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Open Roads Forum  >  Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping

 > Boondocking? Tell me where

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Durb

NW

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Posted: 11/08/20 11:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I live in the vicinity of Portland Oregon and we are surrounded by national forest land. When I drive through the forests there is a hill on one side of the road and a drop off on the other. I've never seen a bare field where someone could pull off and camp. Any bare ground around here would have a tree growing on it in short order. After 40 years I can't tell of a single place where we could camp for free.

Is boondocking more or less reserved for the desert and plains where there is open flat ground? How do you all find your spots? Do Oregon and Washington offer such information? I'm hesitant to pull my 5er onto an active logging road. Any advice would be appreciated.

SteveAE

Bend, Oregon

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Posted: 11/09/20 12:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are tons of places throughout Oregon for dispersion camping.
Lakes, rivers, ocean beaches (not many, but some), deserts, forests. You name it, sooooo many places.
- Check with the managing agency (usually Forest Service or BLM).
- Websites like Ultimate Campgrounds, Allstays, FreeCampsites, etc., etc. list places.
- Blog sites from fellow travelers/campers.
- Use Google Earth to scout out possibilities.
- Drive around an area first with just your truck.
- In Oregon, overnight stays at Snowparks are allowed.....most of which will hold any size vehicle (don't forget the snowpark permit though in the winter months).
- OHV riding areas....especially mid-week.
Enjoy the search.

valhalla360

No paticular place.

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Posted: 11/09/20 06:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What kind of RV are you in?

Huge difference between a truck camper and a 40ft 5th wheel finding a spot. You can find spots for big RVs but they will be fewer in number. A small truck camper on the other hand can tuck in between a couple of trees just off a forest road.


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2oldman

south

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Posted: 11/09/20 07:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here's something I saved from years ago:

If you travel eastward into the Cascades from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, you enter boondocking nirvana. There are several highways that crest the passes, and they all follow rivers. The developed campsites along the rivers are absolutely beautiful, and Oregon state parks are cheap, but if you want to find a gorgeous river/streamside camping spot and you don't need a developed campsite, it's VERRRRY easy to find something nice. I've been noticing this more and more--people just find a place to pull off the road, and set up shop. Frequently they congregate in little informal groups, set up a campfire circle, put up a sat dish, hang out while the kids innertube in the river---good times!

You have to know the backroads a bit, but the best thing to do is EXPLORE---get a map and be prepared to be amazed. There are so many wonderful rivers and streams in the forest, with great places to camp. As far as I know, Mt. Hood Nat'l Forest is the only one of the Oregon forests that doesn't allow "dispersed camping" everywhere--but I've sure as heck seen a lot of it being done there. Here are some specific suggestions:

Mt. Hood area: Salmon River Road, several miles to the road's end. Go east from Welches. Wonderful hiking trail along the river, several established campsites as well as lOTS of booncocking spots. Gorgeous area. Services nearby in Welches. You may never leave.

East of Albany: Take Quartzville Road (BLM Scenic Byway) from Lebanon. The road follows the north shore of Foster Lake and then winds along Quartzville Creek. Great swimming holes!! All BLM-legal dispersed camping, and the road follows the creek for about twenty miles before it continues up into to mountains (great drive BTW), so you can easily find your very own spot.

Continued.. because of some new WEIRD verification page I keep getting stopped at

2oldman

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Posted: 11/09/20 07:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

West of Medford: From the town of Applegate, follow the road all the way south along the west side of the reservoir. At the south end, continue until a T-junction, then turn right (west). Ooodles of WONDERFUL campsites along the Applegate River, and you will be ALONE.

Northwest of Grant's Pass/West of Merlin: Several ideas here. Take Wolf Creek exit off I-5 and take the back road to Galice. Take Taylor Creek Road from Galice to Hwy 199 (eventually). Both routes are BLM lands: twenty+ miles of peaceful creekside, with excellent boondocking campsites.


I guess if a post is too long, or perhaps pasted, you get this strange verification stuff that doesn't work.

Durb

NW

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Posted: 11/09/20 08:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks 2Oldman. I'm aware of Salmon River Road, I'll take the SUV up there and do some exploring. I was on Highway 20 within the last few weeks as 22 was closed. The area was indeed beautiful and I saw a number of campgrounds. I guess I might have to take a chance and pull the fifth wheel into some of them and risk having to back out. I have seen many snow parks but not what I would call peace, quiet and solitude.

ksg5000

Oregon

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Posted: 11/09/20 01:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My limited knowledge says that there isn't much near Portland or the Coast. Last time I camped on BLM land was near Steens Mountain which was nice but took all day to get there. I will follow this post to see what else is available.


Kevin

profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 11/10/20 09:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

durb, if the big 5er pictured in your personal profile is still your RV, you can find some room for a big rig east of the Cascade crest. For example, there are big spots available near the north entrance to Crater Lake. Also east of Mt. Hood.

Try downloading the motor vehicle use maps for each national forest near you. Then, using your tow vehicle, scout out the likely areas. Good luck!


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