Filed under: One-Tank Trips
One Tank Trip for Oregon Camping
This One Tank Trip seen in the Woodall’s 2010 North American Campground Directory.
The hills are covered with vibrant green grass, and the trees grow lush and full. The rivers, lakes and streams are plentiful and full of fish. While it’s true that it rains quite a bit here in Oregon, throw on your rain slicker and enjoy the rich natural beauty of this great vacation getaway. One trip through here, and you’ll see why more and more people are choosing Oregon as a place not only for vacations, but also as their permanent residences. It’s an escape from the metropolitan lifestyle, without sacrificing any of the modern amenities we desire.
Your one tank trip introduction to Oregon begins in Eugene, which is a perfect example of why this area receives so much attention. No doubt, you’ll want to pull over and set up camp somewhere in the wide woods, and let Mother Nature take you into her arms. Like most of Oregon, this is a haven for the lover of the outdoor lifestyle. But on those especially rainy days, you’ll find plenty to do in the city. Eugene has several art galleries and museums covering everything from natural history to aviation, and as you go through the area, take note of the many covered bridges in the area.
A southward drive on the I-5 takes you through 50 miles of rolling green countryside before you come to the turnout for the eastbound OR-138, which 17 miles later takes you to your next stop, Idleyld Park. This inviting little community is nestled amidst thickets of trees and offers spectacular mountain views. There’s a myriad of trails for hiking or mountain biking, and along the way you’ll witness some incredible vistas, some of which include cascading waterfalls. Idleyld Park is also an excellent area for a fly-fishing trip on the nearby North Umpqua River; however the fish population varies depending on the season you’ve chosen for your Oregon camping visit. Steelhead are present virtually year round, but in the fall you’ll have your pick of some truly choice salmon that’ve chosen this area for their spawning ground.
Leaving Idleyld Park via the eastbound OR-138, you’ll cruise for about 45 miles, then merge with Highway 230 for 30 miles until you come to the eastbound Highway 62 which leads you 10 more miles into Crater Lake. This lake, at nearly 2,000 feet deep, is the deepest in our nation and is a featured destination for visitors and locals alike, who are drawn by the lake’s majestic beauty and the great fishing and camping opportunities that the area affords. You’ll want to spend more than just a day or two here, no question about it. Some of the more treacherous roads and trails are closed during the winter, but you can access the overall Oregon camping area all year round.
Travel west on the OR-62 for 60 miles, then take the OR-234 another 15 miles until you come to the I-5 on-ramp. Drive west on the I-5 for 15 more miles until you come to Grants Pass, an area truly blessed by natural wonder. If you have no problem with heights, treat yourself to a hot air balloon ride and see things from the eagle’s perspective. You may have difficulty choosing between all the places to pull over and witness this truly magnificent territory; but no matter where you pick, you’ll be within a stone’s throw of prime hiking and fishing areas, or you can always put on a life vest and take a trip down the whitewater rapids on the nearby Rogue River. At night, you can relax at any of several fine restaurants, many of which have live music on hand.
Head north on the I-5 and enjoy the scenic drive through 40 miles of Oregon’s natural eye candy. At the end of this leg of the trip, the town of Canyonville awaits your arrival. This quaint small town is the perfect spot to escape from big city life. Pull over and set up camp, then drop a rod and reel in the river to catch tonight’s dinner. Then fall asleep listening to nothing but the sounds of nature at night and the river as it rushes past.
Twenty-five miles north on the I-5 takes you into Roseburg, which was once a stopover point on the Applegate Trail during the 19th century. As you tour through the area, you’ll find several covered bridges dating back to the 1800s. In town, there are several historic landmarks and homes available for your investigation, and the surrounding area is a perfect spot to enjoy any water activities that strike your fancy, as well as being a bird watcher’s dream come true.
Oregon is such a large, unspoiled landscape that a single one tank trip visit doesn’t do it justice. Odds are, you’ll want to come back and explore this gorgeous land, sooner than later.
Planning a Oregon camping trip? Don’t miss this other great route on one tank of fuel:
For a complete list of one tank trip camping routes, go to Woodalls.com.