the dyrt
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Arlington, OREGON
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Rock Creek Park - Columbia River Gorge is a campground located near the city of Lyle. The campground was maintained by US Corps of Engineers.

As of now the campground is abandoned but there are still spaces available. From this area you will get the best views of both the back country and the gorge.

Better sites elsewhere

In the lovely Maryhill valley is the Peach Beach RV park. I am not one usually for RV parks but this on was ok. It was well maintained and clean. The spots were very close together and little privacy was had. They claim to have a private beach but it seemed like a muddy inlet overflowing with mosquitoes.on the plus side it is right next to a wine tasting shop.

There are many great places along this stretch of highway. This might be one to pass up.

Petroglyphs Galore!!!

When we are in the area we normally stay near Maryhill State Park. This campground was a delightful change to our routine. The site is small but it offers quite a few different ways to camp: tents, RV, cabins even a teepee!! This site is on Horsethief Lake and offers some great summer fun.

One of the best aspects was the petroglyphs that were along trails near the campground. This was a great spot and I highly recommend it!

Great find!

Great find along the Columbia River! Enjoyed a night here along our route to the coast. Clean, beautiful scenery, a good price and we felt very safe. Would definitely stay here again!

Very convenient and close to Columbia river

Great fishing but bring a boat !

Beautiful and convenient

This State Campground is very close to the highway, so it is very convenient! Some reviews mentioned noise from the highways on each side, but we couldn’t here road noise in the RV with the air conditioning on!!!! The RV spots are very big with a little privacy! Lots of area to walk, and a nice, well maintained swimming beach where you can watch the windsurfers! Dog friendly, too!

Quiet spot on the Columbia River

This small state park is tucked alongside the Columbia River and Horsethief Lake. The campground is not large with only 4 regular campsites, 4 walk in sites, 8 partial hookups, a Teepee and 2 platform tents. The grounds surrounding the campground and alongside the lake are large, green grass areas with picnic tables everywhere. There are also archaeological sites with artifacts and pictographs within walking distance of the campground. There was a small kayak/canoe rental place that is run by the super friendly camp host.

I reserved the Teepee. I arrived a dusk during what would be a very strong wind storm that would last all night and all the next day. When I first went into the Teepee I noticed the canvas at the bottom was so rotten and the inside flap was secured to nothing so every time the wind blew the inside flap would fill up over half the inside and dirt would swirl everywhere. The front door flap was also very rotten and would not secure, so every time the wind blew, the door would fly open and let in more dirt. Needless to say my dog and I lasted about 5 minutes.

After talking to camp host I was able to get into one of the platform "tents". I later learned from the Park Ranger that stopped by that the canvas on the tents had rotted out in May so he had built what I would call plywood cabins with canvas roofs. There were 2 cabins, each one had 2 windows, 2 sets of bunk beds, a weak light, and a latch secured door. The cabin let in not one bit of wind which was nice, but also got very hot even though it was a cool evening and I had the window open all night. The next day the wind continued, not a big fan of strong sustained wind, but I figured out that when the door was open it created an arc of no wind right in front of the cabin which was nice to sit, watch, and relax. Please note, the cabin is not sealed to the creatures, on the second morning my dog woke me up to a bat that got stuck inside the cabin and was trying to get out, I was able to get the door open and it flew out.

The downside to the platform cabin is the lack of air flow, which in the summer could be rough. Also the only bathroom was a bit of a walk, but was kept clean and had showers. Also the parking was far away, so again a lot of walking. I was also informed by the Park Ranger that the Teepee would be taken down at the end of the 2018 season with no plans to bring it back.

Overall it as a good state park if you don't mind the wind and just want to relax. I'm not sure if I would go back but would recommend it to others.

Rustic with spectacular canyon and river views

Rattlesnake Campground is about 12 miles north of Sherars Falls on the Deschutes River. Take the BLM access road just past the falls. This is a rough gravel road. Brutally hot in the summer but the river is refreshing. The canyon with its basalt columns is amazing. Big horn sheep frequent the area. The river is home to redside trout and in season, summer steelhead. This is a popular fishing destination but worth a look for non-fisher people.

There is no drinking water available at this site. Fires allowed but only in the winter.

A true high desert experience with an epic canyon & river as back drops.

