look for the interpretive panels that describe Bates life in the early to mid 20th century and the steps taking place now to restore the land and waterways.

You can explore Bates on the more than three miles of hiking trails. Viewpoints along the trails overlook the park, old mill pond and valley. The 131-acre park lies along the Middle Fork John Day River, Bridge Creek and Clear Creek. Check the Oregon Department Fish Wildlife website for fishing regulations.
History of the Area
OPRD purchased the property from Grant County for $407,000 in April 2008, using lottery fund dollars. The park is the site of a former lumber mill Bates Mill, which operated from 1917 to 1975.
28 primitive sites for tents or self-contained RVs
Vault toilets
Potable water
Hiker/biker camp with six sites and electric plug-ins
Universal access 3 campsites are accessible to campers with disabilities.

Bates State Park is

1. Camp Loop Trail: This is a 0.5-mile easy trail that loops around the campground, perfect for beginners or those looking to take a leisurely stroll.

2. Bates State Park Perimeter Trail: A moderate difficulty level hiking path of about 3 miles long which encircles the entire park providing panoramic views of surrounding landscapes and wildlife spotting opportunities.

3. Middle Fork John Day River Pathway: An approximately two mile-long scenic route along the river's edge with plenty of spots for fishing and picnicking.

4. Old Railbed Hiking Route: Follows an old railroad bed through dense forest areas; it's roughly one mile in length but can be extended by connecting other trails within the park system.

5. Summit Viewpoint Track: It's just under half-a-mile hike up to this viewpoint where you'll get stunning vistas over Oregon countryside - especially beautiful at sunrise or sunset!

6. Wildflower Walkway: During springtime, this short loop becomes carpeted with colorful wildflowers making it popular among nature photographers.

7. Pine Forest Trekking Course: This challenging three-miles course takes hikers deep into pine forests offering solitude amidst natural beauty.

8. Bridal Veil Falls Accessible via Side Trails: Though not directly part of main routes, several side paths lead towards these picturesque falls adding extra adventure element during hikes.

9. Mountain Bike Paths: Apart from regular walking tracks there are also designated mountain bike pathways crisscrossing throughout state park allowing visitors option to explore on wheels too .

10 Winter Snowshoe Routes: In winter months some trails transform into snowshoe routes giving opportunity for different kind outdoor activity.

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Nearby Hotels

1. Start by heading east on I:84 E for approximately 200 miles.
2. Take exit 304 toward US:395 S/Umatilla/Hermiston/Pendleton and merge onto OR-207 S/US-30 W.
3. Continue to follow OR:207 S for about 50 miles until you reach Pendleton.
4. In Pendleton, take a slight right onto SE Court Ave (signs for U.S Route 395).
5. Follow signs to stay on US Highway 395 South as it merges with Interstate Avenue/Southgate Place/Old Pilot Rock Hwy/OR:Hwy East/Westgate.
6. Continue driving south on US Highway 395 through several towns including Stanfield and Hermiston.
7. After passing through John Day Dam Recreation Area continue straight ahead towards Long Creek/Fossil/Mitchell/John Day/Burns.
8. Turn left at County Road #20 / Bridge St., following signs that indicate Unity Reservoir & Bates State park.
9. Follow this road which will lead directly into the state park entrance after around another mile or so.

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Oregon State Parks