Winter camping is one of the most adventurous and rewarding activities out there, especially in the beautiful state of Oregon. But one of the problems you might run into is both expected and unexpected closures that limit your choice of destinations for winter camping in Oregon.
Keep reading to learn all about the best dependable spots for winter camping in Oregon!
Winter Camping in Coastal Oregon
Fort Stevens State Park
Fort Steven’s State Park is a 4,300-acre coastal park at the north-western tip of Oregon with one of the largest public campgrounds in the entire U.S.
Open year-round, it also has incredible historical value thanks to the presence of a military site at the mouth of the Columbia River that ran from the Civil War straight to World War II. That’s what makes it one of the best places for winter camping in Oregon!
Now there’s a military museum and info center open year-round. But besides this historical significance (there’s also a shipwreck on the beach!), visitors can take advantage of a variety of winter recreational activities.
Depending on the weather conditions you can enjoy traditional outdoor activities like hiking 15 miles of trails, wildlife viewing, and exploring the nearby Coffenbury Lake. The South Jetty Observation Tower also gives visitors amazing views of the landscape.
And, of course, there’s year-round camping. You can book your reservation at a campsite (decked with picnic tables and fire pits) up to six months in advance. If you’re looking for a chill getaway, rest assured that there are flush toilets and hot showers.
Visitors can even enjoy cabins, yurts, or over 150 full-hook-up RV sites! For the more adventurous types, there are also primitive hike-in sites.
Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
Also at the mouth of a river and not too far from Eugene, you’ll find Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, another great location for winter camping in Oregon.
Both bay-front and lake-front, Umpqua Lighthouse State Park is found in a part of the Oregon coast that is best known for crabbing and sports fishing. But there are still tons of fun things to do during the winter, such as enjoying the scenery, exploring the lake, and discovering the many trails available to visitors.
The year-round campground is small but offers spots for both RVs (12 full hookup sites) and tents. Visitors can also take advantage of rustic cabins and yurts (which are probably more comfortable than a traditional tent during the winter!) as well as flush toilets and showers.
If you’re looking for the glamping experience, Umpqua Lighthouse State Park also has you covered their deluxe yurts have a private bathroom and shower, a small kitchen corner, and even an outdoor barbecue grill!
You can book any of these spaces up to six months early!
Winter Camping in North Oregon
L. L. Stub Stewart State Park
Not too far from Portland, you’ll find another great winter camping destination in Oregon. L. L. Stub Steward State Park offers boundless activities during both the warm and cold seasons, with plenty of options for every member of the family.
The park, which sprawls across 1,800 acres, has a whopping 30 miles of multi-use trails (you have to share them with bikers and horseback riders). There’s also a paved 21-mile trail for visitors who are not quite ready to venture into the wild.
You can begin your adventure by learning about the human and natural history of the region at the Discovery Depot. Activities besides hiking (and according to the weather forecast) include biking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more.
The park also includes some perks that you might not find in other places, including off-leash pet areas for well-behaved dogs (as well as some pet-friendly cabins) and EV charging stations for electric vehicles at the Welcome Center parking area.
The year-round camping experience at L. L. Stub Steward State Park is traditional, including both tent sites and full hookup RV sites (with fire rings and picnic tables!) as well as rustic cabins. Unfortunately, the primitive hike-in camps are open seasonally, as well as the horse camp.
If you bring your kiddos along, they’ll have a blast at the playground on the east loop (weather permitting) and will certainly appreciate the flush toilets, too.
Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls State Park isn’t just a great destination for winter camping in Oregon—it’s a favorite state park, period. And that’s since it opened in 1933! Apparently, people call it the “crown jewel” of all the Oregon state parks.
Though Silver Falls State Park is best known for its mild weather activities, they’re still adventures you can pursue in the cold if you bundle up well. One of these favored activities is the “Trail of Ten Falls,” which is exactly what it sounds like: a 7.2 moderate hike that takes hikers past ten beautiful waterfalls.
Over all, the state park has over 35 miles of multi-use trail. So whether you’re into mountain biking, horseback riding, or just plain old hiking, there’s lots of room for everyone. Just keep in mind that everything gets a bit trickier during the winter, so make sure you’re well-equipped to be outside in the cold and even potentially in the snow.
Silver Falls State Park even has an exciting perk: electric vehicle charging stations. You can find them at the South Falls Day-use parking area.
And of course, the best part is the campground. While not everything is open year-round, you can still find more than 18 electrical sites with water, 14 cabins (half of which are pet friendly!), five primitive camping sites with horse stalls, plus Flush toilets and showers.
What more could you want while winter camping in Oregon?
Winter Camping in East Oregon
Wallowa Lake State Park
Tucked in among a glacial late, a river, and the Wallowa Mountains, Wallowa Lake State Park is another ideal destination for winter camping in Oregon. Visitors can take advantage of its strategic location close to the Eagle Cap Wilderness area as well as the Wallowa Lake Trailhead.
