Tumalo State Park is a scenic wonderland along a protected portion of the Deschutes River that flows effortlessly through the park. The park’s name is derived from the Klamath Indian word temolo that translates to wild plum, which are plentiful in this portion of central Oregon. Located 4 miles northwest of Bend, Oregon, Tumalo State Park was created in 1954 by the state of Oregon after receiving a 115-acre land grant from Deschutes County. Today, the park boasts more than 330 acres of fun-filled outdoor adventures that attract more than 50,000 overnight campers in a well-kept campground, as well as over 320,000 day users.
Tumalo State Park features a three loop campground that contains 23 full hookup sites for RVs, 54 campsites for tents, 7 stand-alone yurts, and a seasonal hiker/biker loop. The sun radiates for more than half the year and temperatures average 24 degrees in January to 82 degrees in July. The perfect climate allows the campground to remain open all year round.
Tumalo State Park has many outstanding features for RVers to enjoy within its boundaries. The park attracts a mixture of all types of campers in both summer and winter. While visiting the park, people enjoy all the watersport activities that go along with river that range from swimming to kayaking to floating on an inner tube and fly fishing for rainbow trout, as well as brown trout. Hikers and bikers take advantage of the numerous nature trails within the park. Visitors also find bird and wildlife watching opportunities plentiful.
RV Rentals in Tumalo State Park
Transportation in Tumalo State Park
Driving to Tumalo State Park is quite easy. The area surrounding the park in central Oregon is generally flat with good road conditions. The park is split by the O.B. Riley Road, formerly known as Old McKenzie Bend Highway. The rural two-lane highway runs north to south with very few turns and navigating obstacles.
The generally flat landscape allows for easy driving within the park. Once inside the park boundaries, the main difficulty of navigating is in the campground area. The three camping loops are connected by a one-way road. A couple of tight turns make navigating larger RVs or RVs towing an additional car difficult but manageable. Other driving difficulties occur from congestion. The day-use parking areas are generally full throughout the summer months with limited overflow parking available. Parking lots are located in the day-use area, overflow parking area, and at the campgrounds. Nature trails are easily accessible from most parking areas.
After establishing your camping spot, the best mode of transportation within the park is by bicycle. There are several bike trails that allow visitors to access the river with ease.
Campgrounds and parking in Tumalo State Park
Campsites in Tumalo State Park
Tumalo State Park Campground
Tumalo State Park offers several camping choices. Campground selections include 23 full hookup sites for RVs, 54 tent campsites, 7 rustic yurts, and a seasonal hiker/biker campground. The various sites are interspersed throughout three loops connected by one main road. There is one entry point to access the three loops. RV sites range in size from 33 to 56 feet in length. Each RV site has a paved pad. RV camping facilities within the park include full hookups. Sewer hookups are not to be used for draining full holding tanks. The nearest dump station for RVs with a full holding tank is at LaPine State Park, as well as the town of Bend. Amenities located at each site include a picnic table and fire ring. Within each loop, there are showers as well as flush toilets and fresh water stations. Generators may be used from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. There are services available within the nearby town of Bend. Campsites may be reserved from one day up to 9 months in advance, with the exception of hiker/biker campsites. The maximum amount of days you can stay is limited to 14.
There are no first-come, first-served campgrounds at Tumalo State Park.
Seasonal activities in Tumalo State Park
Playing Water Sports
Swimming is the most popular activity in the park during the peak season. The Deschutes River is ideal for inner tubing as you and your friends form a human chain while floating down the calm blue waters. There is a separate wading section located along the river for families that features a nearby playground and plenty of picnic areas. Other great ways to enjoy the Deschutes River are by kayaking or standup paddleboarding on the slow flowing sections of clear blue waters. So get ready for some aquatic fun during your RV trip to Oregon.
Fly fishing along the Deschutes River is a rewarding activity you’ll enjoy during your camper trip to Tumalo State Park. During the summer months, large hatches of mayflies and caddisflies bring the fish to life. Hungry fish lurk under the gently flowing river near rock ledges, boulders, and deep pools. Visitors have found the best time to try your fishing luck is at dawn or dusk before the heat of the sun warms the waters of the Deschutes River.
Bird and Wildlife Watching
Bird and wildlife watching are plentiful in the park. While hiking, biking, or gazing at the Deschutes River, visitors can spot bird species that include great blue herons, western meadowlarks, and swallows perched on the basaltic cliffs. There are several species of owl that call the park home, such as the great horned owl. Your eyes might even be treated to a bald eagle or fish-diving osprey. Wildlife in the area includes playful black-tailed deer, bobcats, and the coyotes that like to howl in the evening hours.
Playing Winter Sports
If you’re RV camping during the winter months at Tumalo State Park, you can take advantage of the numerous winter sports in the area. Activities range from hundreds of miles of Nordic ski trails to nearby terrain parks for the extreme sports junkie. You’ll also find some of the best powder conditions for skiers and snowboarders at Mt. Bachelor. Other winter activities can be found in the nearby Deschutes National Forest where there is plenty of wilderness area to explore by snowshoe or snowmobile.
Hiking and Biking
On warmer days in the off-season, you can still enjoy a lovely hike or bike ride on the nature trails that run through the park. A section of the beautiful Deschutes River Trail runs right through the park, which offers stunning views of the river and canyon. You can even enjoy a relaxing picnic along the river after a long day of hiking or biking. It’s easy to head out on the trail just steps away from your RV.
Attending Nature Programs
During the off-season, the park offers a variety of regularly scheduled nature programming. You can park your camper and head out on a guided nature walk, where you’ll learn about the native wildlife and geology of the park. You could also attend a ranger-led nature hike, where you can trek out on some of the lesser known areas of the park. Attending nature programs are a great way to learn all about the natural and cultural history of the park from expert rangers.