In Oregon you can find a variety of landscapes and climates to explore. East of the Cascades there are badlands and high desert, while west of the Cascades you will encounter ocean beaches, lush rainforests and rolling mountains. The diversity is what makes exploring this state so magical.
Camping is by far my favorite way to explore Oregon. There is no better way to get familiar with a place than by sleeping under the stars at night and hiking the trails during the day. I don’t have to tell you that Oregon has great camping, but sometimes I’m looking for something specific. I use The Dyrt app to decide which campgrounds I want to visit, and to even make lists for upcoming adventures. Because the app provides reviews and photos from actual campers, I know what to expect before I arrive.
To help inspire your upcoming summer adventures, I’ve created a list of some of my favorite campgrounds in the state, along with reviews and photos from fellow campers.
Peninsula Olallie Lake Campground
The Peninsula Olallie Lake Campground is located on a stretch of land that extends into Olallie Lake in Detroit. It’s the largest campground on Olallie Lake. You can go fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing on the lake, but keep in mind that motorized boats are not permitted. Swimming, however, is encouraged. Nearby, you can access a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as the Olallie Lake Resort, where you can buy basics in the onsite general store or rent row boats to take out on the lake.
“I have gone here every summer for the last 10 years,” says The Dyrt camper Natasha R. “Olallie Lake is one of the most beautiful and scenic spots around. You have a beautiful view of Mt. Jefferson on a crystal-clear lake.”
Cloud Cap Saddle Campground
Mt. Hood & the Columbia River Gorge
For a camping trip with a historic edge, the Cloud Cap Saddle Campground in the Mt. Hood National Forest is a great choice. Along with a spectacular view of Mt. Hood, you will find historic sites, including the Tilly Jane A-Frame, Tilly Jane Guard Station, and the Cloud Cap Inn. The hiking is ideal here, with access to the 5.3-mile Tilly Jane Trail, the 2.5-mile Wagon Road Trail and the 37.9-mile loop Timberline Trail. Most importantly, this campground offers a private camping experience with only three single sites available.
“The drive up is beautiful and the glimpses of Mount Hood on the way up are worth the ruts,” says The Dyrt camper Amanda L. “The sites are close in. Despite this it seems open due to the tall trees scattered throughout and the views to the left and right. There’s an old inn that is now used by the Forest Service that has an interesting history just a little way up the road that is cool to check out. Definitely worth it for the views alone but it leads to some wonderful hikes up Mount Hood.”
The Moraine Lake dispersed camping area is ideal for backpackers or those who don’t mind a bit of a climb to get to their destination within the Three Sisters Wilderness west of Bend. You can access this remote campground by hiking two miles north from the Devils Lake Campground, taking the Devils Lake Trailhead. This 2-mile stretch is part of the trail leading to the summit of South Sister, the third tallest mountain in Oregon. This hike is popular, and it may soon require a permit. Keep in mind that it is also a difficult trail. For a more leisurely hike, the 1.6-mile out and back trail at Devils Lake is beautiful, too.
“Wonderful backcountry camping accessed by a mostly uphill 2 mile hike,” says The Dyrt camper Heather C. “You are surrounded by the peaks of South Sister and Broken Top and are welcomed each morning and night with the gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.”
For information about dispersed camping on public lands, visit Outdoor Project.
Jubilee Lake Campground
Located in Northeastern Oregon, Jubilee Lake Campground is a great spot for fishing, boating and swimming. It is also the largest and most popular campground on the Umatilla National Forest. You can also take a 2.8-mile stroll around the lake to take in the local wildlife via the Jubilee Lake National Recreation Trail. An hour and a half west of the campground is the city of Pendleton, where you can visit the Pendleton Woolen Mill store and, during early September, the Pendleton Round-Up.
“Jubilee Lake is apart of the Umatilla National Forest, so it is surrounded by beautiful greenery,” says The Dyrt camper Julie P. “There is quite a bit to do here, which is great for the whole family. You can fish in the river, boat (there is a boat ramp), or other fun water activities.”
Harris Beach State Park
Harris Beach State Park is located on Oregon’s South Coast north of Brookings. The wildlife viewing opportunities here are abundant. You can check out marine ecosystems in the tidepools and look offshore to potentially spot gray whales. Goat Island is part of the park, and is also a National Wildlife Sanctuary where rare birds can be found, including the tufted puffin. Harris Beach State Park features tent sites and six yurts, three of which are pet-friendly.
