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The General Recreation Page will feature activities that everybody enjoys doing in the outdoors of Southern Oregon. That will vary by season. But, we will give you a lot of information on all kinds of ways that you can get out and enjoy the great outdoors in this special part of the world that we live in.

 

 

 

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RECREATION INFORMATION - 

 

EXTREME FIRE DANGER FORCING CLOSURES AND RESTRICTIONS OF CAMPING AND RECREATION AREAS

Most public lands will be open during fire season, except there may be restrictions (see most common ones below). Some roads and areas on public land could be closed off due to current fires or firefighting activity.

Private landowners may close their properties to ALL access or have restrictions (such as no camping). See more information about private lands below.

It is each person’s responsibility to know access conditions and restrictions before heading afield. Here are some helpful places to find this information:

Here are some of the most common fire restrictions according to ODF:

  • Campfires are either prohibited or only allowed in approved campgrounds in many areas.
  • Smoking and off road driving is also prohibited in most areas, which includes motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.
  • Vehicles must have either a gallon of water or a fully charged and operational 2½-pound fire extinguisher and shovel (except when travelling on state highways or county roads).
  • ATVs must have a charged and operational 2½ pound fire extinguisher.

More about access to private land during fire season

Landowners in Travel Management Areas or involved in ODFW’s Access and Habitat program still have the right to close their lands during fire seasons. These landowners typically pull even their own contractors and workers (e.g. loggers) off their property when fire danger reaches a certain level. Ultimately their first obligation is to protect their property from the damage caused by a devastating fire.

 

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FALL CAMPING

Early to mid Fall is a tremendous time to camp on the Oregon Coast. The best weather of the year will often be had in September and Ocotober. Here is a look at the best places to camp and the amentities you can find at them. 

Best Camping on Oregon’s North Coast

Tents set in a grassy clearing with late afternoon sun hitting nearby trees.

Camping at Nehalem Bay State Park. Photo © Judy Jewell.

 

  • Fort Stevens State Park: Bike trails, a shipwreck, an old military fort, and a long beach where the Columbia River crashes into the Pacific make this a family-friendly campground. It’s big, too, with over 500 sites, including yurts and cabins, so it’s usually easy to find accommodations.
  • Nehalem Bay State Park: This campground has beach access to the Pacific on one side and sandy Nehalem Bay on the other; bike and hiking trails make it easy to get around.
  • Cape Lookout State Park: At the base of a secluded sand spit, with easy access to hiking on Cape Lookout–one of the coast’s top hiking trails–this campground has popular yurts and cabins.

 

 

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Best Camping on Oregon’s Central Coast

Two dogs at the crest of a sand dune in Oregon's Honeyman State Park.
 
 
  • South Beach State Park: Just south of Newport, this large campground has easy access to the beach. It’s a great base camp for a guided paddle trip up the nearby Beaver Creek estuary.
  • Carl G. Washburne State Park: On the central coast between Florence and Yachats, camp on the inland side of the highway in a thicket of huge salal bushes. Pile your gear into a wheelbarrow (provided) and trundle it to one of the great walk-in campsites, then hike along the Hobbit Trail. There are also plenty of standard spots for car and RV camping.
  • Honeyman State Park: A few miles south of Florence, this large campground is a playground for sandboarders and dune riders. Two miles of sand dunes separate the park from the ocean. The two freshwater lakes within the park’s boundaries are popular places to boat and swim.

 

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Best Camping on Oregon’s South Coast

The lighthouse near Cape Blanco

 

  • Sunset Bay State Park: Not only is this bay-fronting campground lovely, it’s home to the Oregon coast’s only real swimming beach and adjacent to several of the southern Oregon coast’s top sights: Shore Acres State Park, Cape Arago, and South Slough National Estuarian Research Reserve.
  • Cape Blanco State Park: A beautiful and often blustery campground at the state’s westernmost point, just north of Port Orford and Humbug Mountain. Campground trails lead down to the beach and to the nearby lighthouse.
  • Harris Beach State Park: Just north of Brookings, this magical campground sits in a grove of spruce and firs, and just off the beach are menhir-like sea stacks busy with seabirds.
  • Alfred A. Loeb State Park: On the north bank of the Chetco River, find aromatic old-growth myrtlewood and the nation’s northernmost naturally occurring redwood trees at Loeb State Park. The 1.2-mile nature trail winds through the redwoods, passing one tree with a 33-foot girth. When the south coast is foggy and cold on summer mornings, it’s often warm and dry here.

 

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Rock Climbing

Oregon is an international hot spot for rock climbers and as this sport grows in popularity so does the number of spots to do it in this state. Smith Rock is by far the most popular place for rock climbing and is known as an international climbing destination with its renowned routes and climbing areas. Located just 25 minutes north of Bend this is considered the birthplace of this American sport. Open year round Smith Rock offers thousands of already established routes, both sport and traditional to choose from. For adventurers that are boulderers (a type of rock climbing that involves no ropes and shorter boulders) a few sweet spots in Oregon await and are generally unknown at this time. Carver Woods located near Portland requires a day pass but offers plenty of options and is now known for being featured in the movie “Twilight”. Larch Mountain also offers some great opportunities and paired with a hike, it gives visitors a beautiful view from the top.

Pictured below is Smith Rock State Park near Redmond in Central Oregon.

Rock Climbing

Mountain Biking

Bend, Oregon is the top city in America for mountain biking according to Mountain Biking Action; a top national trail-riding publication. The trails range in skill level with fun and flowy routes closest to town, maintained by the Central Oregon Trail Alliance, while venturing further out will challenge riders with single tracks, rocks, ledges and plenty of gear climbs. The weather plays an important factor here and with over 300 days of sunshine in Central Oregon there is no bad time to go. In the winter you may see some snow but it doesn’t usually last long. In Bend alone there are six cycling shops where you can purchase, get a tune up or get a flat tire fixed. The scenery that awaits you here is lush ferns, waterfalls, creeks, meadows full of wildflowers and mountain tops. Oregon is also host to the Mt. Bike Oregon mountain bike festival, which is named one of the best in the world. This three day festival takes place in the scenic city of Oakridge and riders are treated to hundreds of miles of one of the words best single tracks, luscious scenery, workshops, demos, local beer and wine and a promise of a great time.

Mountain biking Oregon

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