Pets allowed
Allowed
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
No
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

During the 19th century, ownership claims to much of the land west of the Mississippi River were constantly disputed.  The U.S. and British Treaty of 1818 formally defined a north-south boundary along the 49th parallel all the way from Minnesota to the "Stony Mountains" (Rocky Mountains).  The great expanse of land west of the Rockies would not have a defined boundary, however; it would be shared for common interests and use.  Americans at the time referred to the land as the Oregon Country, and the British called it the Columbia District of the Hudson's Bay Company.

Congregating on the banks of the Willamette River under giant black cottonwood trees in the small village of Champoeg, a group of Willamette Valley settlers made a vote in 1843 to formally establish a provisional government to oversee the grand expanse of western land.  Voting 52 to 50 the motion was passed.

In 1845 a prominent settler named William Gilpin traveled east to Washington to deliver the petition to the U.S. congress.  By then, however, much of the British and U.S. debate over the fate of the Pacific Northwest had been well underway.  Tensions between the parties sharing the Oregon Country were continuous.  Under the Polk administration, the U.S. pushed for a more northerly boundary near the 54th parallel (think "54°40’ or fight"), but the Spanish-American War broke out in the same year the Gilpin arrived in D.C., and in an effort to avoid simultaneous wars the U.S. agreed to the Oregon Treaty in 1846.  In the treaty the U.S. settled for extending the country's boundary along the 49th parallel all the way to the coast.  The treaty created a new official name for the U.S. land, the Oregon Territory, and Oregon City was chosen as its capital, not Champoeg.

In 1861 a great flood ripped through the valley.  The Willamette River rose 55 feet above normal levels, and the town of Champoeg was completely destroyed and never rebuilt.

Today, the Champoeg State Heritage Area is designated as a 623-acre state park that offers numerous attractions for visitors including:

  • The Old Champoeg town site, with the Memorial Pioneer Mothers' Cabin, the Pioneer Memorial Building, the Pavilion and Plaza, as well as the Newell House located at the intersection of Champoeg Road and French Prairie Road.
  • A visitor center that features historical exhibits, information, videos and a general store.
  • The Donald and Falicite Manson Farmstead that features costumed demonstrations highlighting the 1850s barn, garden, kitchen, and orchard.
  • Arguably more picnic areas than any other park in the state, all of which enjoy the shade of giant Douglas firs and Oregon white oaks.
  • A 15-hole disc golf course located in the Oak Grove Day Use Area.
  • 3 miles of paved bike paths leading to the Butteville Store, Oregon's oldest continuously operating store established in 1863.
  • Roughly 2.5 miles of hiking trails.
  • A boat ramp and a day use boat dock.
  • Champoeg State Park Campground, featuring full hook-up RV sites, yurts, cabins and group sites.

Note:  The Pioneer Memorial Pavilion, picnic areas, and the picnic shelter at the Oak Grove Day Use Area can all be reserved for group functions by calling 1.800.452.5687.  The Pavilion is $100 for the first 50 occupants, $1 for each additional person, with a 200 person maximum occupancy.  The picnic areas and shelter are $58 for the first 50 occupants, $1 for each additional person, with a 200 person maximum occupancy.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Pros

Historical site and cabins. River access. Extensive picnic areas. Disc golf course. Campground.

Cons

Manicured site...less natural.

Features

Showers
Amphitheater
Historically significant
Flushing toilets
Boat ramp(s)
Bicycling
Potable water
Picnic tables
Off-leash dog area
Covered picnic areas
Marina

Site type

Full hookups
Cabins
Yurts

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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