Beautiful little mountain lake on the slopes of Mt. Hood. We did the 12-mile loop in two days from the trailhead below Shellrock Lake. There are some tough climbs but the Friday night we spent there was great. Looked like it was getting crowded when we left Saturday afternoon. The water is clear and amazingly warm, considering that it's glacier feed.
We didn't have to pay for the campsite, but you do need a Forest Pass or something to leave your car at the trailhead.
live in Molalla and this a quick 3 miles down the road. The park is a small county park that has a day use area with group day use site rentals. The day use area is on the banks of the Molalla river. There is a playground for the kids and swimming in the river. The campground is 1 row of (I THINK) about 8 spots nestled along a creek away from the day use area. Lots of trees and grass. Just around the corner down the road is the Shady Dell railroad park that has summer fun for kids and adults to ride trains for a donation. Going the other way you go into the Molalla river corridor that offers fishing and hiking.
The camp spots are good nice and clean but u better show up Thursday to get a good spot
Great campground in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Smallish campground with about half the spots right on the river. Nice day use area slightly separated from the camping. Picnic tables and fire rings. Mostly tents when we were there, but there's also pull-through driveway type spots that could fit a trailer. At just $12 per night, price can't be beat.
Plenty of trees and grass. Most spots are slightly exposed to the turn-around road, but still feels private since there's space and trees between the spots.
Not too far from Mouton Falls, which are amazing, plus other hiking and swimming areas nearby.
Probably a 2.5-star spot. Super clean, but in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do. Lots of pull-through spots with full hook-ups. Just off the I-5 freeway. Shares a wall with the freeway, so can be loud with traffic noise.
Spots are just driveways with very little space in-between. Many did not have picnic tables and only a few on the ends were near any grass. There is some grass on the ends of the rows and at the sides of the park. There's also a small strip-mall basically in the same parking lot, for better or worse.
If you're driving through and need a place to stay, this one is safe, clean, newer, and basic.
Great state park with all the usual amenities: fire pits, trees, ranger station. It's basically two different types of campgrounds in one: there's the sites more out in the open that are closer to the freeway. Then there's a bunch further away in both a meadow and the woods. Obviously if possible, stay away from the freeway. Down at the day use area (which has a nice small beach) the sound was so loud it was hard to hear people talking just a few feet away.
Lots of hiking including a nice trail between the campground and the day use area. Firewood available. Spots for both camps and trailers including electric and water hookups. Nice staff/rangers available for questions. Walk-in spots are cheapest and many are further away from the freeway. Very clean overall.
With just seven campsites, I liked the feeling of seclusion you might get similar to the dispersed sites further down the road, while still having a relatively clean pit toilet and garbage available. Kind of the best of both worlds. I also liked that it was $15 (vs the $20 of Henry Rierson nearby). It's first-come, first-served, and sites really do matter, so it's worth looking around or coming early or before the weekend to make sure you get a good one. Site #1 is literally a small turn-out on the road and worth avoiding, while other sites (like 4/5/6) are much larger, more secluded, and on the water. Sites 5 and 6 are also perfect if you have a group and want to share/go back and forth between the two sites. Site #7 is another one that's right on the parking lot and fairly small and worth avoiding if possible. I'd probably give this one a 3.5 star rating since the larger sites are nice, but not a ton to do other than hang out in/by the river.
Clean, nice, semi-wooded campground with plenty of water to play in and places to run around for kids. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and there were still a few sites available when we arrived early-ish (10 am or so) on a Saturday in June. There are both tent and RV sites on both sides of the road. The river-side has more camp sites and some are practically right on the river. There's also a smaller creek that runs through the campground that feeds into the larger, wade-able river. While I had read tons of great reviews, I think my experience overall was more "meh." Yes, the sites are pretty, clean, and the river is lovely, but it seemed a little crowed or at least that the sites were too on top of each other (though I may just being extra picky with so many other amazing campsites in Oregon). I also wasn't thrilled with the road running through the campground. With mostly pit toilets (one flush one) and no showers, I thought the $20 per night fee was slightly expensive when there were other primitive sites down the road a bit for free. Overall, worth trying one more time due to its proximity to Portland.
