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Free Camping Near La Grande Oregon

Hart Mountain Hot Springs

Morgan Lake, free boondocking and camping spot near La Grande, Oregon.

Location: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

The campground near Hart Mountain Hot Springs is among my absolute favorites in all of Oregon.

Although its a developed campground and dispersed camping isnt allowed anywhere within the National Antelope Refuge, camping here is still completely free of charge.

The biggest draw is undoubtedly Hart Mountain Hot Springs . These natural hot springs consist of a built-up concrete pool surrounded by a stone wall and a separate undeveloped pool with no improvements. Although its much shallower, I prefer the undeveloped pool thanks to its wide-open views of the nearby mountains.

The campground is just a short walk from the springs and has 30 first-come, first-served campsites. The drive in is very long with moderate washboarding, but any passenger vehicle should be able to survive the journey . Small RVs and trailers should be fine, but avoid camping here in big rigs.

Camping is allowed year-round, but Id avoid this area in winter. Heavy snows often make the roads impassable, even in 4WD. The best times to enjoy the hot springs are spring and fall .

What I Like:

The scenery at Hart Mountain Hot Springs Campground is simply stunning. Wildlife, especially pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep, is abundant. The area is extremely remote which makes for very dark night skies. Of course, the nearby natural hot springs are one of the best reasons to make a trip here.

What I Dont Like:

Other Free Campsites Nearby:

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South Lake Dispersed Area

Located along the northern edge of South Lake inside Siuslaw National Forest is South Lake Dispersed Area. There are campsites along the lake and a vault toilet. The area is at an elevation of 2,400 feet.

Those who enjoy fishing will love South Lake as it is stocked periodically with rainbow trout. There is also access for launching non-motorized boats. The South Lake Dispersed Area is also the easternmost point of the Pioneer-Indian Trail. This trail was used by Native Americans and early settlers to travel from the Willamette Valley to the Pacific Coast.

Is Dispersed Camping Allowed In Oregon

Yes, dispersed camping is allowed in Oregon and can be a wonderful way to explore the state. Dispersed camping is allowed in the state and national forests year-round, and the state does not require a permit or prior permission to do so.

While the Forest Service campgrounds in Oregon typically offer amenities such as fire rings, picnic tables, and in some cases plumbing, dispersed camping means you will not have access to any of these features.

Dispersed camping in Oregon is truly an adventure. While this type of camping does require extra know-how and experience, it can be a wonderful way to enjoy free camping in Oregon.

Campers are required to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines. These include regulations such as camping on bare soil rather than vegetation, keeping your campsite a minimum distance of 200 feet away from any water source, and removing all trash and debris from the site when you leave.

Recommended Reading: Mark Twain National Forest Camping

Billy Fields Forest Camp

AddressNational Forest Development Road 21Dayville, OregonElevation: 4147

Management: Public Forest Service

Billy Fields Forest Camp is open Jun-Oct. Camping spots in Oregon Billy Fields Forest Camp is a great starting point for those wanting to hunt, fish, or look for wild horses. For those wishing to hike and explore Fields Peak Trail is within 3 miles of the campground. This camping area offers a 6 horse tie-stall with manger. Water for horses is available in adjacent Billy Fields Creek. This rustic campground features wooden picnic tables and metal fire rings.

How To Find Free Camping In Oregon

Jake

If youre willing to forgo amenities like sewer, water, and electric hookups, finding free camping in Oregon isnt difficult at all. In fact, Oregon is one of the easiest states to find free campsites because about 60 percent of the state is made up of public lands. RV park rates can vary depending on location and amenities. Free camping in Oregon is a great way to save money and get away from the crowds.

Free camping without amenities is also known as boondocking. The United States Bureau of Land Management allows boondocking on most public lands as long as it doesnt conflict with other authorized uses or isnt specifically closed to camping. The campsites are located along most secondary roads on BLM lands and arent always marked. Staying on public land is also usually limited to 14 days.

Keep in mind that when youre boondocking Oregon, you will need to have plenty of fresh water in your water tank, food, and a way to power your RV. Double and triple-check your camping checklist to make sure youll have everything you need while youre away from civilization.

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Trillium Lake Airstrip: Mt Hood National Forest

Popular for its enchanting views and a broad choice of recreation, Trillium Lake Airstrip Campground is a picturesque campground located in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Located 40 miles southeast of Portland near the old-world town of Government Camp, the campground is a suitable family camping spot in Oregon.

The site rests 3,600 feet above sea level in the shade of a conifer forest that creates an aura of serene peace and privacy between the campsites.

From Trillium Lake Airstrip Campground, youll be treated to a magnificent view of the majestic Mt. Hood.

The camping area features several single and double tent and RV sites that are either fully available or accessible on a first-come, first-served basis.

The parking ground is mostly paved but some portions are gravel. Each of the sites contains a campfire ring, grill, and picnic table.

