The perfect place to make sure you have everything in order before heading halfway across the state to find out you forgot to pack the new campfire spatula you bought at the end of the year last year! Cabins, hike in tent/hammock sites, RV sites, they have it all! They even provide wheel barrows to haul stuff in to the hike-in sites!
I spent a night there, it is an amazing place. Fresh air, forest, clean and easy for camping.
Campground Review: Brooke Creek Hike-in Camp
Brooke Creek Hike-in Camp is one of 3 campgrounds within Stub Stewart State Park, and the only one that really feels like you’re actually camping out in the woods – because you are.
The tent only hike in camp isn’t a long haul from the parking area at the welcome center – it’s about ¼ mile and the trail into the campground is mostly gravel. There are carts available for hike in campers to use at the campground trailhead if needed. Note that if you’re using a cart, that the walk in is uphill.
The campground area is wooded and each site has a picnic table. There are pit toilets and a water point. There are not fire pits in the sites—the fire pit areas are shared in central places in the campground. Some of the sites have a lot more privacy than others. I was camping in an unusually warm mid-week in May so the campground was mostly empty.
I chose Site 1 because it had a good place for my hammock. If the campground had been full, I’d have picked a site a lot further in since the first few sites are right along the single trail that all campers/hikers would be using. Some of the sites can be reserved in advance, and some are always open for walk ups.
The self-registration is at the campground, NOT at the trailhead, so you’ll have to hike in, register, and then return your camping receipt to your car. If you’re paying with cash, bring your money on the first hike in. You can also pay with your credit card number.
There are lots of trails directly accessible from the campground including the Banks-Vernonia Bike Trail as well as other hiking, biking and equestrian trails. I had a nice run on the Bumping Knots Loop.
Product Review: The PRIMUS LITE+ Backpacking Stove
As a Ranger for The Dyrt I sometimes get to test and evaluate quality products from amazing sponsors. On this camping trip, I tested out the Primus LITE+ backpacking stove. https://primus.us/products/eta-lite-7?variant=38436885010
I’ve been in the market for a backpacking stove for awhile, looking for a lightweight and simple to setup option, so I was excited to get to test out the Primus LITE+. I opted for the .5L pot because I often camp solo (there is also a PRIMUS LITE XL version with a 1L pot available), Also, you can purchase the XL pot separately as an accessory which will give me more options when camping with a partner.
Here are my opinions on the PRIMUS LITE+ after using it for one camping trip to make dinner and breakfast:
Boils Fast: The PRIMUS LITE+ stove is incredible at the most basic things it needs to be good for: boiling water fast! In under 2 minutes start to finish you can assemble the stove and bring your water to a boil. Plus, fast boiling means you aren’t using a lot of fuel.
Size/Weight: The whole stove system packs into itself and is about the size of a large mug including the fuel canister. I can fit the entire thing into the side pocket of my backpack. With the canister it weighs about a pound.
Pot Versatility: The pot that comes with the PRIMUS LITE+ locks to the stove giving it a good wind shield, and allowing you to hang the pot to boil if you don’t have even terrain. The XL pot which is sold separately also attached to the same setup. If you aren’t backpacking and want to use another pan or pot, there are small pegs which screw into the stove top to allow you to use any cooking set up. The pegs are stored in the handle of the stove so you don’t lose them.
Accessories: I haven’t gotten it yet, but the LITE+ has a coffee press attachment so you can brew a cup straight in the pot. Always a bonus when a simple attachment means one less thing to carry for your perfect camping setup.
Fuel Canister: The smaller canisters needed if you want to pack your fuel into the kit aren’t as readily available at places like Target or Walmart where I can more easily pick up my camping fuel when I’m on the road to camp. If I want to pack it all in to the pot, I’ll need to shop in advance at REI or a specialty outdoor store that carries the smaller canisters.
Insulation: The insulated sleeve on the pot makes it easy to hold and to drink from, but after just a couple of uses it was already getting pretty dirty with coffee and soup debris. It isn’t as easy to keep clean, and since the handle is actually part of the insulation sleeve, you can’t effectively use the pot without it.
It’s Small: Being small is one of the benefits of the stove, but the .5L mug/pot is smaller than I anticipated. While it’s perfect for a solo trip, you’ll want the 1L pot if you’re cooking for more than one.
Overall, Primus LITE+ is a great stove that’s efficient. I’d opt for the bigger size if I were to buy it again, since it would be more versatile with only a little added weight and easier to fit the more readily available fuel cartridge.