Affordable forested campsites with many that are steps from the Clackamas River. River is gorgeous and you can hear the sounds of the creek from many of the campsites. While some spots in the middle lack privacy, the river side spots are great with lots of space and separated by large trees. Toilets, picnic tables and fire rings on site. Great in the summer if you wan to wade in the river. We were there on a Sunday night in August and almost had the whole place to ourselves. Fun hiking nearby. One of our favorite campsites in the Mt. Hood natural area. The river access is really cool and it's also a short drive to other swimming holes and hiking.
A campground whose design they took some time with. Fantastic privacy between sites, a happy river crossed over in several places by large logs, low car noise due to it stretching away from the highway and rewarding nearby hikes (hello, Alder Flat) makes this a favorite in a string of nearby campgrounds. Some bigger scenic views and campsites further off the campground road would be nice, though site 14 is a short walk-in gem that sits up a bit, platform style.
Dispersal camping all year. You are immediately ensconced in quiet and shade, an impossibly green and detailed large pond right off the bat, with a huge walkable log going right to the middle, and lots of interesting critters and a popurrí of different foliage up and down the trail. Ends at the popular Clackamas River after a too-short 1.4 miles. Lots of little side routes to find your perfect spot.
Out of Morrison Eddy, Henry Rierson Spruce Run, Nehalem Falls and Cook Creek, Beaver Eddy should probably be the last campground on your list. There are a couple of nice sites, with an open feel and parking area, and a good hike possibility with Cougar Mountain Road across a nearby bridge. And the water and forest views are smile-inducing. But the road is incredibly adjacent, privacy does not receive good overall marks here and there are still inconsistencies about whether it’s open or not at any given time due to nearby logging.
You walk down about three city blocks to this penisular oasis, where you’re treated to tall trees, a nice variety of sites and plenty of beautific water scenes. A marvelous tucked-away vibe with greatly reduced traffic considerations. It looked like 3-4 camping parties would be VERY comfortable where the campsites are grouped together a little away from the others, with shade and decent water frontage. Didn’t notice any major trails from the campground, but if there were this would be in the 4-5 star home on the range.
Clean and generally friendly, the Jantzen Beach RV Park is right inside of Portland (at the northern end, close to Vancouver, Washington). It's more in an industrial/commercial area, with things like a Target Store across the street. The park is a combination of a true, more permanent trailer park on one side with more mobile RVs on the other (some looking like they'd been there longer than others). While there are definitely some RVs that were only the weekly or monthly plan, we didn't feel weird checking in for just a night since there were plenty of spots set up for people to come and go. The amenities however (like the pools) seemed like they were able to be used by everyone in both the RV and trailer park sides, so they were definitely busy but not too bad. I also had fun wandering around the trailer park since so many of the sites were from the 1950s or so and had a pretty awesome mid-century vibe going on.
While I thought the odd location in such an commercial area as well as the combination of trailer park and RV park was a little strange, my kiddos absolutely loved the three pools, playground, and basketball hoops. Plenty to check out and explore for them even if this was not your typical "campground" experience. Would definitely stay here for a night or so if I needed a place to stay within the Portland area again.
Just 45 minutes outside of Portland, and near the town of Estacada, is Milo McIver State Park, which I consider to be a quintessential Oregon State Park: lots of huge evergreen trees, large campsites, plenty of hiking areas and places to explore including a river.
There are two main loops in the main campground. The larger has 44 or so RV campsites, which can also be used for tents, plus a bathroom with flush toilets and hot showers. Nearby is a smaller loop of 9 or so tent-only sites that seem a bit more private.
We went during a vintage trailer rally, which was a ton of fun, since you could walk around and see everyone's trailers. There's also a Frisbee golf course and some fields to explore as well.
Overall, a nice, fun campground near Portland with larger sites and just enough to keep you busy.
