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I'm planning a family trip to Oregon for the 21 August Eclipse this year. I'd like to head inland where the weather is likely to be better (e.g. around Madras): naturally, most if not all of the campsites which take reservations are booked out by now, so what are the options?

Are there walk-up campsites with a chance to find a spot?

What are the opportunities for wild/"dispersed" camping in Oregon? Do I need a permit, and is it generally possible to take a car within (short) walking distance of the kinds of places that such camping is tolerated?

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The gorgeous State of Oregon has no law that prohibits free (or wild) camping. To the contrary, it encourages it, and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) gives the details. The designated-dispersed option addresses your specific question: they're first-come, first-serve. Do visit the web site, as its interactive map identifies those, along with the fee campgrounds.

C​ampgrounds are more than just a place to hang your hat for the night. They're a place to share, learn and relax with friends and family. A place where you can leave a busy week behind and settle into nature. Their rustic feel allows you to turn off and tune in to the rich forests surrounding both drive-up and walk-in sites, and the scenery reintroduces you to everything we love about Oregon.

ODF offers three types of camping opportunities: developed campgrounds, designated dispersed sites, and dispersed camping.

Most campgrounds are first-come, first serve; however, group campsites require a reservation. To reserve group campsite visit the Group Campsite Reservation​ page.​

Rules & regulations

As general rules:

  • Don't camp within 25 feet of a river or stream.
  • Don't clear your own campsite or disrupt the natural environment.
  • Take all garbage with you when there are no garbage receptacles.
  • Don't deposit human waste within 100 feet of any campsite, trail or water body.
  • No fireworks.
  • Animals must be on 6 foot leash at all times and animal waste must be disposed of properly.
  • Limit of 8 people and 2 vehicles per campsite​ (except in designated group campsites). ​ See OAR 629, Division 25​ for a complete list of rules and regulations affecting camping on Oregon State Forests.​​​

Camping in fee campgrounds

ODF offers several developed campgrounds in Northwest Oregon. These campgrounds offer amenities like picnic tables, toilets, potable water, and fire rings, and charge a fee for staying overnight. 2016 FeeIncreaseandRuleChanges.pdf

Camping in designated campsites Designated campsites are those that have been improved by installing a designated fire grate and are signed and numbered. Fires are permitted in these areas during regulated use times of the year when fire danger is high.

Dispersed camping Dispersed camping is allowed in Oregon State Forests with no fee or permit requirements. Campers are required to adhere to ODF regulations regarding placement of campsites, campfires, sanitation, and stay limits. Campfires are not permitted during the regulated use portion of fire season. There is no map of dispersed camp spots.

See the map [below] for a list of all fee campgrounds and designated dispersed site.​​​​​​

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