Raphaela H.

The Dyrt Pro

Portland, OR

Joined July 2016

Lovely Lake

This park is enchanting - a little oasis in the dry eastern Oregon landscape, huge trees, imposing mountains. It gets packed at the lake shore, but there are lots of places to hang out in the day use area further from the beach that are near-empty. Good facilities. As a plus, the hike at the top of the tram is lovely (great views, fragrant flora).

First to Review
Hell's Canyon: Pleasantly Surprised

On Oregon Highway 86 in Hell's Canyon at Oxbow, across from an Idaho Power Station (and managed by Idaho Power), this was a handy place to stay to be close to a boat launch for a rafting trip we had booked. 

There are tiny campsites (maybe the smallest I've seen) and lovely large campsites here. We lucked out and had reserved a big one on the lawn instead of a little one against the rock wall. We were near the power station but we didn't notice it much due to the trees and stream.

There is shade! This was nice considering it gets hot in Hell's Canyon. Even being next to the river and in a rare shady spot in the canyon, the after-dark temperature was in the upper 80's when we stayed here in early August 2020. They water the lawn at night to keep it green, so heed those "sprinkler - do not camp past this point" signs. The bathrooms look nice online (inc. showers), but we camped here during 2020, so we had a row of sunbaked port-o-potties to contend with.

The location was super practical for our needs, our spot was spacious,  and the canyon is beautiful, but due to the heat I probably would pick a place higher up on the canyon rim or closer to Halfway, OR to camp if camping were the main goal (especially in August).

Fair amount of bugs, but that's not specific to this campground. 

Some stats, according to the Idaho Power website: Day use in the park is free. 59 RV sites with water and electric hookups(30-amp); 10 tent sites with shared water; Picnic area with tables Fire rings; Additional vehicle and boat trailer parking available; Public pay phone (phone card required for non-local calls); Boat launch and docks located approximately one-half mile downstream of the park, on Homestead Road

Copperfield was a mining town known as “the rowdiest town in Oregon” in the early 1900s. Fire destroyed the town in August 1915. The park was built in 1965 on the old town site of Copperfield, Oregon. (https://www.idahopower.com/community-recreation/recreation/parks-and-campgrounds/copperfield-park/)

Beautifully maintained campground in the Blue Mountains

We stopped by Anthony Lakes on our way back to the Willamette Valley from Baker City. The campsite is on a property that becomes a ski resort in the winter (it's at over ~7000 ft). The campground was immaculately maintained and had lots of recreation options. On weekends in the summer, the ski lift becomes a mountain biking lift, there are hiking trails, and of course lakes. The lakes themselves are pretty small, but big enough for some kayak adventuring and swimming. We got caught in a summer thunderstorm, so we were glad we had a shelter to pop up.

Our site was private with access to the lake trail. Pit toilets, but everything was very clean. There are also walk-up sites around the back of the lake which had more mosquitos, but were very spacious.  It looks like there is one yurt on top of the mountain. The mountain bike path goes by it, and it looks like it has great views.

This was an easy drive from Baker City, a little far from Portland unless you're going to make a multi-day vacation out of it. On the way through the mountains, there's plenty of gold mining history, a historical dredge, and some ghost towns to stop by. 

Lots of chipmunks, so watch what you leave out (even momentarily).

First to Review
Anthony Lakes, across street, is more desirable

We drove through here while staying at Anthony Lakes, which is located across the street. Mud Lake Campground is closer to the road than Anthony Lakes, and the lake was more stagnant and less picturesque than the alternative. To be fair, it looked like it was undergoing changes/renovations while we were passing through. Some of the spots are flatter and perhaps more private than at Anthony Lakes. Hiking options nearby are nice. High elevation, so chilly at night for longer than you might expect (~7000 ft elevation).

Great Location on North-East Side of Maui; Basic Cabins with Great Views

We were lucky enough to get a cabin for one night at Waiʻanapanapa State Park, allowing us to spend more time hiking at this end of the island without worrying about driving back to the other side the same day. The black sand beach is lovely, but when we went in February, it was a bit too dangerous to enter the ocean. There are definitely rocks all around, and it's the side of Maui where the waves are larger, so be careful. The high surf did let us see the blowhole in action - great fun to watch the wind carry the sea spray for yards into the park. 

