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When you book an RV in Jefferson County, you’ll be in central Oregon, and just a bit north of the city of Bend and Deschutes National Forest. Also in this area is where you will find The Cove Palisades State Park, which was originally formed in 1940 with a starting size of approximately eight acres. Since that time, The Cove Palisades State Park has grown through a series of land purchases and donations, bringing the total acreage up over 4,400. This park is popular with locals, and visitors will find renting an RV and exploring the park easy.
Surrounding the park are mountain ranges, dense forests, and access to rivers. The park also contains many geologically historical points of interest, including the steep canyon walls formed by the river gorges, which date back over 10 million years. The park gets its actual name, The Cove Palisades State Park, from a large outcropping that exists on the canyon walls above the Crooked River. Whether you’re motorhome camping in the area to see natural or manmade attractions, Jefferson County has something to offer the whole family.
There is a lot to do while RV camping at The Cove Palisades State Park and different activities are more easily accessible from the various campgrounds in the park. No matter where you camp, however, you’ll be able to get to everything with ease. One of the most popular activities in the park is kayaking, and visitors can participate in kayak tours that are hosted by a local tour company. These tours will take you through the caverns and include historical information about geologically important spots.
Hikers will also enjoy camping at The Cove Palisades State Park, as there are over 10 miles of hiking trails within the park itself. Surrounding the park, there are plenty of peaks to explore and forests to hike in, too, further extending the time you’ll be able to spend on the trail. These trails often lead to beautiful secluded destinations, many of which are overlooks with sweeping panoramic views. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife while hiking as there are plenty of native species to spot.
Nearby the park is Lake Billy Chinook, which is a fabulous place to boat, fish, swim, kayak, canoe, and all-around enjoy the water. This lake is home to a variety of fish, the most prominent being large and smallmouth bass, rainbow, brown, and bull trout, whitefish, and kokanee salmon. All of these fish are allowed to be caught with a fishing license, so long as you stay within regulated limits. There are bait and tackle shops near the lake to make updating or acquiring a license easy.
There are four different state park RV campgrounds to choose from while camping with an RV here. The campgrounds are split up into loops, loop A, B, C, and E. Loops A, B, and C are open from the middle of May until the middle of September and have over 90 full-hookup sites between them. Of these sites, 13 are pull-through. Additionally, all campsites in these loops have access to flushing toilets and hot showers. There is also a fish cleaning station, a fenced off-leash pet area, and a camp store.
Loop E is home to 88 RV compatible sites that offer both electricity and water. This loop also has a dump station, flushing toilets, hot showers, and a place to purchase firewood. The E Loop is open from the beginning of March until the end of October. All campsites in all of the campgrounds loops have a fire ring, a grill, and a picnic table for camper convenience.
One of the closest and most convenient towns near The Cove Palisades State Park is Madras. Although small, Madras has plenty to offer to guests, both in food and entertainment options. Madras is home to the Erickson Aircraft Collection and the Old County Jail, both of which tell about history in their own special way. The former is a collection of historical planes, while the latter is a preserved historic building that was once the site of the county jail.
When it comes to food, most of the restaurants in Madras are located along the main north-south streets. RV camping at state parks is great, but sometimes you just want food to be made for you. Madras has pizza places, Chinese and Mexican restaurants, local cafes, American style diners, and more. Most of the restaurants in town are locally owned and operated, but you’ll also find national chain options if that’s what you crave.
Of course, when you want more of a big city feel, head south to Bend. This city is home to Deschutes Brewery, so feel free to spend an afternoon at the Deschutes Brewery Bend Public House. Also in town are the Children’s Museum of Central Oregon and the Deschutes Historical Museum. When traveling with children, you’ll want to visit the children’s museum, but if possible, be sure to swing by the historical museum, too, as it is packed with fascinating exhibits on local history.