Ainsworth State Park is a gorgeous state park in the heart of the Gorge with great hikes and views of the Columbia river, all not far from Portland. The campsites, however, are located right next to the History Columbia River Highway, making for loud camping experience, though you are near all the great park activities. And when I say close, I mean you can see the highway from your tent.
Its location near Portland makes it very popular, and it is often full. Restrooms and showers available.
I really, really expected to love this campground. It's one of (perhaps the) closest Oregon State Campground to Portland and I'd heard great things about it. It's also in the Columbia River Gorge, which is green, great, and beautiful. But the campground itself is just so-so. Okay sites terraced on top of each other right next to the road.
Pros: Great location, plenty of trees, and good prices ($17 tents and $26 for full hookup). Also flush toilets.
Cons: Right next to the road and sites are crammed in. Nothing really to do in the campground.
Tips: The walk-in tent sites look nice. Also, book well in advance. Very popular in the summer.
When we pulled in with our 40' Coach I thought oboy I blew it. Getting into our site was a little tight but doable. We were in a pull through tucked in the forest with full hookups. A fire pit and picnic table too! If you go camping to stay inside our Verizon phones, Sprint hot spot and over the air TV all worked. You can hear the train in a distance and a little traffic. It is a great spot and we will come here again.
I really loved this campground! The Columbia River Gorge is a crazy awesome area with a ton to do. The campground had plenty of amenities like showers, hiking trails, a playground, and clean bathrooms. There was also firewood for sale and hook ups for RVs. The sites were all pretty nice, flat, and it wasn't overly crowded. We did go kind of early in the summer, so this might be why there wasn't as many people.
The best part of this trip was that there's a whole bunch of stuff to do in the area. The gorge has wind surfing, kite boarding, white water rafting. The town itself had some pretty cute shopping areas. If you want some scenery that's super easy to get to, check out Multnomah Falls. By far the best part of this stop was when we went white water rafting. I would definitely recommend checking out the Wet Planet rafting company on the white salmon river. You have to cross back into Washington to get to it, but it was well worth it. Amazing experience!
Ainsworth is one of three state parks with camping along the Columbia River Gorge. All are very close to the highway so you will hear road noise and trains thundering past on the adjacent tracks. But, if you are looking to camp with easy access to the Gorge, especially the waterfalls, this is a reasonable option. Many sites in the RV section were pull-through, with very generous sized driveways. Each RV site is full hookup with a picnic table, fire ring, and dish water disposal drain. Bathrooms are spacious and clean with HOT water. Showers are clean with a hook, and a stool. Six walk-in sites. Camp host was friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, all trails from the campground are still closed due to the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire but it was nice to see the reforestation that has occurred so far.
This campsite was pretty close to Oneonta Gorge, Multnomah Falls, and Latourel Falls. It wasn't as well spaced as I would have liked, but overall it was a nice site with adequate facilities.
IF you're camping in the Gorge, you're probably going here. Its right off the road and loud (it didn't help that we had a super rude family walking through our campsite the entire time). Bathrooms and running water. I wish the gorge had a better place to camp. I'd go back, but only if I had to.
The campground at Ainsworth State park feels more like an RV parking lot than an exotic Columbia Gorge camping experience. The majority of the camground it rv hookups with just a few walk in tent sites. Yet, while the campground isn't impressive in itself, it is in an amazing location for exploring neighboring Eagle Creek and the rest of the gorge just steps away!
The parking for the tent sites is close to the walk in trail. There are only 6 tent sites and they can be reserved online so it is not easy to roll up to a free spot in hiking season.
The sites themselves are basic and offer much more privacy than your neighbors in the RV section of the park are getting. There is water near the tent site entrance. Toilets are a bit of a walk from the tent sites.
This site does take credit cards for campground registration.
It's not very secluded and fairly close to the freeway. It still puts you in the Gorge, though, and is preferable to Viento, which is the next one in the area! We were happy to stumble upon it.
I camped in the walk in sites which felt secluded despite being pretty close together. The campsite was well shaded and linked into an nice set of trails. The picnic table was great to cook on and the camp host was very helpful in suggesting hikes. Overall a good spot but a little noisy and probably cramped if you end up in a non-walk in site.