Just a short drive from the heavy commute times of Portland, Milo McIver State Park is the place to be on a warm summer day. Not that Portland knows much about hot. But 90s in this part of the state send everyone fleeing to the rivers and the coast to cool off.
Milo McIver State Park is in Estacada, OR, right at the Estacada Lake Dam and along a popular stretch of the Clackamas River. The park is well known to locals as a spot to float the river, and on sunny summer weekends lines of vehicles shuttle up and down this stretch of the Clackamas retrieving hundreds of grinning visitors trying to get back to their cars parked upstream.
Swimmers and floaters are likely to see large fish in the small rapids, working their way up the river. The State Park is home to the Clackamas Fish Hatchery and there are excellent fishing prospects along the banks of Estacada Lake, just above the dam. The hatchery actively stocks the lake and the river with Rainbow Trout, Chinook Salmon, and steelhead. The hatchery is open to visitors.
Nearly half of the park has been developed into a nationally recognized disc golf course offering two eighteen hole courses, free and open to the public. The other half contains hiking trails, an equestrian area, the upper boat launch, and a campground.
The campground offers large year-round sites with power and water for RVs which can be reserved online at still-reasonable rates. The campground is within walking distance of the put-in area for the river floaters and the lake for fishermen and boaters. The park can get busy during weekend events in summer, but is typically quiet mid-week, even in the good weather. Winter is still mild at this elevation, and many visitors regularly hike and trail run this area all year (with waterproof shoes).
RV Rentals in Milo McIver State Park
Transportation in Milo McIver State Park
Close and easy from Portland and Clackamas, just follow the signs to Estacada. The roads to the park and inside the park are fine for trailers and large RVs, but be warned the campgrounds and stops further up Clackamas Highway are not. If you want to explore past Estacada toward Roaring River Campground, take a passenger vehicle with clearance for potholes.
Campgrounds and parking in Milo McIver State Park
Campsites in Milo McIver State Park
Milo McIver State Park Campground
Located on the upper half of the park, the campground offers 44 electric and water sites to RVs of all sizes. Estacata Lake and the Rivermill Dam are an easy walk from camp. The sites are 30A and there is a dump station by the entrance. There are restrooms, showers, picnic tables and fire rings with firewood and ice sales from the campground host. Camping is open year round and easy to reserve online.
Seasonal activities in Milo McIver State Park
Float the Clackamas River
What better way to spend a summer day than floating down the Clackamas River on an inner tube with a cold drink? Floating between the upper and lower boat launch areas within Milo McIver will give you a chance to explore this one-mile section several times. Companies in Estacata rent equipment for the day and run shuttles up and down this part of the river, allowing you to float all the way to Barton for five to six hours on the water. Pay attention because small islands in the river create multiple routes to float, including some that miss the pull-out spot!
Fish Estacada Lake
Just a short walk from the campground, Estacada Lake offers reliable year-round fishing opportunities right from the bank. The hatchery in the park keeps a steady supply of rainbow trout, steelhead, and salmon thriving in the lake. This is the place for easy bait-and-bobber fishing and a good shot at reeling in dinner. Oregon offers free fishing weekends every summer. Check regulations for identifying protected wild salmon and general limits.
Lawn Chair Naps
All of the running and splashing aside, Milo McIver State Park really is a great place to just relax. There is tons of space. Covered picnic areas and green grass are scattered all over the park with grills and ample room for groups. The summer weather is delicious, with the right mix of sun and shady trees. Park your lawn chair right in the shallow water at the edge of the Clackamas River and watch everyone else whoop and holler down the river. Just don't fall asleep in the sun or that funny shaped sun burn will haunt you all summer.
Riverbend Disk Golf Course
In case you didn't know, Oregon takes it's Frisbee seriously. These two 18 hole courses at Milo McIver SP are actually on the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) national tour in June, called the Beaver State Fling. If you've never tried it, prepare to be hooked on a new activity. Disc golf is fun for all ages and skill levels and you won't have to worry about expensive equipment or losing your balls. The amateur and pro course are available at no charge and scoring cards are provided in the park.
Hiking trails wind through every section of the park, allowing you to explore all day without having to double back anywhere. Single track paths wind through the well-watered Oregon forest with great river views for miles. The looping nature of the trail system is perfect for keeping your speed up. For a serious run check out the Vortex 10K and half-marathon organized by Run Wild Adventures.
Clackamas Fish Hatchery Tour
Check out the pools late spring or early fall to see them teeming with adult Chinook Salmon and steelhead. The Visitor Center is open to the public every day year round. You might luck out and show up when the fish are adult size and jumping wild. A great opportunity to get the kids excited about nature and wildlife in Oregon. Learn about the life cycle of Pacific Northwest fish stocks that support this delicate ecosystem.