Sarah S.
Portland, OR
Joined September 2014
Live in Portland with my husband, Kevin & the original DyrtDog, Brandy. My favorite camping spots are along the Clackamas River in Oregon.
Small, peaceful campground near Hood River

Really enjoyed the peaceful feeling of this campground. It is tiny - only 4 spots. Sites 1-3 are on the right side as you pull up and 4 is on the left. We stayed in 3, which was great, but I think 4 is the most private of the sites. The only slight issue with 4 is that the outhouse is on the edge of the site which means a bit of traffic (not too much since it's such a tiny campground) and being nearer the outhouse, which I'm not a big fan of.  2 is the least private site because it's in  between 1 and 3. Site 1 was a little more blocked by 2 and 3 by a large log.  3 was a good site with enough level ground for 2 tents. Behind sites 2 and 3 is the trailhead that will take you up to Rainy Like  - less than a 10 minute walk to the lake. The lake is beautiful, small and remote feeling. You can hike beyond the lake which was very pretty but I preferred the hike going the other way toward Wahtum Lake. We hiked for about 3 hours (didn't make it all to Wahtum Lake because it would have been a 10 mile hike which we weren't up for.) The hike was gorgeous with beautiful views of Mt. Hood.  

The campground doesn't take reservations.

The road getting up to Rainy Lake wasn't the greatest (but totally fine with a Subaru) so you have to drive a bit slow and look for potholes.

Loved this campground and can't wait to go again!

Pretty campground but a bit tight

We met some friends at Cougar Rock Campground on Mt Rainier at the end of September thinking we would have no problem getting a site. We ended up getting the very last site in the entire campground. So even if you're going a little later in the season, I would recommend getting a reservation. (And the campground closes in October for the season.) Of course, we ended up at a site right next to the bathroom, which is not my favorite. But once again, lucky to even get a site. The site (C-22) was actually kind of interesting because there is a big rock right behind the fire pit so you can sit on the rock and be a little higher over the campfire. The bathrooms were clean and fine. You really can't go wrong looking at the stars on a clear, September evening on Mt. Rainier.

On Sunday before heading back to Portland, we took the short drive up to Jackson Visitors Center at the top of Rainier where we took some easy walks (can't even call the hikes) around the absolutely gorgeous area. The colors were stunning! Then had some awesome chili at Paradise Inn right next to the visitors center before heading home. Perfect fall weekend.

Beautiful campground that is super fun to get to

Moran State Park has several campgrounds - we had a reservation at site 17 at the Southend Campground. The other campgrounds looked great but I was really happy we ended up here, which felt like a small campground and all of the sites are right on the lake. I like site 17 because we had a neighbor on one side of us but a lake and hilly woods area on the other side so it felt more private. I would definitely recommend it and thought it was the best site in the campground. The campsite leads right down to the lake where there is a big slab of rock to sit on. Nice fire pit and grate, private flush bathrooms and showers all available.

To get to Moran State Park or anywhere on Orcas Island, you need to take a ferry. I had read that you should get a reservation but I ignored it, thinking it would be no problem. Luckily we were the second to last car to get on the ferry but we were really close to not making it. So, I did make a reservation for the return trip which was good because they were filling up and not making any of them on Sunday would have make it hard to get to work on Monday. The ferry took about 40 minutes and they have coffee, snacks and drinks, and of course, beautiful views.

Orcas Island is beautiful and more populated than I had realized. There are a handful of small hamlets around and a nice grocery store (pretty expensive though) right as you exit the ferry. Lots to do on the island, including beautiful hikes and cute restaurants and bars.

Totally worth a camping trip here and a looking forward to going back.

p.s. I have AT&T and did not get reception at the campground, but could get it by driving a few miles.

Nice Campground near the Redwoods

We met some friends at Panther Flat as it was approximately halfway between San Francisco and Portland. All in all, it is a nice, pretty busy campground. There is a river nearby that you can hear from some of the sites but have to walk down a hill and across the day use area to actually get to it. I was able to reserve the last campsite available (site 32) and it would not be my first choice. It is the closest I've ever camped to a bathroom which isn't my favorite place to camp, although I have to admit it was pretty convenient. The bathrooms were all private and clean and they usually have showers but didn't have potable water available while we were there. We were also near the camp hosts and they were really sweet. One night they set up a sheet on the side of a shed to show a movie to the kids there. Unfortunately, they couldn't get the projector to work but it was a really nice idea.

The site I would recommend is site 33 which sounds like it would be right next to site 32 but wasn't. It looked like a very private site and you could hear the water from there.

Panther Flat is on US199 and there are other campgrounds along that road. It was about a 10 minute drive to the tiny town of Gasquet where you could buy some basic supplies. We drove into the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park which wasn't far at all and tried to do a hike but had to take short turns so one of us could hang out with Brandy by the car while the rest of us checked it out as they didn't allow dogs. We also drove into Crescent City on the coast to get some oysters to grill over our campfire.

Would totally recommend this campground and it was a great area to explore.

Ranger Review: Matador DL Backpack at Cove Palisades State Park

Campground Review

Good for a very busy campground.

