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Open Year-round
Yes
Reservations possible?
Yes
RV Hookups
Yes
Potable water
Yes
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.

In 1987 the Oregon Legislature and Governor Victor Atiyeh partnered with private stakeholders to create a preserve that would protect the lower 18 miles of the Deschutes River and maintain the land for public access and recreation on the river.  The area is great for steelhead and trout fishing, rafting, hiking, horseback riding (March through June only) and mountain biking.

The well-shaded campground features 34 full hook-up sites, four group camping sites, and 25 car-camping/tent sites.  The tent sites are “primitive” and hence only $9 per night, whereas the full hook-up sites are $16 per night. However, don’t let the “primitive” moniker fool you - the tent sites are by far the best options, particularly the ones adjacent to the river and on the far southern edge.  From the “primitive” sites it’s only a few hundred yards to the showers and potable water, and they also don’t fill up as quickly during peak season. 

While visiting the Recreation Area, be sure to take advantage of the Deschutes’ warm waters and jump into one of the region’s best swimming holes.  To get to the best swimming hole, head south of the “T” loop on the southern edge of the campground.  From there you can also access the spectacular Deschutes River Ferry Springs Trail.  Enjoy!

Note: Due to lack of precipitation in the summer, campfires are prohibited from July 1st through September 30th.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Parking Pass

State Park Fee

Pros

Big, open sites. Swimming in the Deschutes. Lots of sun.

Cons

Hot in the peak of summer. Sites have limited privacy.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Managed by

Oregon Parks + Recreation Department

Reservation phone number

1 (800) 452-5687

Features

Flushing toilets
Showers
Swimming holes
Potable water
Picnic tables
Volleyball
Horseshoes

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

09/19/2015
This area seems more geared toward people who have boats and like to fish. The trail close to the water as you hike up river towards the swimming hole was overgrown and did have poison oak along it.
06/01/2015
We prefer more secluded and primitive camping, albeit still car camping, but when we wanted to get out of town at the start of June this year, the weather was going to be dreary and rainy within 2 hours of Portland, except past Hood River so we took a chance at Deschutes River Recreation Area. We stayed Sunday-Wednesday, so we can't speak to the weekend capacity, but this met our need (mostly). It is basically one big open field in the tent loop of 10 sites. There is zero privacy. There is a tree by each site, but nothing for privacy or even shade. We stayed at the middle (and best) spot on the edge by the river and only a couple people came and went over the three days, and none were disruptive. The fire ban was scheduled for July 1, but was put in effect early on June 1 so we only had one camp fire. Watch out for the rangers who are constantly watering the giant lawn, and potentially getting your gear/car wet.

We still had a great time and very much enjoyed hiking all over the hills. If we were more adventurous and cold-loving people, we would have enjoyed the swimming hole, but it was still too brisk for us. I did enjoy going about knee deep and the dog discovered that the cool water helped him cool down from the hot weather.

We did pick several ticks off him after trekking through the tall grasses, so be careful! Thankfully we were wearing long pants and did not suffer any ticks on ourselves.

Overall, in a pinch it worked for us. If you like the camping with strangers and maybe making some friends, it would be nice for you. There was also an area for RVs (that we didn't visit), and I think it had showers.

Oh, and be prepared for trains all day and night. It's just off I-84 and two rails I think, so we heard trains all the time and freeway traffic. It was not enough to drive us crazy when we were enjoying the hot weather, but if it were between this and another location, we'd pass on this one.
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