Champoeg State Heritage Area is packed with history, fun activities, a beautiful riverside setting and a campground with 75 campsites for RVs offering full or partial hookups. Located five miles southeast from Newberg, Oregon, the 662-acre park is situated along the Willamette River and is the historical site of the first provincial government meetings in Oregon. Champoeg State Heritage Area was created in 1901 when John Hoefer and Casper Zorn donated one square rod of land to establish Provisional Government Park. The town of Champoeg was established in 1830 and today is preserved as a ghost town and contains the Champoeg State Park Historic Archeological District which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
The land surrounding Champoeg State Heritage Area was home to the Kalapuya Indian Tribe. The population of the Kalapuyas declined rapidly after interacting with the first European settlers who were fur trappers working for the Hudson Bay Company. Later, the town of Champoeg was founded in 1840 and in 1843 was home to the first meeting to form a government in the Oregon Territory.
Today, Champoeg State Heritage Area preserves the important ghost town that contains six historic buildings including the historic Butteville Store which is the oldest continuously running business in Oregon. Besides visiting the historic buildings there are a plethora of activities for RVers to enjoy at Champoeg State Heritage Area such as hiking, biking, fishing, and disc golfing.
The weather at Champoeg State Heritage Area is perfect for people visiting with motorhomes. Summertime temperatures start in the high 60s peaking to the low 80s. Wintertime brings temperatures between the mid-30s to mid-40s with the possibility of more than six inches of rain.
Champoeg State Heritage Area is accessible from Champoeg Road Northeast. Reaching Champoeg Road Northeast from the east off of I-5 is relatively easy for big rigs. Navigating along Champoeg Road Northeast from Route 219 involves navigating another fairly straight road which should pose no problems for larger rigs or motorhomes. Once inside the heritage area driving is not difficult. Traveling to the two campgrounds located in the eastern portion of the heritage area from the entrance station offers little problems for drivers. The west side of the heritage area brings plenty of congestion for RVs near the two-day use areas of Riverside and Townsite. While driving in the heritage area, you will encounter plenty of other traffic from bicyclists, pedestrians, and children playing in the campground loops. Please adhere to all posted speed limits.
Champoeg State Heritage Area Loop A campground is situated along one loop that contains 46 back-in campsites for RV and trailers which are furnished with electric and water hookups. The campground is within a heavily forested area that provides shade and privacy for most campsites. Each campsite boasts a picnic table, fire ring, and a paved parking pad which may require leveling. Motorhomes are limited to 55 feet in length and not all campsites can accommodate larger rigs. There is a dump station near the entrance of the Loop A campground. Other facilities within the campground include flush toilets, showers, and a natural play area for children located between both campgrounds. Generators may be used from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets must be restrained by a six-foot leash at all times. The Loop A campground is open from April to May.
The Loop B campground at Champoeg State Heritage Area is situated along two loops that contain 34 campsites suitable for RVs and trailers. The campground offers some shade and privacy but not at all campsites. There are six pull-through campsites and 28 back-in campsites. Of the 34 campsites eight are furnished with full hookups and 26 are furnished with electricity and water hookups. RVs and trailers are limited to 80 feet in length and most campsites cannot accommodate larger rigs. There is a dump station located near the Loop A campground. Please do not dump full holding tanks at campsites. Other facilities available are flush toilets, showers, and a natural play area for children between the two campgrounds. Generators may be used from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets must be restrained by a six-foot leash at all times.
Take your fishing pole with you and get ready for a nice day of fishing along the Willamette River, Mission Creek, and Champoeg Creek. The Willamette River is best fished from a kayak or canoe and from shore. You can catch steelhead, Chinook salmon, and chubs along the flat muddy bottom of the river. The two creeks boast nice fishing for rainbow and brown trout from the shoreline of each creek. Try the mouth of the Champoeg Creek where it enters the Willamette River for exciting angling options. Please check Oregon state rules and regulations for licensing, bag, and size limits.
Hiking in the heritage area is great for all ages and skill levels of hikers including families. There are several hiking trails in the western portion of the heritage area which offer easy hiking for families near the Townsite and several historical sites with plenty of interesting interpretive signage about the historic significance of the area. The Townsite Trail follows the Willamette River for over a mile before connecting to the bike route that takes you to the historic Butteville Store. When hiking on the bike route be aware of sharing the route with bicyclists.
One of the more popular things to do in Champoeg State Heritage Area for RVers is to take one of the many ranger-led interpretive tours. The tours are a fabulous way to learn about the formation of the earliest form of government in the Oregon Territory. A must while at the heritage area is the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin and the Robert Newell House Museum which is packed with period furnishing. There are plenty of interpretive signs at each of the five historic locations and eating ice cream at the Butteville Store is perfect on a hot summer day.
RVers should strap their bikes onto their vehicle and go for a ride while visiting Champoeg State Heritage Area. The heritage area offers four miles of biking trails that are ideal for all types of riders. The best route to take starts in the western portion of the heritage area near the Riverside day use area. The biking route takes you east through meadows before following the road in the park for a while. Continue past the two campgrounds and follow the route to the historic Butteville Store.
Bird watching is an ideal option for RVers where you can relax along one of the waterways while viewing hundreds of bird. Take your binoculars with you because there are more than 130 species of birds that migrate or live within the heritage area. You can expect to see birds like turkey vultures, western bluebirds, tree swallows, and ruby-crowned kinglets. Other species of birds that visit the Willamette River are mallard ducks, Canadian geese, and ospreys.
Pack your discs in your motorhome and play an exciting game of disc golf on the oldest course in Oregon. Created in 1980, the disc golf course boasts 15 holes which are played through a thick forested area. The fairways are manicured during the summer months for easier play and the course is beginner friendly. Players tee off from rubber mats with several styles of holes. Be aware of holes number 10-12 which are challenging and many people lose their discs in the heavily forested areas off of the fairways.