Campground: The campsites we saw don't really have vegetation between them, but you're here for the location and the beach, and there aren't any other economical overnight options in the area, so that is neither here not there. Would definitely recommend staying at the park if you'd like to spend more time in this corner of the island.

Cabins: We stayed in a cabin, which are usually two-night minimum, but we planned our trip around a 1-night only availability to get around this rule (~$100/night). Our cabin (#9), didn't have a direct ocean view, but it did sit a bit above the tree line and nevertheless had a great view. It was also intermittently pouring, so a cabin was ideal for our February stay. For tourists, there are some hurdles to booking the cabins (you need to bring your own sheets, towels and soaps, which many folks don't fly to the island with). The cabins have 3 sets of bunks (4 beds total in a bedroom and 2 beds in the living room). We slept in the living room as the mattress condition was better and the mosquito nets on the windows in that room didn't have holes. The cabin has water and electricity, but no AC, so we just slept with the windows open and it was comfortable. No window coverings. To avoid ripping the mattress covers or scratching the floors, there is no moving the mattresses or the beds. There was a bit of a smell (maybe the drain, maybe oxidizing steel sink and hotplate) when we arrived, so I did a thorough clean and blocked the drain with a towel. The cabin will be pretty much the way the last guests left it so I'm sure conditions will vary - our bathroom and floors were clean for cabin conditions. No complaints there. The bathroom has a shower, sink and toilet. the kitchen has a fridge/freezer, microwave, hotplate?, and sink. There is a table and 4 folding chairs inside and a built-in picnic table on the porch, and a grill for each cabin. 

That all may not sound luxurious, but we really enjoyed our night here! The porch was large and each porch is designed to face away from other porches and towards the view. It was beautiful watching the sky change at sunset and sunrise. Staying here was much more economical than our other options in Hana. Most importantly, staying over night removed the time stress of doing the road to Hana. We were able to stop, hike, picnic, etc. as often as we wanted on the way out without worrying about a time crunch. We checked out the town of Hana after checking into our cabin and had a relaxed meal across the street from the entrance. We were able to add a 3-hour hike in Haleakala national park (Pipiwei Trail - recommend!) the following day and since that was a hot day, it was nice to start before the sun was too high and the parking lot was too full.

First to Review
Otherworldly camping experience

When the weather is dry, you can camp on the Alvord Desert. There are no facilities - no water, no trash, no toilets, no shade, no cell-service - so plan accordingly and plan well. Even a slight rain can make the playa muddy and create a flash-flood, so watch the weather carefully. Pack everything out, including planning on bringing a portable toilet. 

This flat, stretching desert far from any city (or even town) provides unparalleled star-gazing. Other than cars racing across the desert, it is eerily quiet. There are some bugs. 

The sun sets behind the Steens, and sunrises across the playa are beautiful. This remote adventure is worth a trip; it's a camping experience unlike any other. It gets hot during the day, so bring a shelter and plan some time to get off the desert for a break from the sun.

Wonderful spot in the Owyhee Canyonlands

The Slocum Creek campground is near the Owyhee Reservoir at the end of Leslie Gulch. It is a free campsite, fire rings with shelters (!) and tables. There are two drop toilets but no water or trash service. Closest gas is in Jordan Valley. The boat ramp to the reservoir is a half mile down the hill. The reservoir is very still and great for SUP and kayaking as well. The area is accessed by a good dirt road, but since it is in a gulch, a small amount of water could make this area tricky to drive to/from, so be sure to watch the weather. There are other camping spots in the Owyhee, but this is the most accessible with the best maintained road. Fires were allowed in late June, but I suspect there is a fire ban throughout July/August/September. 

First come first served. Websites mentioned that it almost never fills up except maybe during fishing season, but we arrived on a Friday in June and the campground did run out of spots by early evening. There are dispersed spots nearby, but then you would need to plan to bring a portable toilet and your own shelter. The sun was sweltering, even in June. 