Though Wallowa Lake State Park is best known for its water activities, there are tons of great nature adventures to pursue during the colder months, too. In fact, it’s often compared to a Swiss alpine village! Hiking gives you a particularly breathtaking view of the magnificent landscape.
The campsite is open year-round as the plowing and maintenance caused by the cold and snow allow, including 121 full-hookup RV sites (36 of which are pull-through), 88 tent sites, two yurts, three group tent areas, with hot showers and flush toilets.
Keep in mind, however, that depending on the weather the water might be turned off. It’s always best to call ahead of time to check on the conditions of the sites, and amenities, and make your reservation!
Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area
Cose to the Blue Mountains, the Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area is an amazing destination for winter camping in Oregon because of its beauty and historic significance. According to its website, travelers (even those on the Oregon Trail!) have stopped here to replenish their supplies for hundreds of years.
In fact, just seven miles away you can see the famous Oregon Trail wagon ruts at the Deadman’s Pass Rest Area.
Now, campers can enjoy the Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area’s forests and hundreds of miles of trails. Here you can find five camping sites, with water available in the restroom building where you can also find hot showers and flush toilets.
If you’re more into glamping, you can park your RV at one of the 16 full hook-up sites open year-round. The cabins are also open throughout the winter, and four of them are pet-friendly, so you can bring your four-legged friends along for an additional fee.
Plus Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area also has a Totem Duplex cabin available for reservations, which has two separate units for a total of 10 bed spaces. Both the cabins and the totem have a small refrigerator, lights, heating, and a table with chairs.
Make sure to reserve your preferred accommodation ahead of time!
Winter Camping in Central Oregon
Tumalo State Park
Though most of the most renowned camping destinations in Oregon are found in the northern regions of the state, in central Oregon you can take advantage of Tumalo State Park all year round. Located along the Deschutes River, this state park offers all the traditional outdoor activities you could ask for.
Dotted with beautiful streams and lakes, Tumalo State Park is a great base camp to explore the spectacular nature by hiking and mountain biking, as the weather allows. You should definitely hike the Deschutes River Trail, for example (note that this trail in particular is closed to bikers).
While not every site is open in the winter, if you call ahead for a reservation you’ll be happy to hear that some tent sites, full-hookup RV sites, and all the yurts are open throughout the cold months.
You should note though that during the winter the water is shut off to the spigots and the flush toilets are closed.
But don’t worry, there’s still a porta-potty on site!
To avoid confusion, the website also specifies that what’s known as Tumalo Falls is not actually near Tumalo State Park.
Green Mountain Campground
It’s no secret that the Green Mountain Campground is not for the faint of heart, especially during the winter. From this beautiful basecamp, campers can explore a surprising volcanic landscape: hardened lava flows, lava fields, and a cinder cone, as well as a desert landscape.
Why is this winter camping in Oregon destination not for the faint of heart? Because Green Mountain Campground is a remote campsite, it will of course feel even more remote during the winter. The website suggests using four-wheel drive cars on the rugged dirt roads, which sometimes might even be impassable during the winter.
And yet, the campground is open year-round. This makes it a great winter camping destination for adventurers, photographers, stargazers, and people who appreciate their solitude.
The campsite includes six primitive spots open on a first-come, first-serve basis. Visitors have access to a vault restroom, but there is no drinking water available on-site and you’re expected to pack out your trash.
Winter Camping in South Oregon
Crater Lake National Park
As mentioned earlier, the best-known winter camping destinations tend to be along Oregon’s coast and in its northern regions, but in South Oregon you can still enjoy Crater Lake National Park, which is open year-round and 24 hours a day despite the fact that many roads and services are closed from November to April.
Still, there are tons of fun activities to enjoy when winter camping at Crater Lake National Park. The most obvious is playing in the beautiful snow, but you can also go on a ranger-guided snowshoe walk, cross-country and downhill ski (but remember that the park doesn’t have ski lifts!), snowboard, snowmobile, sled, and even Winter Fat Tire Biking.
The ranger-guided snowshow walks are particularly loved because of how much you learn from the guide, and last about two hours.
Because snow can create dangerous conditions, take all the necessary safety measures when you go winter camping in Oregon’. Their website even suggests taking avalanche courses if you’re going to be venturing into the remote snowy landscape on your own.
Wrapping up Winter Camping in Oregon
We hope this post has helped you pick a great destination for winter camping in Oregon. Remember that winter conditions could cause last-minute service, amenities, site, and/or road closures, so once you pick a destination keep an eye on their website and social media to stay up to date on any changes. You should also call ahead of time to make a reservation.
Want more winter camping inspiration? Find more guides and ideas on our winter camping page!
- About the Author
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Margherita Bassi is a freelance writer, journalist, and editor. She grew up between the US and Europe, and nurtured her love for nature and the outdoors in both countries.
In the US, she went on dozens of RV trips with her family, scouted out the best restaurants in every city she visited, and learned how to grow herbs and veggies of all kinds by watching her mother.
With an MA in International New Media Journalism, Margherita is also a skilled researcher in a wide range of topics, and has extensive experience interviewing both individuals and experts.