This campground is equipped with tent pads, accessible vault toilets, and campers are provided with drinking water.

It also has a group picnic area that can hold 30 people alongside a 30-person amphitheater that you can reserve for day-use.

When camping here, take some time to enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing on the 63-acre Trillium Lake.

The campground has a small boat ramp and fishing pear besides the large ramp at the day-use area.

You can also take in the peaceful outdoors by hiking or biking on the numerous trails around. Dont forget to visit the historic Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood

Additional Things To Know About Free Camping In Oregon

Before grabbing one of the best Outdoorsy RV rentals across the US and traveling to Oregon, here are a few additional things to keep in mind. We want you to have a great time, but also want everyone to respect their surroundings so that these free campsites in Oregon can continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

These rules apply to most free campgrounds, but always double-check to be sure:

  • Many free campgrounds have a 14-day limit.
  • Camp at least 200 feet from water sources.
  • Use biodegradable soap and toilet paper.
  • If there are no toilets, bury human waste at least 6 inches below ground.
  • Dont camp in the middle of clearings in meadows camp in existing sites in developed areas.
  • Practice fire safety and build fires in existing fire rings.
  • If there is no garbage disposal, take all of your trash with you.
  • Most free campgrounds are dog friendly, but some require dogs to be kept on a leash.

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Stunning Campgrounds In Eastern Oregon

On the far side of Oregon, among rolling prairie and high desert, are some of the state’s most spectacular but overlooked places to camp.

Eastern Oregon is home to a colorful collection of mountains with names such as Wallowa, Blue, Strawberry and Steens places of sweeping alpine topography that are visited far less than their brethren on the west side.

One of the best ways to experience this corner of the world is with a multi-day camping trip. Here are a few of the best places to set up a tent .

Check in ahead of time as many of these campgrounds don’t open until later in the summer some as late as July depending on each year’s snowpack.

Three Forks Recreation Site

Spring Creek Campground near La Grande Oregon

Three Forks is one of the most remote campsites, located on the far-east side of the state on BLM land. The site is named Three Forks for the three rivers the Owyhee, the North Fork Owyhee, and the Middle Fork Owyhee that converge in the area. The site has five designated campsites, a boat launch, vehicle parking, and vault restrooms.

Be on the lookout for the remains of a historic military road that can still be seen today, zig-zagging up the canyons west face. There are also old wagon and ranching roads that allow for hiking and walking in the area.

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Discover The Best Free Camping Across America

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America .

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, youre contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!

Well send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA . Access the list by submitting your email below:

Burnt River Canyon #1 Dispersed

Address31413 Burnt River Canyon LaneBaker City, OregonElevation: 2802

Management: Public Bureau of Land Management

Free Oregon boondocking locations in the Bureau of Land Management: Baker District. First come -> first served. No reservations accepted. It gets very, very hot in the Burnt River Canyon. This camping spot is also WHERE THE RATTLESNAKES GO to COOL OFF. Be VERY AWARE OF EVERY STEP YOU TAKE.

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Camping Near You Find A Free Campsite

Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we’ve got you covered. You can simply use your smart phone’s GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.

Our community provides the best free camping information available. Free campgrounds can be hard to find. Freecampsites.net makes it easy. We give you a simple, map based search engine to find free and cheap camping areas. Community reviews and ratings provide you with up to date information and help you select the best camp site for your next camping trip.

This is a platform for sharing campgrounds and camp sites you have discovered. We are community driven, and while we will be adding many free camping spots, we hope that you will add some of your favorite camping places as well. By sharing camping information freely, we can all spend less time researching campgrounds, spend less money, and more time camping. If everyone contributes a few campsites, we’ll all have more places to go camping.

Please come back and let us know what you find!

We are not actively seeking Wal-Marts, truckstops or other parking lots and will not be adding very many of these. There are enough Wal-Mart and truck stop directories out there already. However, if a member of the community finds one of these locations to be useful for overnight RV parking and creates an entry, we may approve the listing.

Please come back and let us know what you find!

Dispersed Camping Rules & Regulations

Best camping near La Grande, Oregon

One of our favorite things about dispersed camping is the lack of permits, reservations, and other requirements youll often find at developed campgrounds. However, that doesnt mean there arent important rules you should always following when dispersed camping.

It is best to check current regulations with the relevant USFS or BLM office, but you should plan on adhering to the following as outlined by the USFS:

  • Do not camp in areas near trailheads, picnic areas, or developed campgrounds.
  • Keep your campsite small.
  • Use existing sites and fire rings when available.
  • Pick a site where vegetation is absent.
  • Do not camp within 200 feet of a water source.
  • Dispersed camping is generally limited to 14 days within any continuous 30 day period.
  • Only have a campfire if it is permitted, and always be sure it is completely extinguished.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles more on that below!