Small State Park off Hwy 97

This review is for the main campground, there is another group/horse campground across the highway that I did not stay in. The small campground is right off Highway 97. The first part of the campground is where the hook ups, large RV's, small trailers and tent campers are located. The spaces are very close together with very few trees separating spaces. Some spots looked barely big enough for a 2 person tent. In this same area is the only flush toilets/showers (Coin operated). Continuing past this main area and over a small hill is where the tent camping/sheep herders tents are located. Since it was located away from the main camping area it was quiet with regards to hearing fellow campers, the downside is the spaces are closer to the Highway. Day and night, semis speed past the state park on either a downhill straight away or an uphill straight away, regardless it sounds like a freight train or military landing pad all night/day long. It was so loud you had to stop talking until the semi passed. The space I was in was so small my 3 person tent only fit if one side was touching the fire ring. Luckily there was a fire ban so no fire to melt my tent. The space also had full view of the pit toilet, since it was the only toilet on that side, I saw everyone come and go. It was also super close to one of the sheep herders tent site. There were 2 sheep herder tents sites. The spots looked large and the tents looked like they would sleep at least 4-5 people. The other tent sites where much larger, but still all the sites could hear the highway. Note, be careful about leaving food out, zipping your tent up, leaving car doors open. The mice were pretty bad and came out at night driving my dog crazy. There were a bunch of trails that ran through out the park that provided a nice alternative to get to the other side of the park or climb to the top of the hill near the power lines. The camp host was also a very nice gentleman who suggested activities in the near by area. I was exploring the area cause it's new to me, but I wont return cause it's not my type of camping.

Primitive campsites in a quiet, remote canyon

Ccottonwood Canyon State Park Campground is a lovely, remote primitive camp experience. For the uninitiated, this means no electric sites, no running water, no flush toilets. Its also a rattlesnake habitat in Eastern Oregon's high desert biome, within 30 miles or so of The Dalles, a city marking the change in the Columbia River Gorge from high desert to wooded mountainsides. This camp ground us located deep in a canyon 15 miles from Wasco, Oregon. Before descending into the canyon, you'll see Eastern Oregon's classic golden wheatfields, then a wind farm, with scores of white windmills. The evening I arrived was the night before a full moon, so the setting sun over the canyon and the waxing moon gave a lovely glow to the sights. Unfortunately, my camera phone and photographer skills are lacking; sorry. If you love truly getting away from it all, as I do, you'll appreciate the absolute peace at Cottonwood Canyon. We arrived at dusk, late in July, and as is typical for the region, it was still 90 degrees. Fortunately, my summer tent is mostly screen, allowing the cool canyon breeze in, and it erects quickly and easily. It was full dark by the time I'd pitched it, and outfitted it with my airbed. Because of all the rattlesnake warning signs, I kept my dog leashed or tied out on a campsite-length cable. We parked across the campground from the pit toilets, which were not lighted, so bring a flashlight, cell phone, or lantern for inside the biffy. If this kind of camping appeals to you, you'll be rewarded with a quiet night of no traffic noise, only the sound of the nearby murmuring creek and the breeze in the trees. The other campers here were very quiet and respectful of the rules. The beautiful moonlight set one side of the canyon aglow and the clear sky was filled with stars. I didn't need my rain fly, so could enjoy finding the constellations as I lay in my tent. In the morning, I awoke just before dawn when my dog sat bolt upright and intently watched with me as an elk cow walked through our campsite. The fee here is $10 a.night, and worth every penny!

Here is the one caveat: as of this writing, (late July 2018) the loud diesel pickup truck that came through to empty trash bins at 6am was jarring. It was followed by the back-up beeping of heavy machinery by 6:30am, as work on a new building commenced near the campground. This was so unfortunate, and I pity the folks that had hoped to sleep in.

A Fishers Delight

Our family really enjoyed this campus my spot. It‘s right along the Deschutes River and is a fishers delight. Even the kids were pulling in fish both in the morning and evening.

It is near the interstate and train tracks are across the river so don’t be surprised by a bit of noise. Fortunately, the lovely campground and gorgeous river make up for the noise.

Additionally, they have a nice educational structure that talks about the Oregon Trail. This park was really close to the substation fire. Note how close it came to the ranger station - yikes!!!

Great stop while on the road

Not necessarily a campground, but great rest stop with clean bathrooms, grassy area to lay, and docks for leisure, swimming, etc. This site is well manacures. Playground available. Dogs are not allowed in specific areas.

Beautiful campground on the Columbia!

This campground is wide and spacious, especially the group site. It has Columbia River access, has the Maryhill Winery just up the road, and has a Stonehenge replica to explore. There is a roped off swim area at the day use park.

