Most of the following campgrounds are in Mount Hood National Forest (503/668-1700, www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood). Those that accept reservations are so noted; to inquire about reservations, contact 877/444-6777 or www.recreation.gov.
Set along the banks of the Salmon River is Green Canyon (Zigzag Ranger District, 65000 U.S. 26 E., Welches, 503/622-3191, May–mid- or late Sept., $16–18). Here you’ll find 15 campsites for tents and RVs (22 feet maximum), with picnic tables and fire grills, piped water, pit toilets, and firewood available seasonally. The Salmon River Trail is nearby, and a store and a café are about 5 miles away. To get there, go to Zigzag on U.S. 26 and take Salmon River Road (Forest Rd. 2618) for 4 miles to the campground.
Near the replica of the Barlow Road Tollgate is Tollgate Campground (late May–mid-Sept., $16). Set along the banks of the Zigzag River, this campground has 15 sites for tents and RVs up to 16 feet in length. Because it’s close to the Mount Hood Wilderness and many hiking trails, it’s so popular that finding a campsite without a reservation on a summer weekend is next to impossible. To get here, take U.S. 26 one mile past Rhododendron.
Situated on the Clear Fork of the Sandy River, McNeil Campground (May–late Sept., $14) has a good view of Mount Hood. The campground has 34 sites for tents and RVs up to 22 feet in length, with picnic tables and fire grills, vault toilets, and firewood available. To reach the campground, turn onto Lolo Pass Road (County Rte. 18) at Zigzag and follow it for 4 miles. Turn right onto Forest Service Road 1825 and follow signs to the campground, about 1 mile farther.
A popular place for a night out in the woods is Camp Creek (late May–late Sept., $16, reservations accepted). This campground has 25 sites for tents and RVs up to 22 feet, with piped water, picnic tables, and fire grills. Vault toilets and firewood are also available. Situated along Camp Creek not far from the Zigzag River, the campground has double campsites that two parties can share. To get here, go 3 miles east of Rhododendron on U.S. 26 and turn south to the campground.
About 1 mile down the road from Timberline Lodge is Alpine (July–late Sept., $16). The high-elevation setting lives up to the name, with snow remaining on the ground until late in the summer in heavy snow years. There are 16 campsites for tents plus piped water, picnic tables, and fire grills. In addition to summer skiing up at Mount Hood, the Pacific Crest Trail passes very close to the camp.
Near the junction of U.S. 26 and Route 35 is Still Creek (mid-June–late Sept., $16, reservations accepted). Here you’ll find 27 sites for tents and RVs (16 feet maximum) with picnic tables and fire grills. Piped water, pit toilets, and firewood are also available. The campground has many large trees and good fishing, and it is close to a pioneer cemetery and Trillium Lake. To reach this spot, drive past Government Camp to Forest Service Road 2650.
A good place for a base camp for those who like to canoe is at Trillium Lake (late May–late Sept., $16–32, reservations accepted). Just 60 miles from Portland, the lake is a great place for city kids. If they’re ages 13 and under, they don’t need a fishing license and may keep up to 10 fish per day. Crayfish also prowl the lake bottom awaiting capture. Families also appreciate the opportunity to cruise the lake in a canoe or some other nonmotorized craft. At night, a new amphitheater hosts campfire programs and nature talks. There are 57 sites for tents and RVs (40 feet maximum), with picnic tables and fire grills. Piped water and flush toilets were installed recently; boat docking and launching facilities are nearby, but no motorized craft are permitted on the lake. To get here, take U.S. 26 two miles southeast of Government Camp, then turn right onto Forest Service Road 2656. Proceed 1 mile to the campground.
A spot that offers good fishing, swimming, and windsurfing is Clear Lake (late May–early Sept., $16, reservations accepted). Here you’ll find 28 tent and RV sites (32 feet maximum) with picnic tables and fire grills. Piped water, vault toilets, and firewood are also available. Boat docking and launching facilities are nearby, and motorized craft are allowed on the lake. To get here, go 11 miles southeast of Government Camp on U.S. 26, then 1 mile south on Forest Service Road 2630 to the campground.
A midsized county park called Toll Bridge (7360 Toll Bridge Rd., Parkdale, 541/352-6300, Apr.–Nov. and off-season weekends, weather permitting, $18–20) is located 18 miles south of Hood River on Route 35. This campground has 18 tent and 20 RV (20 feet maximum) sites with electricity, piped water, sewer hookups, and picnic tables. Flush toilets, showers, firewood, a recreation hall, and a playground are also featured. Set along the banks of the Hood River, Toll Bridge includes bike trails, hiking trails, and tennis courts.
Nottingham (15 miles south of Parkdale) and Sherwood (11 miles south of Parkdale, Hood River Ranger District, 541/352-6002, www.mthood.info, Memorial Day–Labor Day, $12, no reservations) both include basic amenities. Both are located on the east fork of the Hood River and offer good hiking.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel