Gerber Recreation Area Camping
Guide

Introduction

The Gerber Recreation Area is a Bureau of Land Management property with developed campsites and a day-use area. The recreation area is situated in a wilderness area on the Gerber Reservoir. Enjoy the high desert landscape at Gerber Recreation Area, east of Klamath Falls, Oregon. The reservoir provides irrigation water for agricultural activities and has 17 miles of shoreline. The dam here was constructed in 1924, and is a concrete structure rising 84 feet in height, with a length of 285 feet. The terrain in the area is characterized by a high plateau, mountain ridges, reservoirs, valleys, canyons, rocky outcroppings, and pine forests. The area provides excellent wilderness habitat for wildlife and serene surroundings for nature lovers with plenty of recreational opportunities.

Recreational activities at Gerber Recreation Area include overnight camping, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and cycling. Visitors to the area can also enjoy OHV activities and hunting in the 100,000 acres of backcountry surrounding the Gerber Recreation Area Camping sites. Overnight camping is available at Gerber North and Gerber South campgrounds in the recreation area. The campgrounds are primitive with no hookups, and are open all year on a first-come, first-serve basis.

A horse camp, day-use area, and boat ramps to support equestrians, day picnickers, and watercraft users, can also be found here. The area has a rich history, and visitors may come across archeological or historical artifacts during their stay. Do not disturb or remove artifacts; instead, report them to the BLM Klamath Falls Resource Area Office.

RV campers requiring a unit to explore the area can find one at Oregon RV Rentals. While in the region, be sure to swing by the Fremont-Winema Forest and the Collier Memorial State Park which are within a short driving distance of the Gerber Recreation Area Camping sites.

RV Rentals in Gerber Recreation Area Camping

Transportation

Driving

Travelers in the region will find services and amenities 20 miles to the west, in the town of Bonanza, Oregon, or 45 miles west at Klamath Falls, Oregon.

To reach the Gerber Recreation Area Camping areas from Klamath Falls, head east on State Highway 140 until you reach Dairy, Oregon, then continue east on Highway 70. Proceed five miles to the town of Bonanza. At Bonanza, pass through the central part of town and take the merge onto East Langell Valley Road. Continue 11 miles to the three-way intersection at Haynesville. Take Gerber Road east for 8.5 miles to the entrance for the Gerber Recreation Area via Gerber Dam Road.

Highways, and Gerber Road, are well paved and are appropriate for RV and tow trailer travel. As you approach the recreation area, the access road becomes more informally surfaced and may have potholes and rough sections, so RV travelers will need to slow down and proceed with caution.

During the winter, the area can experience sub-freezing temperatures and wet conditions which create icy highways and access roads. Winter tires improve traction significantly on surfaces when traction is compromised by icy conditions. During the summer, high temperatures in the desert landscape require vehicles to be well maintained and have adequate fluid levels.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Gerber Recreation Area Camping

Campsites in Gerber Recreation Area Camping

First-come first-served

Gerber Recreation Area Campground North and South

Both North and South Gerber Camping areas are located on the Gerber Reservoir in the Gerber Recreation Area of Oregon. Enjoy the views of the reservoir, mountains, and high desert plateaus, while staying at the secluded campground.

The campgrounds are open all year around, and services such as maintained restrooms, trash collection, and a campground host are available during the peak season from mid-May to mid-September. The restrooms are ADA accessible. During the off season, these services are not available. Facilities at the campgrounds include parking areas, an RV dump station, drinking water supply, toilets, gravel and concrete boat ramps, fish cleaning stations, floating dock, and day-use picnic areas.

There are 50 individual sites in the North and South camping areas, and all sites have picnic tables and fire pits as well as tent pads. There is a small fee for camping during the peak season when services are provided, but camping during the offseason is free. Pets are permitted but must remain leashed. A horse camp is located in the recreation area with seven sites, picnic tables, fire rings, tent pads, and double corrals with horse stalls.

Seasonal activities in Gerber Recreation Area Camping

In-Season

Wildlife

The high desert landscape, varied terrain, vegetation, and water supply at the reservoir support a variety of wildlife which visitors can enjoy while visiting the region. There are pine forests, juniper woodlands, sagebrush flats, and riparian areas near streams and reservoirs.

In the spring, enjoy the wildflowers that color the area such as lupine and Indian paintbrush. Check out the nine viewing sites on the Gerber Watchable Wildlife Tour route. The Gerber Reservoir is a noted site on the Klamath Basin Birding Trail and bird enthusiasts should keep an eye out for eagles, osprey, sandhill cranes, pelicans, waterfowl, and songbirds.

You may even get the chance to observe large mammals such as bobcat, coyote, pronghorn, and mule deer which also frequent the camping areas and the backcountry extending around the BLM site and into the national forests.

Fishing

Gerber Recreation Area campsites are located adjacent to the Gerber Reservoir with accessibility for sport fishing activities. Concrete and gravel boat ramps situated at the recreation area provide access to the lake surface for watercraft. There is also a fish cleaning station and floating dock.

Enjoy the warm water fishing at the reservoir where you can catch crappie, sunfish, perch, and bass. Sportfishing participants should have a valid State of Oregon fishing license and observe all regulations and catch limits while fishing on the Gerber Reservoir. Additional streams and reservoirs in the surrounding backcountry and at the Fremont-Winema National Forest nearby, provide more opportunities for fishing in the region.

Horseback Riding

An equestrian camping area in the Gerber Recreation Area is open from May to October. This site has seven sites with double corrals and stalls for your four-legged companions.

Explore the backcountry on horseback during the day and enjoy the equestrian camping amenities in the evening. You can ride along ridges and high plateaus providing views of the reservoir, or through forested woodlands. You may want to ensure you have bug spray for yourself and your horse, especially when riding near wetlands and riparian areas. Ensure your horse is acclimatized for the wilderness conditions. It can be hot at the height of the summer, and the terrain is rough with some significant elevation changes.

Off-Season

Hiking

Hikers camping at one of the Gerber Recreation Area sites will find thousands of acres of adjacent backcountry, with informal trails to explore. Take lots of water and be prepared for elevation changes and varying rough terrain.

For those looking for a more structured hiking experience, there is an eight-mile trail connecting the North and South Gerber Campgrounds and three other primitive campgrounds in the region. You may find it prohibitively hot for hiking during the height of the summer, and treks in the spring and fall, when conditions are milder, may be preferable.

Hunting

The backcountry areas surrounding the Gerber Reservoir are open to hunting during the appropriate seasons. Mule deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope hunts are popular in the region and hunters use the campgrounds at the Gerber Recreation Area as a base during hunting seasons.

Be sure to observe safety regulations carefully as hunting near recreation sites is restricted. There are thousands of acres of backcountry and public lands in the area for hunting activities, but be aware of the location of private land holdings where you will require permission from the land owner to cross through or hunt. Be sure to obtain all necessary licenses, tags, and permits, and observe firearms safety practices for a safe and productive hunt.

Downhill Skiing

The surrounding mountain terrain provides excellent alpine adventures during the winter months. Downhill skiers and snowboarders can travel west or east to reach ski resorts such as Mt. Ashland Ski Area or Warner Canyon Ski Area.

These resorts have groomed runs, lifts, lessons, equipment rentals, and facilities to enjoy a day, or a few days gliding down the slopes. Get out and enjoy the snowy fun at Oregon ski hills in the Gerber Recreation Area region during the offseason.