Molalla River State Park is located near Canby, Oregon about 2 miles from the Canby Grove Camp that I stayed at for the EEAO conference in Sept18. This park sets on the Molalla River and was once a spot for the Molalla Tribes. This site has bathrooms and reservable picnic areas with a view of the river and boat ramp. Yes, there is a boat ramp but you must be careful because there are ferry lines near the location and the water line runs low mid-summer. There is a nice pet exercise area and trails, but I do not think this lives up to its title as a state park when compared to Silver Falls, Willamette Mission, or Champoeg State Parks within 1-2hrs drive. This appears to be more of a neighborhood park tucked away near residential areas. I advise to travel 20 mins away to Champoeg State Park that has camping and cabins open year round. There was no obvious designated camping at this site.
Campground Review: Indian Henry Campground -- 4/5 Stars
Have you ever wanted to sleep in a fun, wooded, semi-abandoned campground? Well come on over to the Indian Henry Campground in the Mount Hood forest on the Clackamas River. Originally host to nearly 100 campsites, an amphitheater, and a dozen toilets, much of the campground has been closed since about 2015 due to root rot. Now it’s down to about one loop and one bathroom. We arrived on a Sunday night and found a nice spot right near the river. Our site had the usual wooden table, a fire pit, and a medium amount of privacy, where people could see their neighbors but also were surrounded by huge trees everywhere.
The Clackamas river as it ran through here is perfect for splashing, wading and finding beautiful rocks. It gets a little deeper and faster in the middle, but it’s also very very cold, so we stayed mostly at the edges.
My absolute favorite part of Indian Henry was exploring all the semi-closed areas. Dozens of campsites were starting to be reclaimed by the wilderness but still semi hike-able if you like looking around. There’s also a smaller creek, tons of huge trees toppled over to climb on, and an old amphitheater. So many places for kiddos and their curious parents to wander around.
Product Review: GoBites Uno, Duo and Trio Utensils -- 4/5 Stars
As a ranger for thedyrt.com our family were able to try a sample of humangear products including three of their utensil sets: the Uno, Duo and Trio, which are their fork, knife, spoon and toothpick combinations. In general, all are solidly built, pleasant to use, and hold up to the extensive abuse our family has put them through. Each set also has their own best use.
Uno: The Uno is a cute little spoon/fork combo and the simplest of the bunch. It also has the most colors. At a price of just a few dollars each and super-portable, it’s easy to picture picking up a set of ten or a dozen of the unos in different sizes to stock a trailer kitchen or camping kit.
Duo: The Duo is probably our family favorite, and the one we use most often. With a fork/spoon combo that slides in one direction for storage and another to extend into two utensils, I’ve packed this one up at least 100 times into lunches and it shows virtually no signs of wear and tear at all.
Trio: The Trio is the only set that comes in its own box and is thus by far the largest for transport. This is not a set you’d buy a dozen of to stack up for a trip, but rather a combo of fork, spoon, knife (with bottle opener) and toothpick that becomes your one special set to wash and use over and over and then store back in your multi-day camping backpack. The ability to eat messy chili or cream cheese on the trail for lunch, pack it up, and then wash everything later when back at camp is where I think this set shines. The toothpick is not something I personally use, nor is the bottle opener, but I did tend to use the knife a decent amount for spreading things like peanut butter. That said, when it was something I needed cut up for eating such as an apple, I most often used my incredibly sharp leatherman knife instead. So while the case and knife are a nice addition, in general the Trio has been more novel than practical in comparison to the Uno and Duo.
Campground Review Lazy Bend -- 3/5 Stars
Lazy Bend is a small, nice, basic National Forest campground on the Estacata River. Just off Highway 224, there’s maybe 20 spots or so with a couple of bathrooms (with flush toilets). Each site has a picnic table and fire pit, plus a couple water spigots near the bathrooms.
The sites have a medium amount of privacy, where all of them are pretty much visible from the main campground road, but there’s also trees between most spots. Almost all sites also have river views or easy access down to the river.
Spots are $23 each for up to one vehicle, which seems reasonable for the nice waterfront location and facilities.
Overall, a fun little spot to hang out and play in the river for a day or two that’s an easy drive from Portland with some lovely views.
Not a ton to do at the actual campground if you’re looking to entertain kids since it doesn't have organized activities such as ranger programs, playgrounds etc., though fishing might be a good option if you’re interested.
