Planning a last-minute overnight adventure? Here's a shortlist of where we camp and how without a reservation.



Goose Lake State Park, Southern Oregon


For fans of feathered friends, head out to Goose Lake in spring to early summer to spot the waterfowl during their migration south. This lake is the home of over a dozen bird species and herds of mule deer. Check out Hart Mountain Wildlife Refuge and the Warner Mountains just east of the park.


Open for camping: May 1- October 30

Recreate: Hike, Wildlife

Available sites: 42 electrical & 6 tent first come, first serve campsites



Minam State Recreational Area, La Grande, OR


Expect a quiet, remote, and less trafficked camp experience at Minam State Park; this campground is two miles upriver from the boat launch. Escape to the forest, go for a hike and relax by the river. To drift down the river BYO or rent a raft from Minam General Store. Plan on hiking one of the many trails in the Wallowa Whitman National forest; we used AllTrails maps to plan our hike here.


Open for camping: May 1- October 31

Recreate: Hike, Float, Wildlife

Available sites: 22 primitive campsites with water and one universal access site



Bates State Park, Blue Mountains, OR


Bates State Park was a lumber mill that closed in the 1970s. The park interpretive panels tell the history and the ongoing projects to restore the land and waterways. Short three-mile trails weave throughout with views of the park and ponds. To fish creekside, plan on reviewing the Oregon Department Fish & Wildlife regulations before heading out.


Open for camping: May 1- October 31

Recreate: Fish, Hike, History, Biking

Available sites: 28 primitive campsites for tents or self-contained RVs, six campsites for hiker/ biker campers that include electric plugins, and three universal access campsites



Catherine Creek State Park, La Grande, OR


Pack your hammock and swing under some of the tallest ponderosa pines at Catherine Creek State Park. Take in nature along the three-mile trail, fish for rainbow trout or hang by the creek and take in the canyon to creek scenery.


Open for camping: April 22- October 19

Recreate: Hammock swinging, Hike, Fishing, Nature-gazing

Available sites: 19 primitive sites with water nearby and one universal access campsite



Smith Rock State Park, Bend, OR


Smith Rock State Park is a well-known climbers' natural paradise with over 1000 bolted routes. Hikes and mountain bike routes run through miles of river canyons and steep cliffs, check out the trail maps in the area by AllTrails. Trails are periodically closed to protect golden eagle and falcon nesting areas. Updates on closures are posted regularly on-site and online.


Open for camping: March 15- November 15

Recreate: Rock climbing, Wildlife, Hiking, Mountain biking

Available sites: Walk-in bivouac area for tents


Explore more from: In Park

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