Clean campground with beautiful views

The campsites here are nothing amazing. Each has a tent pad, fire ring, and picnic table. Some are definitely more private than others. The views here are what makes it awesome. Right on the Columbia River and it was GORGEOUS! There’s also a lake for swimming which is awesome because it gets super hot here in the summertime.

New state park that will get better with time

This is a great new state park, that will be fantastic in a few years. Not too far from I-84 and the Portland area, the park sits down in Cottonwood Canyon. The campground was at the end of the road near the Pinnacles trailhead. The wind in the area is strong, but the park has built walls to block your tent from the wind. The trees are still small, but when they get big all of the spots will be nice and shaded. Some of the spots have covered tables to block the sun. The spots were large and not too close to other campers. There is new construction happening and it looks like eventually there will be more camp spots, a bike path running along the entire state park, and more bathrooms maybe even a shower house. Near the entrance was a large grass area with a barn, a horseshoe pit, and a picnic/day area. There was even free bikes that anyone could borrow to cruise around the park. The Pinnacles trail was a flat 8.6 trail running alongside the John Day River. I recommend starting early and enjoying a sunrise hike, I started at 0445, because there is no shade along the trail. I was able to finish the hike just as the sun came over the mountain, and before it got too hot. I would recommend this campground.

First to Review
Like a gem, it's small, simple and stunning.

This is one of our family's favorite camping spots. Like a gem, it's small, simple and stunning. At the confluence of the John Day and Columbia Rivers, you can swim, fish, and boat. There is a fabulous roped off swimming area and plenty of space for grass games and a nice play structure for kids.

First to Review
Easy Stop

This campground is a simple (but very large) gravel lot for drop-in camping. No fire pits or reserved spots. If you're going to a show at Maryhill or just need a place to crash along the highway this is a great spot. Has restrooms and river access!

So much noise

Stayed here one night at the recommendation of a fellow camper in an Oregon Park. Tent camping close to the Columbia River, though your view is also the highway. And at night? So much noise. Between the trains and the surrounding highways, it was easily one of the worse night's sleep we have ever encountered camping. The spaces are also VERY close to one another, no privacy what so ever. There are nice showers and flushing toilets, and with AT &T full phone service. Park is very clean and well maintained. Short walk to a delicious fruit stand. Would not stay here again on our travels due to the lack of sleep, maybe it is different in an RV?

Nice

Was only there one night but this was a great little campground that served its purpose.

Great waterfront campsites!

This campground has a great water front location on the Columbia River. The current is very slow here, allowing campers to tie their floaties to the shore and enjoy the water around them. The song, Redneck Yachtclub? that was my family during our annual Labor Day trip.

Each campsite is very large, giving multiple families enough space to spread out. There was very little bugs so many of my cousins were able to sleep under the stars.

There is a great winery nearby for the adults and a museum and the Stonehenge construction for the little ones.

Friendly to both tent and RV campers. It has flushing toilets, showers and a dump station.

Beginnings of a fantastic park.

A new park just beginning to develop and build. I look forward to visiting it and watching it fulfill its potential. Fantastic hosts.

Bike-packing Trip on Lower Deschutes River

Bike-packing Campground Review:

The lower Deschutes River from Pelton Dam to the Columbia River, goes about 100 river miles along the water and was designated an Oregon Scenic Waterway in 1970. We parked our car and loaded up our bikes at the Deschutes River State Rec area - where designated tent and RV camp sites are located. We then biked in about 20 miles to dispersed camping along the Deschutes River.

The bike trip was on a dirt/gravel road. I used my Surly cycle-cross while two of my friends used their mountain bikes. After about 6 flat tire, I realized I maybe should have used my mountain bike for this trip… As you bike in, there are areas about every 5 miles where you camp near the water. Camping areas have brick outhouses (no drinking water or trash), but they are not groomed/flat classic campgrounds - more of just a free for all amongst the brush and river side.

The biking was amazing and the camping with true freedom. Clear skies and twenty miles of golden wheat blowing in the wind The entire dirt road hugged the winding river. We would bike by people every hour or so but side from that we had this epic place to ourselves.

No fires? No problem! Very dry area covered in dry wheat and dry brush so most of the Spring/Summer/Fall campfires are not allowed. This was the first time in years I camped without a fire. Thought I was going to miss it but ended up really enjoying the extra relaxation time. No dealing with wood, no distracting fire to keep up - just more time to hang out with nothing to do and chat with my friends - awesome.

