This campground is surprisingly quiet and serene as it sits nestled among some large ponderosa pine trees just a few miles from the main highway. It also hosts the trailhead for Barnhouse Trail (#813) located in the northwest corner of the campground.
Coyotes and owls can be heard most summer evenings and occasionally local ranchers will graze their cattle nearby, which can make for some interesting serenades in the evening hours.
Came through the area planning to camp before exploring the fossil beds and painted hills nearby. Campsite is secluded from the main road, and only had one other camper while we were there (we stayed Monday night through Tuesday morning). There was a single Vault toilet that was fairly clean minus some Archaeology Today magazines, and someone came by in the morning to restock toilet paper.
Be forewarned that the right hand entrance of the road loop that goes to each site is pretty rough! Deep potholes and tree branches leaning into the road which scratched our vehicle. Next time we will only drive through the left side which was smoother and branch-free.
Each site had a basic fire ring(made with stones with a small metal grate that flips over the top) as well as a picnic table. Our site was next to a trail entrance, which crosses a cute little bridge/creek and heads up into the hills where a beautiful sunset over the valley could be seen. Lots of evidence of cows on the road leading up to the campground as well as on the hiking trail, but none in the actual campsites. Deer and chipmunks aplenty though! Some sites had better flat spots for tents while others seemed better suited to campers. Our spot was without large lumps or rocks in the ground but slightly slanted on a hill. We made it work okay though!
We have Verizon and had zero cell service both in the campground as well as the surrounding areas, took a good 15 minute drive or more down the highway to get even a bar of service to show up again, so be warned!
Would definitely stay here again if in the area: beautiful, clean, and private!
As other reviewers stated, this campground is free, and secluded, but maintained. We were looking for a spot around Painted Hills/John Day Fossil Beds/John Day, and this worked out as we pulled into the last spot available (6 total). There were a couple RVs and trailers and a few tents. Road to get to the campground was paved, but watch out for free roaming cows! There was a trail and creek nearby with a trough to fill up water - I’d recommend filtering before drinking. There are picnic tables and rock fire rings, and one vault toilet. Not much else to it, but like I said, FREE and relatively clean.
We loved staying at this gorgeous campground. It’s close to John Day fissile beds and pretty remote. It was the perfect get away! We stayed 3 nights the first 2 no one else was camping there. Beautiful trail and clean site. Vault toilet and 6-7 spaces. Loved it. We will be back.
Only one vault toilet, it wasn't very clean. The location was great, not too far away from the painted hills about 20 minutes away. It was nice be around trees which made it cooler. Flat and spacious campgrounds. No mosquitoes so that was big plus. It was free camping too.
This is truly a great little campground! It is a bit hard to get too, so follow the directions carefully. Once you get to the end of the road you will see the campground. It is first come first serve as they require no fee. Tucked away in the hills and the woods, with numerous hiking trails from the campground to explore the surrounding areas. There is only a hole in the ground outhouse, so be prepared, they do not come clean it often. It is quiet and a great way to see the Painted Hills that are close by.