Just a few miles up the road from Bates State Park you'll find the quiet Middle Fork Campground. Where Bates is brand new, full of amenities, yet still a work-in-progress, this campground is well established and austere. Two small vault toilets are well spaced out on the road that runs though the campground. Campsites, situated under tall pine trees, are separated from one another to provide a bit of privacy, and all of them have short access paths that cut through the riparian growth lining the Middle Fork of the John Day River.
The campground is mostly used by campers moving through the area, people looking to fish in the river, and a few spots are taken up by parties that use the campground for hunting camps in the fall. It is likely that the only noise intrusion will be the sound of the occasional passing car along the Middle Fork Road that runs alongside the campground. And, although the campground is first-come, first-served, it's very unlikely you'll find it full on a stop-over. If you do, keep driving west on the road for a few additional small campgrounds in the area, or go east the few miles to Bates State Park where the campsites, although more exposed to neighboring sites, are very plentiful.