Medford and the Rogue Valley

Six Great Camping Getaways from Portland

by Lauren Braden

in Camping and Outdoors

We paired six fabulous campgrounds near Portland, Oregon with great nearby hiking trails and post-hike eateries.

Keep your camping gear at-the-ready all summer long as you camp your way through these campgrounds near Portland, one sunny getaway at a time. And just so you can make a full trip out of your excursion, we’ve included a nearby day hike or recreational activity for each campground, as well as a tasty spot to stop for a post-hike beer and burger.

No campground reservations? No problem. Get our FREE GUIDE to Last-Minute Camping in the Pacific Northwest.

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L.L. Stub Stewart State Park

Six Easy Camping Getaways from Portland

  • Location: Buxton, OR off US 26  northwest of Portland
  • Distance from Portland: 34 miles (map + directions)
  • Great for: RVs, campers with dogs, cyclists
  • Reservations: 1-800-452-5687 or online
  • Summer rates: Hike-in sites are $10, walk-in tent sites are $21. Full-hookup sites are $26. Rustic cabins are $43.
  • Nearby trail: Pack bikes and ride the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, 21 miles of tree-lined, easy-grade pathway that leads you through sun-dappled glades and across swift streams.
  • Post hike grub: Who would have thought you’d find tasty Mediterranean food in a tiny town in Northeast Oregon? You will at Blue House Cafe in Vernonia, 11 miles north of the campground.

One of Oregon’s newest state parks, L.L. Stub Stewart, is sort of like a self-contained backyard playground for Portlanders looking for a quick dose of outdoor recreation. Come here and set up camp, and then hit the trails on foot, on a bike or even on horseback. The park has 1,800 acres of rolling hills with wildflowers and swaths of forest, all crisscrossed by trails.

More info: website  |  (503) 324-0606

 

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Champoeg State Heritage Area

Six Easy Camping Getaways from Portland

  • Location: Willamette Valley wine country just southeast of Newberg, Oregon
  • Distance from Portland: 30 miles (map + directions)
  • Great for: Wine lovers and history buffs
  • Reservations: 1-800-452-5687 or online.
  • Summer rates: Tent sites are $19. Full-hookup sites are $24. Rustic cabins are $39, yurts are $36.
  • Nearby trail: Camp here and bike the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. The northern section departs from Champoeg and winds its way south towards Salem and beyond, passing through rolling hills and by scenic vineyards. A good route from Champoeg is to bike to Willamette Mission State Park and back for a day trip.
  • Don’t miss: Stop to taste some Pinot Noir at wineries near Willamette Mission State Park. Try Arcane Cellars at Wheatland Winery (22350 Magness Road NW) and Strangeland Winery (8500 Hopewell Road NW).

You’ll know you’re in for something special when you arrive at Champoeg State Park for your camping getaway; it’s in a beautiful prairie-like setting on the south bank of the Willamette River in the heart of wine country, and it’s also chock-full of Oregon history. This is the site where Oregon’s first provisional government was formed in 1843–hit up the interpretive center and log cabin museum on-site for a history lesson. Hiking and biking trails criss-cross the park, and open grassy fields invite you and your frisbee. Be sure to bring a berry bowl for picking blackberries in August!

More infowebsite  |  (503) 678-1251

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Silver Falls State Park

Six Easy Camping Getaways from Portland

  • Location: east of Salem in the Willamette Valley
  • Distance from Portland: 60 miles (map + directions)
  • Great for: waterfall lovers, families
  • Reservations: 1-800-452-5687 or online.
  • Summer rates: $19 for tent sites, $24 for electrical hookup sites, rustic cabins are $39.
  • Nearby hike: You won’t even have to leave the park for one of the best hikes in the region – the 7-mile Trail of Ten Falls that takes you past ten majestic waterfalls, some as high as 100 feet. At four of the falls you can actually walk behind them and feel the spray – a wonderful way to cool off on a hot summer day.
  • Post hike grub: In a town with a surprising number of good eateries for its size, Silverton’s Seven Brides Brewing is a favorite for craft beer, inventive pub fare and communing with the locals. They’re open for lunch and dinner, plus breakfast on weekends.