“This campground was super friendly and great for families with kids,” says The Dyrt camper Sarah A. “The playground was huge. The trails to the beach were beautiful and the host gave a presentation about whales in the amphitheater in the evening. We would definitely stay again.”
The Paradise Campground is located along the McKenzie River in the Willamette National Forest, surrounded by old-growth Douglas fir and western red cedar. Hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails are abundant in the area. To name a few, you can easily access the Upper McKenzie Trail, McKenzie Pass Trail, and the Foley Ridge Trail. Several whitewater rafting companies, like High Country Expeditions, start their trips here, so if you plan ahead this is a fun way to spend the day camping in the area, too. Belknap Hot Springs is a short drive away as well if you feel like soaking sore muscles after a long hike.
“Stayed at Paradise with a big group spread over multiple campsites. We used 33 as our gathering spot and it was awesome,” says The Dyrt camper Bill I. “Room for several tents on nice flat spots, not too close to adjacent sites with drinking water just across from parking. The slow moving creek means mosquitoes are pretty bad at dusk, but bearable. River is a short walk.”
Beverly Beach State Park
You can find Beverly Beach State Park near Newport on Oregon’s Central Coast. The campground has easy access to the beach, as well as its own children’s playground. Along with miles of beach to explore, you can catch glimpses of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Beach combing and surfing are popular day activities. Since it is so close to town, stopping in Newport is a must. Local Ocean has amazing seafood. A visit at the Oregon Coast Aquarium is a great choices for all ages as well. The state park campground offers yurts, full-hookup sites, and tent sites.
“Great campground, hidden from the ocean winds but just a short walk onto the beach,” says The Dyrt camper Leslie C. “We had the river right behind the site, and it was so peaceful! Right at the beach, close to Newport and tons of stuff to do there. Very relaxing atmosphere.”
Bonus: Beverly Beach State Park is also an easy gateway to the Otter Rock fat bike ride.
South Steens Campground
The South Steens Campground can be found in the high desert region of southeastern Oregon. Nearby, you will have access to incredible fly fishing in areas like Indian Creek or the Little Blitzen River. A variety of hiking trails are also found in the area, such as the Indian Creek Trail, which can be accessed from the campground, as well as the 5.6-mile out and back Pike Creek Canyon Trail, and the 13.2-mile Big Indian Gorge Trail. Take in some of the local culture at the historic Riddle Brothers Ranch. You can also stop by the nearby Crystal Crane Hot Springs for a soak.
“We headed to South Steens as a basecamp for some of the longer hikes,” says The Dyrt camper Erin P. “This campground is super big, and we didn’t have a problem getting a spot even though it was in the middle of the weekend. Clean picnic tables and sites.”
Olive Lake Campground
Olive Lake Campground can be found in Eastern Oregon’s Blue Mountains and Umatilla National Forest. Onsite, you will find access to a 2-mile hiking trail around the lake, as well as fishing, catching crawfish and boating on Olive Lake. Lake Creek and the North Fork of Desolation Creek are nearby, too. The 5.1-mile Lost Creek Trailhead is popular. If you don’t feel like a campground atmosphere, the Fremont Caretakers Cabin near the historic Fremont Powerhouse isn’t too far away, providing access to the same recreation in a historic setting.
“Have camped here twice, once when I was a kid, and once this summer, and it’s wonderful,” says The Dyrt camper Sarah E. “Most spots feel secluded and private, and if you get there on an off-day, you can get a good one with water access.”
Nehalem Falls Campground
Ideal for staying cool during the hot summer months, Nehalem Falls Campground is located right on the Nehalem River in the Tillamook State Forest. Nehalem Bay State Park, featuring beach and bay access, is close by. If you are heading to the beach you can stop at Kelly’s Brighton Marina for fresh crab and oysters to enjoy at your campsite. This campground is really the ideal if you want some ocean and mountain action. Nearby, you can hike the 5.2-mile Nehalem Spit Trail, the 2.7-mile Soapstone Lake Trail and the 6.3-mile Neahkahnie Mountain Trail.
“Truly one of our favorite campgrounds in the Pacific Northwest,” says The Dyrt camper Chad L. “Make sure to spend plenty of time down by the river and take an hour to slowly walk the small loop trail.”