Elk River "Stony Beach" Dispersed Camping
Quinn Z.
Reviewed Sep. 29, 2020

Wonderful and free dispersed camping right on the river.

I stumbled on this site accidentally back in early August when en-route to some of the official campgrounds on the Elk River that were just a bit further down the road. Wasn't too impressed with those, so on the way back toward Port Orford I decided to pull off at this spot to see what might be found as you can find dispersed camping spots up and down the river. So glad I did.

The area is a large stony beach, hence the name I made up when I created this listing. It's good for cars and smaller campers / RVs. I'm not sure big RVs would be good for this setting. The dirt path from the main road down to the beach is very short but a bit steep and with some big dips when I was there so very low-clearance vehicles might have an issue getting in and out. For tents, the beach would likely be uncomfortable given its rockiness, but that's OK because there are a few places just off the beach that have dirt and tree-cover and are perfect for tent camping. I found a great spot with good shade, a well-made stone firepit, and an easy place to hang my hammock. Loved it so much I decided to hunker down for four days and just settle in.

The river is crystal clear and was refreshing in August. It gets deep on the left side of the beach area so you can properly swim if you want to (see my silly "let's test out my new GoPro" video to see what I mean). That area is popular with locals for day-use so you'll often see more people during the day then at night. Only had a few other campers staying the nights, and we had enough space between us. Privacy wasn't an issue. No toilets though, so you'll need to get creative with that.

For camp fires, make sure to check the local regulations. When I was there they had a burn ban and the forestry guys came through somewhat regularly to check. They will ticket you if you break the rules. $250 fine I believe.

The drive to Port Orford, the closest town, is about 30 minutes each way. Not too bad, but if you want to settle in and not move for a while, you'll want to stock up. No cell phone reception either, at least for me on Verizon, but I got to the point where I really appreciated that. This is a damn fine spot to really unplug. That said, there are some great hikes around Port Orford (check out Humbug Mountain if you want a proper workout) so there are more reasons than just supply runs to go out and return.

All in all a phenomenal free dispersed camp site that I would 100% recommend and return to.

  • Testing out the new GoPro, and enjoying the perfect river water.
    Play button icon
  • Where I camped. Alas, the burn ban meant that perfect firepit never got put to use.
  • Looking out from my camp spot toward the river and another camp spot.
  • Another view.
  • Looking down the beach toward the swim spot and the entrance (to the left, hidden behind the trees).
Month of VisitSeptember