There is great hiking (requires some scrambling) in the smaller gulches off Leslie Gulch with incredible views of the rock formations. Juniper Gulch is a moderate, somewhat shaded, and stunningly beautiful hike nearby. 

Rattlesnakes, ticks, and scorpions live in this area. 

There is one larger group site, but it gets the last of the evening sun and the first of the morning sun. 

These lands are fragile, so please take care of them: pack out your garbage, stay on trails, only ride dirt bikes and four wheelers on the roads.

Historic stop close to the freeway in the Blue Mountains

This has been a historic place to stop on the way through the Blue Mountains since the Oregon Trail. It has a fair amount of freeway noise these days, though. Reasonably private sites with good shade. I would recommend it as a traveler's stop, but probably not as a multi-day vacation destination.

History, water, and an easy stop off the highway

Farewell bend is on the Snake River and has plenty Oregon Trail history to boot. It has shade trees, which is special for the area. Not much privacy. It has good bathrooms, water access, and nice views of the surrounding hills. It has a huge day-use area with lots of picnic tables near the water.

Not my first choice in the area

This campground is on the east side of the Steens Mountain at a small lake. The view of the mountains is incredible and it is peacefully silent with no highway or airplane noise. The view of the stars is unmatched since there is so little light pollution. It wouldn't be my first choice in the area, but may be easier to reach than the spots in the Steens, more affordable than the neighboring Alvord Hot Springs campground and safer on wet days than attempting to sleep in the Alvord itself, so it depends on a number of factors whether you want to stay here. There were a lot of bugs when we went. More than comparable sites in the area. No shade until the sun starts to go down behind the mountains.

A quieter Detroit Lake area alternative

UPDATE:  likely impacted by 2020 fire season.

We were looking for a last-minute spot and Humbug still had sites! We got a great private shady site on a forested loop. I think this is a great alternative to Detroit Lake as it's just a few miles away but much more private and quiet if you don't want to hear the motor boats all evening. There was a stream, but we could hear it rather than see it. i don't think any sites have spectacular views, but it was a nice forest-escape nonetheless, with lots of vegetation between us and the neighbors.

Don't miss it

Silver Falls has a little bit of something for everyone. Waterfall views, beginner hikes, longer hikes, an interpretive center, a cafe, easy drives to wine country or a campy theme park. It stays nice and temperate here when the rest of the state heats up and is just a great destination. Since it's so close to home, we typically don't stay overnight, but if you're coming from further away, I would definitely recommend it. The park buildings are beautiful and you can tell that a lot of care goes into everything here.

Lovely lake near Mt. Hood

Trillium Lake is easier and faster to get to than many of the other Mt. Hood Lakes, and with one of the best views of the mountain. It's a smaller area, and the day use area get pretty busy, so it's nice to have a campsite to get away from what can be pretty large crowds. Good lake for beginner kayakers as it is small, still, and doesn't allow motor traffic. There is also snow-shoeing here in the winter, but don't underestimate the sloped road you have to get down (and back-up) to get to the lake in the first place!

Convenient along I5

We stopped here on a road trip along Interstate 5. The location was conveniently close to the freeway, but still felt like a real campsite instead of traveler's stop. We couldn't hear the freeway and it had nice amenities like flush toilets. Our site was also pretty shady, which was nice in summer. It was pretty scenic; we were located just by a walking path and with a view of the river, however, the camp host did not enforce quiet hours. The large group next to us was extremely drunk and noisy and nobody ever stopped by. They took off the next morning (loudly exclaiming that they needed to pack up to avoid paying), so there was likely never an interaction with the host. We arrived late and couldn't leave to alert the host as it didn't feel safe to do so. I'm not sure where the host is situated in relation to where we were, but I suspect you could hear the party throughout the camp, throughout the night, so we were surprised that no action was taken. It didn't feel safe.