Most of the time we have the dog park to ourselves 😍
This hike in site is great for those who are looking to get away from the RVs and large groups of family campers that are in the other areas of LL Stub Stewart. The bit of a hike in deters most people, but is totally doable. There are also small carts for gear available, as long as they are not all in use. The path is not paved, but is not bad at all. Worth the hike in for the seclusion!
Each site has a picnic table, and the forested area means that you don't feel like you are right on top of one another. We were able to fit two tents in our site, although it was a little bit of a squeeze. The communal fire area gives you a great experience to meet fellow campers, and is large enough that multiple groups can cook at once, as long as you aren't a fire hog! The bugs can get pretty bad, however, so bug spray is a must.
We had to walk the loop twice to find our perfect spot, but we also went during a meteor shower weekend and were lucky to find an empty site at all! LL Stub Stewart is full of great hiking and biking trails, and has a hilltop area that overlooks the park. There is even a small "dog park" area, along with a picnic shelter. Great for finding orchids in the spring, as well as rough skin newts.
I love this campground.
Specifically, I love site number 10.
There are 23 sites at this campground, though sites 10-23 are reservable, leaving sites 1-9 ‘first come, first served’. To get to the campground, you’re going to be working on the far left side of the Welcome Center parking lot. They have allotted several parking spots there, as well as a huge parking area for other cars and trailers. Once you park, grab your gear and hike on down that path straight ahead! If you have. A lot of gear they have three carts available to haul everything out in one go.
The trail to the camp is about 1/4 mile, it’s dirt in some places and gravel in others. The trail is very easy, you go down a ways, and then hit a gradual short climb to the few station. If you haven’t paid online (reserved spot), you will need to fill in the information on one of the provided permits, write down your car infix, put the fee in, and drop it in the box. (Right now the sites are $11/night). Place the white top copy on your dashboard (yes, you have to hike back out there. I know, I know.) OR: You can skip all of that, set up camp in your chosen (non-reserved) spot, and go pay at the welcome center drop box. Saves you a trip.
When you’re done with all of that and want to find your spot, there are two trails; one on each side of the fee board. The left goes through sites 23 and up. The right side starts with site 1. It's just one gigantic loop so whichever way you choose will lead you to the right spot.
I was in site 10, and took the left: this ended up being the long yet scenic choice.
There are communal fire rings in the back section (which is great for groups!). There are no trash cans: pack it in, pack it out. There are pit toilets available: aka, outhouses. The doors lock, there's hand sanitizer provided. Going into the pit toilets, and then coming out really makes you appreciate the fresh air of the great outdoors.
The tent pads are a typical woodsy mix of pine straw, leaves, and loose gravel. Sleeping pads are a blessing, but so are nicely stacked lead piles in a pinch. Tent stakes require a little oomph, I just use the ball of my shoe to push it into the ground.
If there's one thing you want to pack, it's bug spray. It's not overly buggy, but the mosquitoes are there, and you don't want them to dampen your experience! Be on the safe side.
There are no food storage lockers, you cannot leave food out on the tables. You are still in the wilderness, and you are in bear/cougar territory. Hang your bags, or go throw your food back in trunk of your car. Best case scenario is you wake up to some trash pandas ransacking your site if you leave food out.
Overall, this has become one of my favorite spur-of-the-moment camping spots and I come back twice a week.
My husband and I have stayed here twice and both times it has rained. Which is fine but we find it very humorous (and actually really enjoy camping in the rain). The hike in is pretty easy--about a quarter mile down the up. They have carts to help you get all your stuff to your spot in one trip which is very helpful. When we visited, there were at most 2-3 other groups in the area so we were very spread out and had lots of privacy. The atmosphere is very green and lush. Outhouses are present but no showers and fire pits are communal and conveniently placed between the site subgroups. Because you are in a state park you have easy parking, access to a disc golf course, a paved bike trail (Banks-Vernonia Trail) and lots of hiking/mountain biking trails. We plan to return to explore more of the mountain bike trails.
We LOVE this campground. Quick drive from SE Portland (or bike out all the way on a lovely trail if you are so inclined). We drove up to meet up with friends who biked in so we could camp a few nights. The sites are well situated so that there is enough distance that we could not see our neighbors. The communal fire pit was convenient and wood was provided. The campsite had gravel so we were glad we brought our moving blanket to place under our tent tarp. The trails were extensive and we could hear the brooke!