After camping on the eastern side of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, the change in the flora and the topography that results from traveling to the other side of the mountains was astonishing! This area of Oregon has one of the most pronounced rain shadows in the world, with the eastern side of the mountains getting rain measured in a handful of inches per year, while the western (Pacific) side receives well over 100 inches per year in places!
The Sylvansport GO camper hidden below the massive trees in Black Canyon campground.
Consequently, the Black Canyon Campground, just 6 miles west of Oakridge, Oregon, is hidden beneath the canopies of absolutely massive Douglas Fir and cedar trees! The trunks easily measure 4-8+ feet across one side. Add to that the dense forest undergrowth (including numerous ferns and other plants) and the rich, black dirt from all of the plant detritus, and Oakridge and Bend couldn’t be more different!
Located on the Willamette river in Willamette national forest, this campground was radically different from Tumalo State Park and Crane Prairie in that the campsites here were completely isolated from the neighboring campsites, thanks in large part to the dense undergrowth. Amenities are pretty minimal: just vault toilets and spigots for potable water, but there is a boat ramp to the river, awesome river access for fishing and swimming, and firewood sales.
Still, despite the lack of flush toilets, we had an amazing time at Black Canyon. The dense forests reminded us of the forests back in Georgia, and was a welcome respite from the dryness. Just beware the mosquitoes!
Cost is $18 per site and $6 per extra vehicle.