Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Oregon Tour Guide, Favorite Campgrounds in the Cascades

I like to camp, there's no secret there, but I don't get to camp very often anymore.  I don't have anyone to care for the cats and its not as much fun if you are alone.

But I have some favorite spots I have visited in the last couple of years.  I'm bored, you see, right now.  It's blazing hot outside.  100 degrees.  Going to be over 100 the next two days.

First lets strike out from here and head east on highway 20, through Lebanon and Sweet Home, then beyond.

I love Foster Reservoir.  I take my raft out and row all around that lake and also up the Santiam's south fork as far as I can go.  Farther up, people love to kayak down it, even in the winter.  Foster Reservoir is just above Sweet Home off highway 20.  Highway 20 then takes off up into and through the Cascades.
Santiam kayakers, taken last winter when I was looking for lost cat Bella.  They wore dry suits.

The camping at Foster Reservoir, at Sunnyside, I don't like so much.  It's one big old field and the drinking gets heavy sometimes.

Drive on up to Green Peter Reservoir, which is mostly empty now, then on beyond to Yellow Bottom campground.  Now that is one beautiful area.  However, the roadside camping and some trouble I had once when alone, keeps me away mostly.  I won't go up there alone.   I know the roadside camping is now banned along there.  People trashed it.  But the river along the very narrow windy road is so beautiful I can hardly stand it just to write about it.  I want to go back.  There are gorgeous clear pools too for swimming.  Watch out for log trucks, if you drive it.

But, that's not on highway 20.  Stay on highway 20 beyond Foster and you climb up to Tombstone Pass, passing along the way several campgrounds.  I camped once at House Rock campground and climbed the trail up.  Some campsites are right on a stream, but its very shaded.

Fernview campground is not far out of Sweet Home.

Fernview's entrance

Trout Creek, Fernview, Lost Prairie, which is down the other side of Tombstone Pass, but before highway 20's junction with 126, which goes back to Eugene, these are some of the great campgrounds.  Proceed east beyond the junction and you can camp at Lost Lake or Big Lake, or, like I did two years ago, Suttle Lake which has three campgrounds, but Link Creek, at the west end, is the best, I think.  I loved that campground.

Lost Lake, right off HIghway 20, not far from Hoodoo or Big Lake campground turn off, but opposite side of the road.  I've camped here.  It's not bad. I've camped at Big Lake too and hiked that area.  There are trails galore in this area.
Suttle Lake, which is maybe 20 miles beyond the junction of 20 and 126, not sure on the exact mileage.

Link Creek Campground, my favorite, at the far west end of Suttle lake.
You can drive on from here, into Sisters, which is another maybe 12 or so miles.  But I turned left a few miles east of Suttle Lake and went to see the famous Metolious river, a fly fishing haven (catch and release only) with several campgrounds.  And....Camp Sherman.

Camp Sherman is about five miles off highway 20 I think and straddles the Metolius.

Campground near the Metolius

Cabin in Camp Sherman on the river

I also turned right at the junction on highway 20, onto highway 126, back towards Eugene.   Three miles down is Clear Lake on the left, beyond the lava fields.  I camped at Clear Lake's Coldwater Cove campground last year, on a lost dog hunt.  That was fabulous with big private campsites, some overlooking the lake.  There's a boat ramp.  No motor boats allowed but you can take your canoe or kayak or raft onto the lake. It's cold.  You may not want to swim. There is also a very popular hiking trail around the lake.  Another trail will take you to join up with the McKenzie River trail, which follows the river towards Springfield and you will see water falls and the famous Blue Pool off Tamolitch Falls.

My Coldwater Cove Campsite on Clear Lake

Clear Lake

Mckenzie River trail systems
I also camped at Delta Campground, which is closer to Eugene off 126.  You take the turn off to Cougar Reservoir and Terwilliger hot springs but almost immediately take a right to Delta campground. I've not used the hot springs.  This is a nice campground and when I went, I first got a campsite on Cougar, at Slide Creek.  I love the campgrounds up there, three of them, Sunnyside, Slide Creek and Cougar Crossing. However they are frequented by the rowdy loud drinking crowds.  And this time was no exception.

 I set up my tent, then went to meet my friends, who were camping at Delta, and when I returned, my paid for campsite had been stolen by a group of young Eugene rowdies with no ethics at all.   They had removed my post tag, and laid it in the dirt and put up theirs.  It was dark and these were not nice people to do that.  I parked behind them and confronted them.

 Finally, I accepted the fee I'd paid to camp plus some, to vacate.  I didn't want to be near them anyhow.  Didn't seem safe.  I was alone and there was a group of them and no camp host.   I took my tent down and left.  However, after I told the camp host about it at Delta, he gave me at no cost a new campsite there, right on the river.  It was awesome.  Delta lies between two forks of the McKenzie river in an old growth forest.  There is a nice easy loop trail through those amazing trees.  Across the road is Blue Lake Reservoir.  I took my raft out on Blue Lake.  There's one campground on Blue Lake but it's not very private.  I wouldn't want to camp there.

Cougar Reservoir

Blue Lake Reservoir

My campsite just off the river at Delta
Now besides these, my other favorite, off the top of my head, is Shadow Bay, at Waldo Lake.  Now that is something, like paradise, I'm telling you.  I want to camp there for the limit of time I can camp there.  But of course that is not possible, due to the cats here and money issues.  But I would if I could, I'm telling you.

Shadow Bay is at the south end of Waldo Lake, one of three campgrounds along the lake's eastern shores, and about 9 miles off of Highway 58.  Waldo Lake's turnoff is about 58 miles from where you take off of I5, from just south of Eugene.  It's not that far.


My camp

Too beautiful for words

How I love Oregon


  1. The scenery is brilliant and how blue is Blue Lake!

  2. It is indeed beyond beautiful. Being beside water always makes me feel better, whether it is salt-water or fresh, moving or still.
    I hope you get to go back some time soon.

    1. Ditto, on water, EC. I hope I do also.

  3. What beautiful pictures! A nice way to start my day.

  4. Very beautiful. Enjoyed, thanks for sharing that time. Shame about the rowdy people..

    1. There seem to be drunken rowdies everywhere. They just move their drinking locations. Glad you enjoyed the photos. I like remembering.

  5. You make me want to go camping, though I agree about the rowdy people. Lovely pictures. I was away from the Internet for a few days and happy to find this post. Best wishes!

    1. Well come to Oregon and let's go!

  6. Waldo is the very best! We were just there, and if you know Waldo, you know it is famous for mosquitoes until late August. There wasn't a single mosquito there this time, in July!!! It was just so gorgeous. You are right, the very best.

    1. You were there, Sue? I know, I was up there last Saturday, when my brother and his wife stayed in Oakridge, took my raft and we went out, they in their 18 foot canoe, although it was cloudy at times. My brother and his wife had no idea how beautiful that area is and vow to return in September. Not one mosquito, I was shocked. The adage is, don't go to Waldo until mid August at least. I noticed the lack too and wondered why.

    2. Sue, did you stay in a campground, if so which one?