Founded by Drury Smith Stayton in 1866, Stayton is a small city that nestles between the rugged Cascade Mountains and the capital of Oregon. It’s an ideal destination to rent an RV, with plenty of natural parks and recreational activities just a stone’s throw away.
Bird watchers will find no shortage of inspiration in the protected wetlands and prairies while history buffs can discover the local heritage while exploring reconstructed villages. Add to that Oregon’s most popular national park right on its doorstep and Stayton’s an RV destination not to miss.
The Great Outdoors
Pick up your RV rental in Stayton and drive east to the Santiam State Forest, which sprawls across more than 47,000 acres on the slope of Cascade Mountains. It’s home to 21 miles of hiking trails and purposely-constructed mountain biking routes, which lead to the peak of Rocky Top Mountain and the picturesque Shellburg Falls. For a more relaxed day out, head to the day-use area of North Santiam State Recreation Area, a scenic riverfront location that’s dotted with picnic tables.
Also nearby is the Silver Falls State Park, which is the largest state park in Oregon and considered the “jewel” in its crown, with boundless recreational opportunities available. It’s particularly renowned for the nine-mile-long Trail of Ten Falls that accesses its myriad of beautiful waterfalls, with more than 24 miles of walking trails in total crisscrossing the park’s lush forest. The 177-foot-high South Falls and slightly taller Double Falls are among the highlights not to miss.
Bird watchers should head west to the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, which provides an important habitat for wintering geese in the Willamette Valley. It protects a large tract of open farmland and seasonal marshes where the dusky Canada goose nests almost exclusively. Numerous boardwalks traverse the wet prairie habitats and restored riparian forest, with popular bird watching locations at the Ankeny Hill Overlook and Eagle Marsh Kiosk.
Pick up your camper rental in Stayton and you can head to Albany’s Knox Butte RV Park, which offers full hookup spaces with Wi-Fi and cable TV connections available. Pets are also welcome, with covered picnic areas and laundry facilities where you can catch up on your washing.
Also nearby is the Blue Ox RV Park. This park has around 150 paved, full hookup sites to select from. There are a heated pool and recreation hall with a camp kitchen, and Wi-Fi and cable TV are available in the lobby area.
You can also head north to the Phoenix RV Park in Salem, with both 30 and 50 amp capabilities at their 100+ full hookup sites. There are night-vision cameras and random patrols for extra security and there’s an on-site RV repair service if you need any quick fixes.
Stayton is home to supermarkets where you can pick up supplies and gas stations if you need to refuel your motorhome rental, and there are plenty of eateries for dining out. It’s a 25-minute drive to Salem if you need additional services, with a Walmart also located here, so you may be able to camp for a night or two. Just be sure to call ahead to confirm your stay with store management.
Exploring the City
You can park the RV rental near Stayton and take time to explore the city on foot, visiting the picturesque green space of Pioneer Park that’s home to the famous Stayton-Jordan Bridge. This whitewashed bridge was inspired by a covered bridge spanning Thomas Creek near Lyons and today offers pedestrian access across the Salem Power Canal. It’s a popular photographic landmark in Stayton and a favored spot for locals to have their wedding shoot.
A short drive from Stayton takes you to the Kingston Prairie Preserve, which protects some of the last remaining native prairies in the Willamette Valley. While there are no trails through the preserve, it is a botanist's dream, with rare plants such as the endangered Bradshaw’s lomatium and Willamette daisy. Bird watchers will also be inspired by the diversity of life, including regular sightings of western meadowlarks, savannah sparrows, and acorn woodpeckers.
Pick up your RV trailer rental in Stayton and spend a day exploring the city of Salem, visiting the Oregon State Capitol building and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. Stop in at the Willamette Heritage Center whose Heritage-listed buildings offer a fascinating insight into the region’s past. There are beautifully restored houses with mid-19th-century furnishings and an old woolen mill that can be visited on a guided tour.
Whether you’re visiting Marion County for its bird-filled prairies or waterfall parks, book an RV in Stayton and get started on your next adventure.