There are actually 2 campgrounds here. One is where we stayed, Deschutes Campground, and the other is Crooked River Campground which is just for RVs. If I was in an RV and had to choose, I would choose Deschutes because it seemed like a prettier area.

This is a good campground but it is very busy and crowded. If you are camping with kids, I think this would be a great campground with easy access to the bathroom, a playground, and a amphitheater where they offer educational talks. Snakes the night we were there! There is little privacy between the sites but it is a really beautiful area. Our site (B62) and the sites nearby back up to rocky hill which was beautiful and we saw quite a few deer. There is a hike you can do right from the campground called Tam-a-lau Trail. It's a mile to the top of the ridge and then another 6 mile loop or so once you get to the top. Nice view of the mountains the and the lake from the hike. You can also rent kayaks which we didn't do.

Overall, I prefer quieter campgrounds but it was a pretty area and nice to have a trailhead right from the campground.

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. On this trip I tested the Matador DL Backpack. I’ve had this ultralight, waterproof backpack for awhile now and I love it! It is extremely light (4.2oz) and scrunches up to the size of your hand. It's a totally packable backpack so I can just throw it in my gear and it takes up no space. (It’s actually really great for traveling, too) It’s waterproof which is great for Oregon but not needed on the hot day I used it.

There are 2 side pockets for water bottle and a smaller, zipper pocket on the outside which was perfect for my car keys. This is a perfect little, light daypack that I keep in my car (when I'm not using it) at all times because it so handy.

Great Glamping!

Kevin and I stayed at the Vintages to celebrate our 11th anniversary and it was even better than I had hoped! It's located in Dayton, OR right in the middle of wine country. The park/resort is made up of 2 parts. One part is the RV section where people with RVs can park (like a regular RV park). We stayed in the section where you rent out a RV which is there permanently. There are all super cute, vintage trailers. We chose #30 (The Neutron Couples 1) mainly because it had this amazing bathtub and it was on the end so had a bit more privacy. All the trailers are super cute and have a toilet, bathtub/shower, kitchen, 2 bikes, small patio with chairs outside. Even had plush bathrobes and pour over coffee so not a typical camping experience by any stretch of the imagination. There was also a pool, clubhouse, shower room (which was nice because it gets pretty tight in the trailer…).

From the park, you can take a short, very pretty walk to the town of Dayton where there are a few restaurants. There is also a grill at the trailer. Definitely glamping at it's finest but what else would you expect from a vintage airstream in wine country.

Incredible, Rustic Place to Stay at the Bottom of the Grand Canyon

We spent 2 nights down in Phantom Ranch at the beginning of Feb. I had never hiked the Grand Canyon before and didn't know what to expect. We hiked from the south rim down Kaibab and were really lucky to have amazing weather. It was pretty amazing to hike for hours and then end up at this tiny community (Phantom Ranch) down at the bottom of the Canyon. Phantom Ranch consists of several small buildings, including a canteen which serves as a store, mess hall, and from 8-10pm, bar. There are also small cabins you can rent but we stayed in one of the shared bunk houses with 10 beds, toilet, shower and sink. You will have a set meal time for breakfast and dinner (no lunch) and it is family style dining. Breakfast is at 5:30a.m. or 7:00a.m. and dinner also has 2 seatings, I think at 5:30 and 6:30. You have to have all of these meals reserved in advance. It was super fun to get to know fellow hikers and share a meal of stew and chocolate cake (which I guess is the standard meal there) and then play games and drink beer for a few hours. We were lucky enough to be there during a full moon so one night we walked about 10 minutes down the path to get to a sandy beach right on the Colorado River - didn't even need our headlamps because the moon was so bright. During our day down at Phantom Ranch we lounged around the picnic tables in front of the canteen, reading, and also hiked up to a ridge that overlooked the Colorado and part of the Kaibab trail that we had hiked down the day before.

There is plenty of potable water at Phantom Ranch so you can fill up your water bottles before you start your hike out. You also need to carry your trash back out with you. Trash from things you buy at Phantom Ranch can be left there.

We hiked out via Bright Angel trail which I loved! not as steep as Kaibab with beautiful turns and beautiful pockets.

Non-Reservable, Walk-in Tent Sites. Great Spot to Camp!

I really like this campground. First of all, it is an easy enough drive from Portland, about an hour or so. Secondly, you can't reserve sites which is perfect for those of us who never reserve sites and just show up hoping to find something. And because it is the 3rd campground along this road from Portland, seems likely that people may have checked out the other 2 first. All of the sites are walk in and super private. From the site we were in (K6) we could see no other campsites and could barely hear anyone else. Loved the cozy feel of our site.

The campground is on the beautiful Wilson River so we took our chairs down there and enjoyed the views and the sound of the water.

There is also a 6 mile trail (12 miles roundtrip) that leaves right from the campground and goes to Footbridge. We did most of it and it's nice and moderate.

The only negative is that it is close to highway 6 and you can hear the traffic. But at night when the traffic dies down you can hear the river.

Other notes: No wifi (at least with AT&T), close to Tillamook and the coast.

