Vicky Sosa
by Vicky Sosa
Posted January 19, 2022

Have you ever wanted to go camping in Oregon, but thought it might be too expensive? Think again! Some of the best camping in Oregon can be done for free. Keep reading to discover the 15 best free campsites in Oregon.

How to find free camping in Oregon

If you’re willing to forgo amenities like sewer, water, and electric hookups, finding free camping in Oregon isn’t difficult at all. In fact, Oregon is one of the easiest states to find free campsites because about 60 percent of the state is made up of public lands. RV park rates can vary depending on location and amenities. Free camping in Oregon is a great way to save money and get away from the crowds.

Free camping without amenities is also known as boondocking. The United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allows boondocking on most public lands as long as it doesn’t conflict with other authorized uses or isn’t specifically closed to camping. The campsites are located along most secondary roads on BLM lands and aren’t always marked. Staying on public land is also usually limited to 14 days.

Keep in mind that when you’re boondocking Oregon, you will need to have plenty of fresh water in your water tank, food, and a way to power your RV. Double and triple-check your camping checklist to make sure you’ll have everything you need while you’re away from civilization.

15 free campsites in Oregon

Now, to help your search for free campsites in Oregon, we’ve put together this list of 15 campsites we know you’ll love. There are a variety of campsites; some in forests and some on the water. So no matter what activities you’d like to do while RVing in Oregon, we have some great free campsites for you to choose from.

1. Alder Springs Campground

Oregon has eleven national forests. One of them, Willamette National Forest, is considered one of the best national forests in the US. Willamette has over 1.5 million acres, is home to seven volcanic peaks, the Dee Wright Observatory, and the second-highest waterfall in Oregon, Salt Creek Falls.

free camping oregon

Alder Springs Campground offers free camping inside the forest. It’s a perfect base for rafting the McKenzie River, tubing along Willamette Pass, or hiking the Lincoln Lake Trailhead. Alder Springs Campground is also less than two hours from Bend, a top RV destination.

2. Annie Creek Sno-Park

Located just outside of Crater Lake National Park is Annie Creek Sno-Park. During the summer, the park’s paved parking lot is used for free camping. There are two vault toilets and most RVs will fit in the lot.

free camping near crater lake

At Crater Lake, you can explore the beautiful area surrounding one of America’s deepest lakes. There are ninety miles of trails, a scenic 33-mile Rim Drive that circles the lake, and even boat and trolley tours. No matter the time of year you visit, there are plenty of things to do in the area.

3. Oak Flat Campground

The Oak Flat Campground is inside the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon. The Rogue River is known for its high-class rapids and floating trips. On the nearby Illinois River is where you’ll find Oak Flat Campground. There are 15 campsites with fire pits, picnic tables, and a vault toilet.

With 1.8 million acres, there is a lot of room to spread out and explore. Head down the rapids, hike up a mountain, or fish by the river.

4. Bonney Meadow Campground

When you’re visiting Oregon, you’re definitely going to want to explore all of the things to do in Portland. This quirky city is the largest in the state and there are great attractions and restaurants. But if you’re feeling like you need to spend some time in nature afterward, why not head two hours east to Mt. Hood National Forest?

Inside the forest is Bonney Meadow Campground and it offers some of the best free camping in Oregon. This quiet campground has corrals and is next to beautiful meadows. There is a hiking trail nearby as well as a track used by hikers, bikers, and horseback riders.

5. Mineral Camp Campground

In southwest Oregon, you will find Umpqua National Forest. The forest has three wilderness areas, 350 miles of maintained trails, and breathtaking waterfalls. There are multiple forest roads where you can find a pull-off to set up camp as well as a few campsites. Mineral Camp Campground is the most popular and it has fire pits, picnic tables, and a vault toilet.

Some things to do in the area include going rock climbing in Boulder Creek Wilderness or taking a dip at the Umpqua Hot Springs. Hikers should also head out to see Toketee Falls. The trail out to the falls is less than a mile, out and back, and the trail ends at a viewing platform overlooking the two-tiered falls.

6. Priest Hole Recreation Site

Further east and along the John Day River is Priest Hole Recreation Site. This BLM land offers free camping and is a local favorite for fishing and swimming. The road to Priest Hole is rough, so your vehicle should have a high clearance. There is one toilet at the site.

Priest Hole is a great campsite to base yourself if you want to explore the Painted Hills, Sutton Mountain Back Country Byway, Sheep Rock, Clarno, and more of eastern Oregon.

7. Three Forks Recreation Site

Three Forks is one of the most remote campsites, located on the far-east side of the state on BLM land. The site is named Three Forks for the three rivers – the Owyhee, the North Fork Owyhee, and the Middle Fork Owyhee – that converge in the area. The site has five designated campsites, a boat launch, vehicle parking, and vault restrooms.

Be on the lookout for the remains of a historic military road that can still be seen today, zig-zagging up the canyon’s west face. There are also old wagon and ranching roads that allow for hiking and walking in the area.

