Tumalo State Park is a scenic wonderland along a protected portion of the Deschutes River. The river flows effortlessly through the park, creating a magnificent backdrop for the RV campground. The park’s name is derived from the Klamath Indian word temolo that translates to wild plum, which is plentiful in this portion of central Oregon. Located four 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, RV friendly 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, seven 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. While visiting the park, people enjoy all the watersport activities that go along with the river that range from swimming to kayaking to floating on an inner tube and fly fishing for trout. Hikers and bikers take advantage of the numerous nature trails within the park. Visitors also find bird and wildlife watching opportunities plentiful. During the winter months, campers enjoy snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing on the numerous trails in and around the park. Tumalo State Park has many outstanding features for RVers, making it easy to sit back and relax during their stay.
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 or navigating obstacles.
The generally flat landscape allows for comfortable driving within the park. Once inside the park boundaries, the main difficulty of navigating is in the campground area. A one-way road connects the three camping loops. A couple of tight turns make navigating larger RVs or RVs towing an additional car challenging, 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.
The weather during the winter months may pose a problem for larger vehicles attempting to maneuver the tight corners of the campground area. Ice and snow may be present, so be extremely cautious if you chose to tow the rig to Tumalo during the snowy season. As always, check the weather and road conditions before beginning your road trip.
The Tumalo State Park Campground is a multi-looped campground offering 23-full hookup sites for RVs mixed with 54 tent campsites, seven rustic yurts, and a seasonal hiker/biker camping area. 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. Sewer hookups are not to be used for draining full holding tanks, so if you have a full tank, please visit the nearest dump station at LaPine State Park or another dump station in the town of Bend. Amenities located at each site include a picnic table and a fire ring. Within each loop, there are showers as well as flush toilets and freshwater stations. Generators may be used from 8 AM to 8 PM. Campsites may be reserved from one day up to 9 months in advance, except for the hiker/biker campsites, which are first-come, first-served, tent-only campsites.
Tumalo State Park's convenient location means that there are endless options for accommodations in the areas surrounding the park. This area of Oregon is home to numerous national parks and forests, meaning that even if Tumalo's campground is full, you won't have to go far to find a place to park the camper for the night.
If you're looking for resort-style camping facilities, there are many RV resorts within a short distance from the park. These resorts offer top-notch amenities like cable television, Wi-Fi, dog parks, laundry facilities, full hookups, flush toilets, and hot showers.
During the off-season, the park offers a variety of regularly scheduled nature programming. You can park your pop-up 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.
On warmer days in the off-season, you can still enjoy a lovely hike on one of the nature trails that run through the park. A section of the beautiful Deschutes River Trail runs right through the park, offering stunning views of the river and canyon. You can even enjoy a relaxing picnic along the river after a long day of hiking. It’s easy to head out on the trail that starts just steps away from your campervan.
If you’re RV camping during the colder 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 junkies. 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.
Grab your camera and point the Sprinter van towards Tumalo State Park this winter. Whether you're a professional photographer, or just trying to document your weekend vacation, you won't be without subject to shoot. Frozen alpine lakes, snow-covered scenic trails, and the picturesque Deschutes River all create a stunning backdrop during the off-season. The lack of crowds means that you may even be lucky enough to snap a few pictures of the local wildlife in the area, including black-tailed deer, bald eagles, or great horned owls.
Bird and wildlife watching are plentiful in the park, so don't forget to pack the binoculars in the Airstream. 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. Several species of owls 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 coyotes that like to howl in the evening hours.
Fly fishing along the Deschutes River is a rewarding activity you’ll enjoy during your RV camping 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.
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. You might also enjoy the Deschutes River by way of a kayak or a standup paddleboard. Just make sure you paddle on the slower-flowing sections of the scenic river. Get ready for some aquatic fun during your RV trip to Oregon.
If you're an avid biker, or just looking for a unique way to see the park, attach the bikes to the back of the rig and get ready for an exciting ride. This part of Oregon is known for its miles of scenic biking trails, many of which traverse Tumalo State Park. Once you've exhausted all the trails within the park, you can always head to the nearby Deschutes National Forest for hundreds of miles of well-groomed mountain biking trails. Beginners should head to Phil's Trailhead for a long, smooth ride through the forest. Those looking for more of an adrenaline rush can check out Tumalo Falls Trailhead. This technical scenic ride will take you to a picturesque overlook of the falls. If you prefer cycling on paved roads, you are in luck. The Twin Bridges Scenic Bikeway passes the park on Johnson Road. This scenic route is just under 40 miles in length (one way) and has restrooms, water spigots, and off-roading paths along the way.