With a sprawling urban forest, sparkling river and more than 200 leafy gardens, the City of Roses has something for everyone. But you don’t have to travel far to visit Trillium Lake or the Champoeg wineries. Unsure where to camp? Read on for the best tips from Culture Trip’s local insiders.
Trillium Lake Campground
It’s hard to decide what’s the most satisfying thing about Trillium Lake: the mirror-flat water or how the mountain is reflected in it. Either way, it’s certainly a great first view after unzipping your tent in the morning. The mountain in question, Mount Hood, is Oregon’s tallest, and as such, this campground is the perfect location for hikers or mountaineers – although its symmetrical scenery makes it brilliant tent turf for photographers, too. Recommended by local insider Madeline Churm
Three sides of this park are lined by the Sandy River; the fourth is finished with deep-green forestry. It’s the tranquil territory of beavers, mink and black bears – the latter of which come to fish the spawning salmon that leap from these waters. And it’s only a half-hour drive from Portland. Pitch a tent – there’s space for 74 of them – and the only thing left is to choose your mode of relaxation: fishing, hiking or floating along the river in a tube. Recommended by local insider Madeline Churm
Despite its name, you won’t be lost for things to do at this mountain getaway. As well as more than 140 camping spots, the campsite offers plenty of watersports activities – from stand-up paddleboarding to checking out the mountain’s second-deepest lake from a glass-bottomed boat. Glamping might be a strong word for the smattering of red-and-white yurts available to hire, but the wood-fired stoves in each are more than welcome as the evening chill draws in. Recommended by local insider Madeline Churm
While the facilities are basic at this camping spot, the scenery is anything but. The icy water of the Clackamas River is so clear, you can see every fish wriggling along its rocky bottom. Naturally, this makes it a great place to crack out your rods, although you can also get your feet wet via canoe, raft or kayak. You’re not quite away from it all – the small town of Estacada is close by for a last-minute essentials run, and Portland is only a 45-minute drive away. However, under the clear midnight sky, you truly feel in the wilderness. Recommended by local insider Jordan Singh
France has Champagne, but Portland has Champoeg. While most campers head for the mountains to the east of the city, oenophiles will want to turn their attention southwest. Here, the flatlands and wineries of the Willamette Valley await you. Camping in Champoeg State Heritage Area is ideal for conducting a winery tour on a budget, as it’s only a short stumble from tipple to tent. Plus, there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained – from the woodland trails to the hundreds of birds that call this area home. Recommended by local insider Jordan Singh
This campsite on the sunrise side of Mount Hood is at its best in summer, when a small stream swells to create the East Fork Hood River, thanks to the glacial runoff of Oregon’s tallest mountain. There are waterfalls aplenty, but your nearest is Tamanawas Falls, which is worth the 90-minute trek for the Instagram shot alone. Otherwise, you can clamber over rocks, hike up the mountains and fish in the river – although swimming in these icy waters is not recommended. Recommended by local insider Jordan Singh