Site 4 is great

We stayed here for one night and it is a great campground near Sisters, OR. We were lucky enough to get the last site on a Friday night with no reservations. Site 4 is fairly wide open with plenty of room for a few tents. The sites (at least the ones near the creek) aren't super private but nice and spacious with lots of room in between the sites.

I really liked being right on the creek and we could here it running all night…very peaceful. There are nice, clean pit toilets and a pump for water.

Nice group site but nothing super special

This is a small campground in Mt. Hood National Forest. We stayed at a large group site right in the middle of the campground which was great because we were the only people there. It might feel much less private if there had been campers in the sites around us. There is nothing super special about this campground (no river or lake) and you are close to a road and can hear the traffic, but it was still nice, especially because we had the whole place to ourselves.

OK camping but not right on the lake and lots of hikers coming through

Wahtum Lake itself is beautiful but the campground is a bit far from it. It's about a 10 minute walk down a steep path and stairs to actually get to the lake. The sites are extremely close to each other, especially up near the pay station. As you drive up toward the campground there are 2 sites off to the left that are more private but we had a hard time finding enough flat space for 2 tents there. So we ended up near the pay station and parking lot. There are 3 major trails nearby (including the PCT) so even though there was only one other occupied campsite besides ours, the parking lot was super busy with at least 10 cars parked there at all times. It's kind of fun to watch all the hikers heading out but doesn't make for a very quite or secluded experience.

My new favorite campground in Oregon

I cannot believe I've never been to Olallie Lake before now. Really amazing! It's not that hard to get to from Portland, follow the Clackamas River where there are lots of other great campgrounds. Olallie Lake is further down the road and the last 5 miles or so are on a pretty bumpy dirt road. So, not too far but just hard enough to get to that crowds of people may not go there. And there are lots of other campgrounds in the area so lots of options if the one you 're going to is full.

We stayed at site 29, mainly because we got there in the dark and it was hard to see what the sites were like. It was actually one of the few sites not right on the water. But still a great site because it had lots space for our 3 tents, good sun/shade balance during the day, and less cold wind than I think we would have had down on the lake.

Site 30 is across the way and overlooks the lake. Great spot for one tent but could not fit more than that. (see video)

Down at the end of the peninsula are several walk in sites. You barely have to "walk in" so fine for car camping. I think these are the best spots. You will see my videos of Site 15 and Site 18 (18 would be good for a group) but just beyond that is Site 19 which is at the very tip of the peninsula and the perfect little secluded spot. It's the sort of camping spot you dream of! The only slight little problem with it is that you kind of have to walk through other peoples' site to get to it. But still worth it.

Plenty of clean pit toilets around the campground.

Found a great private site!!

We loved staying at site #6. It is totally private and really peaceful. It doesn't overlook the McPhee Reservoir like some of the other sites but the privacy made up for that. We saw about 10 deer during our stay - they were everywhere! Try to get site #6 unless you are camping on the other loop, where they have some really nice walk-in sites which do overlook the water.

Nice Campground located on reservoir and mouth of Ferron Canyon

We stayed here twice this summer and really liked it both times. All the tenting campsites are on the Millsite Reservoir but if you go higher than site number 17 you are a bit further from the water. The campground is open, so not totally private, but it was so quiet it didn't really matter. We went for a couple of hikes in the Ferron Canyon which you can walk to, and they have paddle boarding on the reservoir which we didn't have time to do. They don't have typical fire rings on the ground - they are up off the ground. See photo.

Some nice tent spots near trees

Probably not the best place to camp in July as it is extremely hot. Found a nice tent spot (site 100) and set up our tent behind some trees. Some of the campground feels like a giant parking lot but the sites near 100 are nice.

Beautiful Campground with Amazing Views

Beautiful campground in Arches National Park. I believe it is the only campground in Arches National Park and the scenery is gorgeous. All of the sites look nice but I liked site 21 and 18.

Camping isn't good but hot springs are amazing

You probably wouldn't want to camp here if it wasn't for the access to the hot springs. The "campground" is basically a parking lot with some tent platforms. But the hot springs are spectacular.

Open, gorgeous views

Beautiful views of the mountains and a 5-mile long reservoir make this campground pretty spectacular. You can even rent one of the 3 yurts if you like. You are also only about 10 minutes from the Orvis Hot Springs and a great BBQ place called Welded Elephant BBQ Shack.

Beautiful Area

I don't stay in state parks very often but I had wanted to check out Cottonwood Canyon ever since it opened last year. I waited until after October to go because they don't allow fires from June 1-Sept 30. The campground itself is very open with really no privacy between sites but that is to be expected in this sort of landscape. I'm so used to camping deep in a forest that this was a really cool change from that. We were there during a full moon and it lit up the whole campground which was pretty spectacular. We also hiked the Pinnacles Trail which follows the John Day River. Gorgeous hike.

First to Review
Love this Campground

This is one of my favorite camping spots ever. The campground is on a hill (but all the camping spots are flat) so you get a great view of the lake from most campsites. Beautiful spot. When you start driving through the campground loop, the beginning of the loop is nearest to the water and lower than the second half of the loop. I think the first part of the campground has slightly better campsites. We stayed in 9 which I think was the best spot.