We had a great time despite the wind

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into with this site. We wanted to be a little further from Portland in the Columbia River Gorge. We knew that you can't get away from train sounds at any of those sites. We packed our car-camping setup (an old, tall Coleman tent) and set out.  We reserved the site closest to the river (also closest to the train). Our tent was too tall for our site, which had no wind protection. At times, the tent was flat. We had to ask our neighbors uphill if we could move up between their trees to sleep. 

So if you camp in the back of your car or have a low tent (or catch a less windy day), maybe this site can be nice. The colors were beautiful, the sightseeing we did nearby was fun. The view from the picnic table was great. The bathrooms were well equipped. But are tent was flat…

Still a favorite

Lost Lake Resort & Campground is somewhere we go at least once each summer. It has that nostalgic summer-camp vibe. A little more spendy than your typical Oregon campsite, but serene and private. The sites are large and more private than most I have encountered. Lush forest and tall trees are everywhere.  At a high elevation, it stays cold through early summer, but that can be a good thing later in summer.

The store has coffee, wood, anything you forgot, sweets, and a rental shop. There is a covered porch at the shop in case it rains. The rental shop has boats, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats. It's a bit of work to get far enough out on the lake to be rewarded with a Mt. Hood view, but so worth it once you get there. Frigid cold clear water stocked with trout.

It has pit toilets that sometimes give off a scent if your spot is just a bit to close. 

F-loop is particularly private, with some drive-up and some walk-in sites. These are the spots closest to the lake but furthest from the store.

AMAZING - but do your research

Plan ahead: You will need to reserve your river permits well in advance, have a bit of rafting/kayaking experience, know your portable toilet/trash/water plans, and plan for picking up your vehicle, etc. so this is a review for those that know they want to raft the John Day and are looking for camping spots along the way. These sites are accessible by water only. 

We camped at the bluffs at 130R (on the right side just before the bend) and at “Last Chance” at 119.3L (on the left side that juts out in the bend just before Cathedral Rock).

The bluffs were amazingly beautiful. There was an easy and obvious spot to pull off the river on the right. Up the hill just slightly was a flat area where I assume smaller groups often camp. We were one larger group and made a lower area into a kitchen/dining are (there is a tree for shade which was very welcomed) and there were many smaller areas for tents above that. You get a stunning view as the sun sets beyond the river. We faced out tent towards the open field and slept without the rain cover to take it all in. I can't recommend camping at 130R enough. The river was a bit too fast and low to swim here. It was a bit tricky to find a private spot for the travelling loo. 

The next night, we camped at 119.3L. There were also sites on the opposite bank. This was a broad flat area with a slow pool to swim in. Cathedral Wall was visible from our spot, which was an added bonus. Trees for shade and for loo privacy were appreciated.

Nice option for hot summers

This campground is sprawling with lots of amenities. It's not my favorite lake (I prefer quiet lakes to motor-boat lakes), but it's closer to the I5 Corridor and Portland than many other lake-campgrounds and at a lower elevation when the mountain lakes are still too chilly. There's a town nearby and options to rent boats, so this can be a fun destination for boating fans. 

Some of the sites are quite large with a great view of the lake. 

In the summer, the water gets low in the reservoir, so it often has a long, muddy, stumpy bank which isn't quit as appealing as other lakes.

A beautiful spot on Timothy Lake

This side of the lake is beautiful, and some of these spots are right on the water, although I am never fast enough to reserve one of the waterfront spots (and I have attempted to make reservations here the day they become available, so I just don't know the trick). 

We have stayed at both ends of this campground - one with a water view, and one at the little inlet. The lake is beautiful, with a view of Mt. Hood and great evening light. Can be a little chilly as it's up at 3,227 ft, so bear that in mind when planning June or September outings. There is an easy-to-moderate 11 mile loop around the lake with pretty flat elevation for an all-day activity. Clear Lake is also a short drive away and stunningly clear!

There are no motor boats, just canoes and kayaks when we were there, so it's very relaxing.

Camping on the Clackamas

The campsites are a little closer to the road than I'd prefer, but the access to the river is great and floating is fun at this whole stretch of the river.