Product Review: humangear GoBites Duo -- 5/5 Stars
Several years ago we received a set of GoBites from humangear. This is basically a plastic nylon fork/spoon set that slides together for portability. The faces of the spoon and fork are fairly wide and rounded, so they function almost interchangeably as sporks if needed. For the past three years we’ve used these on an almost daily basis in kids' lunchboxes to eat whatever random food happens to be in the thermos, and they’ve held up incredibly well and functioned pretty much perfectly. We’ve sent these through the dishwasher on the bottom rack, occasionally used them as mini spatulas in frying pans, and generally used them frequently and well.
Recently we received another set of the same GoBites to try out as thedyrt Rangers, and I thought it would be fun to compare how our well-used set held up. Turns out, despite such heavy use, the old and new set are almost indistinguishable. The only difference, and only if you know exactly what you’re looking for, is there’s the tiniest little “scratches” if you hold the GoBites in just the right angle—and the scratches are really more just very fine lines practically indiscernible to the naked eye.
In addition to holding up so well, the GoBites have been practical. They fit well in your mouth and are well designed. The spoon is perfect for cereal and other liquids, while the fork has sharp edges on the sides for cutting and well-formed tines for stabbing. There’s been no gross spots where old food hides and the locking mechanism between the two parts is still in perfect shape.
Overall, I would love a dozen of these in different colors for all our picnics, lunch boxes and camping needs. They even look cute! There’s really nothing I’d change.
Lazy Bend is one of the best of the bunch of similar campsites in the area. You can find some seclusion with thick vegetation or seclusion and shade with tall trees…most sites with good river access. It’s more of a social area overall. But a huge variety of camping spaces, with most right off the campground road. Traffic is both a blessing and curse - this is about an hour from Portland, but right along a small freeway. Just enough away from civilization, but popular. There aren’t any good trails off the campground or within walking distance, but a lot of good ones a short drive away. Boating is the thing here - tubbing, kayaking especially - and fly fishing.
First and foremost, it's all about the waterfalls - all 10 of them - linked by paved hiking trails. Not a fan of sharing the trail with hikers when on your bike? There are miles of mountain bike trails. Have horses? They have trails too. Big group? Gotcha covered. Need a snack or gift? They're here. The campground is large and well-maintained. Sites are reservable. This is a park for all ages and all seasons.
Designated dispersal camping is a great idea - no loud neighbors within at least a couple wooded blocks between each site. You get large, open circles of bare ground at Cook Creek, each with a fire ring. The 5 sites are a tad bit off the road… good. The trees, hills and water are all luxurious. There are boulders blocking the road after site 5. You can walk around them, though presumably the road is flooded out, making the other sites unreachable. Would be interesting to explore.
Henry Rierson fully earns its healthy glow. Open May 15 to September 15, this is a sprawling, versatile campground with seemingly something for everyone. I loved that there were isolated patches of campsites and day use areas on both sides of the road, a spot on the gorgeous Nehalem River perfect for exploration, a friendly and responsive camp host, a lot of different sizes and layouts of campsites, and nearby hikes, like the new Spruce Run trail and the Nehalem Bay coast jaunt that gets you communing with harbor seals. Being a bit more bashful sometimes, though, I could have used a lot more trees and more distance from roads. Trucks and engines galore. Still - get in and get out there. Henry saved you a spot.
Agreed, the secret’s out. 80% full on the last Friday (9/14) of the season. Was featured on a TV show about 3 years ago and a popular camping book gives it a scenic rating of 10/10, though I wouldn’t go quite that high. The friendly, professional camp host told me not to write a review-“don’t do that, it’s too busy already!” So I told him I’d also write reviews of some other good campgrounds in the area, so look for-Beaver Eddy (recently closed for logging, though didn’t look like a permanent close + one roadside site was open), Cook Creek (designated dispersed sites), Henry Rierson Spruce Run (larger, more open, right off both road and Nehalem River, with good hikes right there) and Morrison Eddy (my favorite). A Tillamook State Forest Recreation Guide will show you the way. But Nehalem Falls would always work because it has the right mix of fantastic tree cover, decent vegetation between spots, a walk-in campsite area, and being right off the small but self-important Nehalem Falls, set in a picturesque curvy rock valley replete with swimming holes. The whole Nehalem River valley is gorgeous, with minimal traffic noise.