Roughly 3.8 miles downstream from its spring at the base of Black Butte, the calm flow of the Metolius River gets pinched by a basalt lava flow that creates a shallow gorge under a forest of ponderosa pines. Along the river's banks lies Gorge Campground, a collection of 18 large and spaciously distributed campsites. With virtually no amenities apart from a vault toilet, the campground is quite primitive in nature. But then, that's what makes it so great.
The campground is set under a grove of some of the largest ponderosa pines in Central Oregon. With base girths easily reaching five feet, you'll only find larger specimens of the species an hour and a half south at LaPine State Park.
Should the campground be full, be sure to check some of the other incredible campgrounds along the upper stretch of the Metolius River. From north to south, campgrounds include:
Note: Gorge Campground is open typically open from May 24 through September 17, but call (541) 338-7869 for specific dates, as they may vary from year to year.