8. Hult Pond

Located 28 miles northwest of Eugene and 5 miles north of Horton is Hult Pond. This BLM-managed pond has a maximum depth of 35 feet and was built in the 1900s for logging purposes. Nowadays, popular activities at the pond include fishing, camping, horseback riding, boating, kayaking, canoeing, and picnicking.

The pond, with the surrounding wetland, is about 40 acres. The camping spots have a lot of room in between them so you’ll have plenty of privacy.

9. Skull Creek Campground

Skull Creek Campground is located approximately eleven miles from the community of Glendale. It is on BLM land and has picnic tables, fire grates, vault toilets, and five camping sites. It is particularly popular during hunting season.

Image source: traveloregon.com

The drive to Skull Creek is very nice with historical markers along the way. There isn’t much else to do in the area, but it’s safe, clean, and has level parking spots.

10. Mt. Ashland Campground

Some of the best camping in Oregon can be found at Mt. Ashland Campground. This campground is inside Klamath National Forest, not far from the California border. It’s also at an elevation of 6,000 feet so it offers great views. There are nine campsites, picnic tables, and vault toilets.

Image source: reserveamerica.com

The campground has access to the nearby Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), so there are lots of hiking opportunities. The area is also known for birding. Close by there are also lakes, rivers, and waterfalls to explore. Valley of the Rogue State Park is another popular stop that is about an hour away. It’s considered one of the prettiest state parks in the United States.

11. Spring Creek Campground

Another free campground can be found in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Spring Creek Campground offers visitors four campsites, picnic tables, fire pits, and a vault toilet. It is located in an open pine forest near a small meadow.

Image source: recreation.gov

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has rugged canyonlands, scenic vistas, and high mountain lakes so there are plenty of year-round recreational opportunities. The town of La Grande is about 20 minutes away, should you need to restock on supplies.

12. Pine Mountain Campground

Located inside Deschutes National Forest you’ll find Pine Mountain Campground. This free campground is close to the summit of Pine Mountain. There are six campsites, each with its own picnic table and fire pit. There are vault toilets.

Image source: pmo.uoregon.edu

The most popular attraction near the campground is the Pine Mountain Observatory, which is owned and operated by the University of Oregon’s Department of Physics. There are also hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails nearby.

13. Hot Springs Campground

Hot Springs Campground is a free campground located inside Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The campground has 30 campsites and pit toilets, but nothing else. This is primitive camping at its finest.

Image source: statesmanjournal.com

As the name implies, there are hot springs nearby. Other popular attractions in the area include Warner Peak, Petroglyph Lake, and Flook Lake. Be on the lookout for historic artifacts like arrowheads and petroglyphs, but keep in mind that removing or damaging any form of artifact is strictly prohibited and illegal.

14. Cook Creek Campground

Another great spot for free camping in Oregon is Cook Creek Campground. This campground is in Tillamook State Forest. There are 17 campsites with fire rings and trails that offer easy access to the creek.

There are hiking trails, waterfalls, and caves to explore in the area. Fishing is also a very popular pastime. Because it’s not far from the coast, the campground is also a good base for exploring the Coastal Lighthouses of Oregon.

15. South Lake Dispersed Area

Located along the northern edge of South Lake inside Siuslaw National Forest is South Lake Dispersed Area. There are campsites along the lake and a vault toilet. The area is at an elevation of 2,400 feet.

Those who enjoy fishing will love South Lake as it is stocked periodically with rainbow trout. There is also access for launching non-motorized boats. The South Lake Dispersed Area is also the easternmost point of the Pioneer-Indian Trail. This trail was used by Native Americans and early settlers to travel from the Willamette Valley to the Pacific Coast.

Additional things to know about free camping in Oregon

Before grabbing one of the best Outdoorsy RV rentals across the US and traveling to Oregon, here are a few additional things to keep in mind. We want you to have a great time, but also want everyone to respect their surroundings so that these free campsites in Oregon can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

These rules apply to most free campgrounds, but always double-check to be sure:

  • Many free campgrounds have a 14-day limit.
  • Camp at least 200 feet from water sources.
  • Use biodegradable soap and toilet paper.
  • If there are no toilets, bury human waste at least 6 inches below ground.
  • Don’t camp in the middle of clearings in meadows; camp in existing sites in developed areas.
  • Practice fire safety and build fires in existing fire rings.
  • If there is no garbage disposal, take all of your trash with you.
  • Most free campgrounds are dog friendly, but some require dogs to be kept on a leash.

Ready to explore free camp sites in Oregon?

Camping in Oregon doesn’t have to break the bank! Rent an RV and take advantage of the many free campgrounds Oregon has to offer. You’ll be able to road trip all over the state and explore mountains, lakes, rivers, and the coast. And you’ll be doing it all while saving money!

Vicky Sosa

Digital nomad and house sitter!

 

Ready to get started.

Be the first to get doses of destination inspiration, and discount codes.

We care about the protection of your data. Read our privacy policy