Bates State Park
Mary G.
Reviewed Aug. 10, 2017

A little growing up to do...

The drive from Salem to John Day took about 6.5 hours. Then I spent the afternoon and early evening looking for a campground (my first campground fell through when my Mazda 3 couldn’t climb the last few miles…a story for another day). Before long, the storm clouds began to gather, lightening began to flash, and the occasional BIG drop of rain would hit my windshield. I needed to find a campground FAST! Bates State Park was close by, so I decided I would hang my hat there for the night.

Bates State Park has a little growing up to do. It has lush green grass and lots of trees. Unfortunately, the trees are 4-5 feet tall, so they provide no shade. The campsites are close together and there is no privacy…which wasn’t a problem since there were just four RVs using the campground. I was the only tent camper. Bates is considered a primitive campground, because there is no water or electricity at the campsites. But, there are water spigots throughout the campground and the pit toilets are the nicest/cleanest that I have every used…serious!

Bates State Park has an interesting history. It was the site of the Bates Lumber Mill company town. At one time it boasted 400 residents. All that remains are a few trees, a lilac bush, and the mill pond. You can reach the mill pond via one of the many trails throughout the 130+ acres.

Would I stay again? Probably not. However, it is a perfect stop for a quick overnight. It is also a very accessible place for RVs to park.

  • Bates State Park
  • My campsite. Listening to the rain in my little pop-up tent.
  • Pavilion that can be rented. There is space for tent group camping.
  • Leave no trace.
  • The hills behind Bates State Park. There are a number of hiking trails.
Month of VisitAugust