    Leave No Trace Principles & Oregon Dispersed Camping

    One of the most important considerations when dispersed camping is to follow Leave No Trace principles. This will minimize your impact and ensure your campsite can be enjoyed by future visitors. Here are the seven principles of Leave No Trace camping:

  • Plan Ahead & Prepare: Have an idea of where youd like to camp and always be sure you are camping in an area that permits dispersed camping.
  • Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces: Never camp on fragile ground or create a new campsite.
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    Insects Pests & Wildlife

    There are some flies and gnats, and even a light amount of mosquitoes, but we found this area to be otherwise quite tolerable.

    Mice can be a problem in this area. We caught six of them inside our trailer. We advise buying standard, spring & bar traps, and keep them on hand. These mice are very skilled at stealing food from traps, so you may have to modify the trigger to make the traps more sensitive.

    Black bears thrive in this area, though we didnt see any. We did hear coyotes howling on one night.

    Best Free Camping Spots In Oregon

    Oregon is home to some of the most incredible places to visit in the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately for campers, there are also epic free camping spots in Oregon.

    From the Oregon coast to the volcanic mountains, there is something to do in every season. Its bountiful in wilderness and places to explore.

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    Free Oregon Boondocking Locations

    If you prefer to camp in your van or trailer, Oregon RV boondocking is a simple and enjoyable way to save money. Boondocking is usually done outside of developed campsites, which means there is no water or electricity. Campers may easily take advantage of free camping in Oregon and experience all of the states picturesque beauties with a little extra effort.

    Overnight RV boondocking in Oregon in a parking lot, like a Walmart, is sometimes possible, but campers should first obtain permission from the business management.

    Eastern Oregon: Welcome to the Wild West in Oregons NE corner. The landscape here is dominated by wide-open skies, sagebrush plains, and jagged mountain ranges. Perfect for Oregon dispersed campsites. Its totally up to you how you use this large outdoor playground. Ski down isolated slopes, fish for ravenous steelhead, or simply observe wildlife as it passes by.

    Wagon ruts from the Oregon Trail, colorful prehistoric fossil beds, and creepy ghost towns are all available at dispersed campsites in Oregon. Thats only the beginning. Eastern Oregon is where your next great story will be discovered.

    When you visit the Painted Hills, from your Oregon boondocking campsites, you may see millions of years of history exposed one color at a time in the strata of earths mountains. The hills name comes from the beautifully colored stratifications in the soil, and the Painted Hills yellows, golds, blacks, and reds are best viewed late in the afternoon.

    Free Camping Near La Grande Oregon

    Free Camping in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Northeast Oregon

    Spring Creek Dispersed Area is located inside Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. It lies along I-84 about a few miles west of Hilgard, OR. Its managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Its not to be confused with Spring Creek Campground, a free developed campground located in the same area. The dispersed area covers much larger area, perhaps up to five miles in diameter. Exit 248 from the Interstate takes you on to NF-21, ad then you head southwest towards Spring Creek. Once in this area, theres lots of places for boondocking. Some sites are very close to the road, while others take you 50 to 100 feet into enclosures of pine trees.

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    Free Camping In Oregon In Public Lands

    The Bureau of Land Management manages over 16 million acres of public land throughout Oregon and Washington. While some of these areas offer paid developed camping, dispersed camping on public lands is also an option.

    Campers may not stay for longer than 14 days within a consecutive 28 day period. After the 14 days are exceeded, campers must move a minimum of 25 miles away to locate a new campsite.

    Have An Awesome Oregon Camping Trip

    Dispersed camping is my favorite way to explore all of Oregons incredibly beautiful outdoor wonders.

    From the Oregon Coast to Mount Hood to Crater Lake to East Oregon, youre sure to find the perfect free campsite for your personal needs, whether you camp in a van, tent, RV, or trailer.

    Still have questions about dispersed camping in Oregon? Dont hesitate to shoot me a line:

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    Dispersed Camping Spots In Oregon

    Oregon allows dispersed camping, which can be a great way to see the state. Year-round dispersed camping is permitted in state and national forests, and the state does not require a permit or previous approval.

    While most Forest Service campgrounds in Oregon have facilities such as fire rings, picnic tables, and, in some circumstances, plumbing, dispersed camping does not. Dispersed camping spots in Oregon is a true adventure. While this form of camping may necessitate a little more expertise and experience, it can be a fantastic way to enjoy free camping spots in Oregon.

    Leave No Trace principles must be followed by all campers. These requirements include things like camping on bare earth rather than foliage, keeping your campground at least 200 feet away from any water source, and removing any garbage and debris when you depart.

    Head O Boulder Forest Camp

    Umapine ohv campground

    Address

    Elevation: 4570

    Management: Public Rest Area

    You may stay overnight at camping spots in Oregon Carter Rest Area . A small rest area with a picnic table and toilets. There is only enough room for 2-3 cars on the main parking area. If you take the loop, there is room for about 2-3 rigs to pull off to the shoulder. Great Verizon LTE signal.

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