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I test products when I go camping. On this trip I tested the biking shorts from ElevenPine. I met the ElevenPine team a couple years ago at a trade-show and immediately liked them because of their "Keep America Spandex-Free!" tag line. I noticed they came out with a new pair of shorts - the Men's Crank It Up with Liberator Liner so I decided to buy a pair for this bike-packing trip.

As a bike commuter who has never used biking shorts - I could not have been happier. Made a huge difference to have the butt padding on the bumpy gravel path and was great to have comfortable shorts that did not feel like dorky spandex shorts while hanging out at the campground.

The left and right side of the shorts have vertical zippers so I could zip the shorts tight for biking and they unzip them when hanging out at the campground. The shorts also have high quality front pocket zippers and are made from a durable, stretch woven material and subtle waist adjustment system for a snug fit.

Two thumbs up from me for the new ElevenPine Crank It Up biker shorts. I may never bike without them again.

Ranger Review: ElevenPine Bike Shorts on Lower Deschutes Bike-packing Trip

Bike-packing Campground Review:

The lower Deschutes River from Pelton Dam to the Columbia River, goes about 100 river miles along the water and was designated an Oregon Scenic Waterway in 1970. We parked our car and loaded up our bikes at the Deschutes River State Rec area - where designated tent and RV campsites are located. We then biked in about 20 miles to dispersed camping along the Deschutes River.

The bike trip was on a dirt/gravel road. I used my Surly cycle-cross while two of my friends used their mountain bikes. After about 6 flat tire, I realized I maybe should have used my mountain bike for this trip… As you bike in, there are areas about every 5 miles where you camp near the water. Camping areas have brick outhouses (no drinking water or trash), but they are not groomed/flat classic campgrounds - more of just free-for-all spots amongst the brush and river side.

The biking was amazing and the camping was true freedom. Clear skies and twenty miles of golden wheat blowing in the wind. The entire dirt road hugged the winding river. We would bike by people every hour or so but side from that we had this epic place to ourselves.

No fires? No problem! Very dry area covered in dry wheat and dry brush so most of the Spring/Summer/Fall campfires are not allowed. This was the first time in years I camped without a fire. Thought I was going to miss it but ended up really enjoying the extra relaxation time. No dealing with wood, no distracting fire to keep up - just more time to hang out with nothing to do and chat with my friends - awesome.

Strava route and pics here

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I test products when I go camping. On this trip I tested the biking shorts from ElevenPine. I met the ElevenPine team a couple years ago at a trade-show and immediately liked them because of their "Keep America Spandex-Free!" tag line.

I noticed ElevenPine came out with a new pair of shorts - the Men's Crank It Up with Liberator Liner so I decided to buy a pair for this bike-packing trip.

As a bike commuter who has never used biking shorts - I could not have been happier. Made a huge difference to have the butt padding on the bumpy gravel path and was great to have comfortable shorts that did not feel like dorky spandex shorts while hanging out at the campground.

The left and right side of the shorts have vertical zippers so I could zip the shorts tight for biking and they unzip them when hanging out at the campground. The shorts also have high quality front pocket zippers and are made from a durable, stretch woven material - with subtle waist adjustment system for a snug fit.

Two thumbs up from me for the new ElevenPine Crank It Up biker shorts. I may never bike again without my ElevenPine shorts on.

The Oasis of the Gorge!

Great place to camp and boat! the water is excellent in the mornings. just like glass! The sound of the trains stopping and going in the middle of the night is interesting. Close to Biggs and Goldendale so you can get supplies if needed.

always a spot to camp

beautiful riverside campsites, open, come prepared with camping stove since it’s dry season.

Dry camping on the river.

Decent campground. Has a functioning outhouse. Located on the Klickatat river. Only downfall are the sqauters.

Tranquil

Peaceful and quiet. Beautiful shaded campsites along the Columbia River. Some train traffic but generally not bad. Close to some fantastic wineries and Maryhill museum.

kite & camp

This is a great campground for kite surfers and for the same reason non-kiters may find the location too windy.

clean, quiet, beautiful

amazingly clean. fresh water, bike repair supplies, covered picknic area with grills, happy bike camping. quiet space. separate rv camping, pit toilets near camp sites and full bathrooms near the visiting center. cleanest bathrooms I’ve ever visited at a state park. trail up the John day river is maintained and flat. good for bikes and walking.

tent, rv or hike/bike in

easy water side access for tents and RVs. Bonus: 24 mile gravel path from the campground with dispersed camping through out the trail of you are willing to make the hike in