Oregon’s largest state park (8700 beautiful acres!), Silver Falls State Park is nestled on the western slope of Oregon’s Cascades east of Salem, a part of the greater Willamette Valley where Christmas tree farms outnumber vineyards. The park itself is one of the Northwest’s finest, with miles of hiking and paved biking trails, stunning rain forest habitat and spacious, beautiful campsites. Silver Falls has some of the last remaining low-elevation old growth coniferous forest in the Cascade foothills, so don’t forget to pack your camera! We particularly love to rent a rustic cabin at this park in autumn and revel in crisp air, subtle fall color and amazing solitude.

More infowebsite  |  (503) 873-8681

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Eagle Creek Campground

Six Easy Camping Getaways from Portland

  • Location: Columbia River Gorge near Cascade Locks, OR
  • Distance from Portland: 40 miles east (map + directions)
  • Perfect for: Waterfall hikers, tent campers
  • Reservations: NO. First-come-first-served.
  • Summer rates: $15
  • Nearby hike: Hike the Eagle Creek Trail to Punchbowl Falls right from the campground.
  • Post hike grub: Grab a table with a waterfront view at the Locks Waterfront Cafe in Cascade Locks. The menu is pretty standard (fish and chips, burgers, salads, draft beer) but the food is more than satisfying, especially since you’re eating literally right on the shore of the mighty Columbia.

Hosting campers since 1915, Eagle Creek Campground is considered the first Forest Service campground constructed in the United States. With just 17 campsites and no RV hookups, Eagle Creek is not a big draw for throngs of Columbia Gorge summer tourists, and so despite its small size you’ve a good chance at snagging a spot. All sites are first-come, first-served. To make the most of your trip, awaken early to hike the beautiful Eagle Creek Trail right from your campsite in solitude, before the Portland day hikers arrive.

More infowebsite  |  (541) 308-1700

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Beaver Campground

Six Easy Camping Getaways from Portland

  • Location: Columbia River Gorge 12 miles north of Carson, Washington
  • Distance from Portland: 62 miles (map + directions)
  • Great for: Solitude seekers, huckleberry lovers
  • Reservations: 1-877-444-6777 or online
  • Summer rates: $20
  • Nearby hikeLower Falls Creek Trail (5 miles RT, 800 feet elevation gain) in the Trapper Creek Wilderness is lined with juicy huckleberries in late summer and entices you with a deep pool of crystal-clear water just above the two-tiered falls.
  • Post hike grub: Backwoods Brewing Company in Carson. Stop in for a burger and a pint of “The Bumbler” – an Imperial IPA that will send you off hopping.

With just 21 campsites (no hookups) Beaver is a bit off the radar. In addition to a quiet camp, you’ve got the little-visited Trapper Creek Wilderness just up the road to the north. A little over half the campsites here can be reserved in advance; the rest are first-come first-served.

More infowebsite  |  (360) 891-5000

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Trillium Lake Campground

Six Easy Camping Getaways from Portland

  • Location: South side of Mount Hood
  • Distance from Portland: 61 miles southeast of Portland (map + directions)
  • Great for: paddling, fishing, families.
  • Summer rates: $20
  • Reservations: 1-(877) 444-6777
  • Nearby hike: The Trillium Lake Trail is 2 miles round trip and circumnavigates the lake. It’s a great choice for kids or anyone who desires a flat, easy, beautiful trail.
  • Post hike grub: Head to the Ice Axe Grill, part of the Mt. Hood Brewing Company in Government Camp

It’s popular, so reservations are recommended, but with 57 campsites there’s a good chance you can snag a site if you call right away! This campground is an ideal getaway for Portland-area families because it hosts campfire programs and nature talks during the summer months. Trillium Lake makes a great base for exploring the trails of Mount Hood, or just paddling around the water.

More infowebsite  |  (503) 668-1700

 

Note: Because these campgrounds are spectacular and because they’re close to a major metropolitan area, don’t be surprised if those accepting reservations are booked out for months on the weekends. Go midweek if you can, or save the most popular of these for early fall, when you will be rewarded with solitude on the trail and bug-free bliss around your evening campfire. See our fall camping tips for more inspiration on camping September – November in the Pacific Northwest. Or, check out this list of Oregon State Park campgrounds that are first-come, first-served always.

 

PHOTOS: Stub Stewart by dolanh, Punchbowl Falls on the Eagle Creek Trail by Ricardo Wang, Yurt at Champoeg State Part by Lauren, Falls Creek Falls by Major Clanger, Trillium Lake by Shawn, Silver Falls State Park by David Barry.
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