Oregon

The 11 Best Campgrounds Near Eugene, Oregon

by Arthur McMahon

best campgrounds eugene oregon

Eugene is cradled between two mountain ranges and surrounded by lakes and rivers at every turn. It’s no wonder why there are excellent campgrounds everywhere you look.

Inspired by the whimsical fantasyland of Oz, Eugene adopted the nickname of the Emerald City in the 1950s to signify its reputation as a hub for the arts and outdoors. Eugene is the heart of the Willamette Valley — a perpetually fertile land that once upon a time inspired countless pioneers to traverse great distances on The Oregon Trail.

Now, Eugene’s reputation for outdoor exploration inspires countless hikers, backpackers, and RV drivers to visit its verdant lands. There are many rich habitats to explore in the area from the valley’s wetland wildlife sanctuaries to the volcanic peaks of the Cascade Mountains and everything in between. The town itself is pretty great, too, not to mention the excellent hiking trails surrounding Eugene.

Eugene’s Best Campgrounds

Whether you’re a Eugene resident or a visitor, the best way to explore the area is to spend plenty of time around The Emerald City’s best outdoor attractions. We’ve got the scoop on the best campgrounds around town, and a few that far out in the woods, for you to set up base camp for your next adventure.

If you’re passing through the area and simply need a convenient, comfortable place to pitch a tent or park your RV, we’ve got you covered as well. There are some great campgrounds near major highways and not far from town.

Read on to discover our favorite camping spots in and around Eugene.

Alsea Falls Recreation Site

Alsea Falls Recreation Site

Why you should camp here: Stunning waterfalls and a robust trail system in a fairyland forest.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: No

In my heart, there is no place more gloriously “Oregon” than the Alsea Falls Recreation Site. There are more shades of green in this neck of the woods than I was ever able to imagine before visiting this magical place.

Moss and lichen cover every inch of exposed rock and bark in the area. The sun-dappled drive to this faux-Narnia guides travelers through a tunnel of overhanging broadleaf trees on a twisty backcountry road that is a joy to drive. Oh, and the waterfalls are awesome too.

This spot is detailed further in an article we did on our favorite Eugene hikes. There are numerous campsites for groups and individuals with access to vault toilets and drinking water. It’s a rustic BLM campground that’s a bit of a drive from Eugene, but we’re sure you’re going to love it when you get there.

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Archie Knowles Campground

Archie Knowles Campground
Photo: Rick Obst

Why you should camp here: You’re on your way to or from the Oregon coast.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: No

Archie Knowles Campground is a roadside park sandwiched between highway 126 and the babbling Knowles Creek. Situated between Eugene and the coastal town of Florence, this campground is a convenient option for travelers on their way to or from the coast.

During the day there may be enough traffic on the highway to be a cause for concern for the night ahead, but by evening the road noise drops to a minimum. You’ll soon be enjoying the starry night and wild sounds of the mountainous forest after the sun sets.

Each campsite is accompanied by a fire ring and picnic table. Drinking water and vault toilets are available on-site. Just down the road a mile from the campground is the historic Gingerbread Village Restaurant known for its home-cooked comfort food and gingerbread desserts.

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Armitage Park

Armitage Park
Photo: Rick Obst

Why you should camp here: Take in the rural beauty of the McKenzie River just minutes from the heart of Eugene.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall, winter
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes

The 57-acre Armitage Park is a beautiful day-use and camping area set on the banks of the breathtaking McKenzie River. It’s a rural respite that’s only minutes away from the heart of The Emerald City.

“The sites are huge…heated bathroom/shower suites were astounding,” said visitor Bob Covey on Campground Reviews.

All camping sites have full RV hookups and access to the park’s WiFi. A laundry facility is on-site, and the showers are free for campers. Other amenities that are also open to day-use visitors include a boat ramp, 2-acre off-leash dog park, volleyball courts, and horseshoe pits.

The rest of the acreage is filled with picnic areas, wide-open fields, and the timber-lined McKenzie River. Take a walk on the on-site Crilly Nature Trail, or venture further upriver on the highway to visit several impressive waterfalls.

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Baker Bay Campground and Marina

Why you should camp here: Camp lakeside with the kids in this family-friendly outdoor setting.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: No

There’s outdoor recreation aplenty at Baker Bay Campground and Marina. This a popular summer destination for families as it offers an abundant amount of activities and conveniences within the park itself including summertime concessions stands and boat rentals.

A sandy beach and swimming area are highlights of the park, and it also has a play structure, sand volleyball court, and horseshoe pits. There are multiple parks and swim areas to visit around Dorena Lake. Nearby Schwarz Campground can be another great camping option on the lake if Baker Bay is short on vacancy.

The Row River Trail hugs the shoreline on the opposite side of the lake and travels for miles down to the city of Cottage Grove, passing multiple historic covered bridges along its route. Further up in the Calapooya foothills there are many trails, creeks, and waterfalls to explore.

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Black Canyon Campground

Why you should camp here: Set your camp in the Cascade foothills not far from town and numerous waterfalls.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes

Located about halfway between Eugene and the peaks of the Cascade Range, Black Canyon Campground serves as an ideal jumping-off point for those looking for a weekend adventure in the woods. The campsites are nestled under a canopy of old-growth forest where the Middle Fork Willamette River meets Lookout Point Lake.

Lookout Point Lake and the adjacent Dexter Reservoir are great for fishing and watersports. There are many trails in the surrounding area, several of which lead to hidden waterfalls that are tucked away deep within the verdant woodland of the Willamette National Forest.

The town of Oakridge is a ten-minute drive from the campground. Here you can find all of the groceries, tools, and toys you’ll need for a trip into the mountains, and the Ranger Station can provide all of the information you need.

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Delta Campground

Delta Campground Eugene
Photo: Rick Obst

Why you should camp here: Spend your day seeking out hot springs and then set up camp under old-growth fir and cedar trees.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: No

Delta Campground is situated out east on the McKenzie River Highway near Cougar Reservoir, Blue River Lake, and a treasure trove of hot springs and waterfalls. There’s a lot of outdoor fun to be had out here.

“I had a wonderful time in the Oregon old growth forest there! It was quiet, Clean and Majestic. I highly recommend it!” said visitor Mark on Recreation.gov.

The McKenzie River is host to a wealth of fun activities. Lure fishing, fly fishing, kayaking, and rafting draw in visitors from all over, as does the McKenzie River Trail which is popular for hikers and has been rated the #1 Trail in America by Bike Magazine.

The nearby ranger station can give you the low down on the countless waterfalls and hot springs in the area. As for the campground, it is lush with vibrant foliage that does well to separate the individual camping sites, and, because the campground is bordered by two forks of the McKenzie River, you’re not likely to hear any road noise.

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Eugene Kamping World

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Why you should camp here: It’s a full-featured tent and RV campground with all the comforts of home.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall, winter
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes

Sometimes it’s necessary to leave the forests to the birds and camp in a convenient location with modern amenities and accommodations. Eugene Kamping World is situated in the town of Coburg north of Eugene and provides visitors with every creature comfort they could ask for.

This campground has dozens of campsites with full RV hookups, and there is even on-site propane to refuel with. The clean, landscaped grounds are speckled with activity areas such as basketball courts, a fenced dog run, a playground, and a communal fire pit.

Campers have access to laundry facilities, showers, restrooms, a full kitchen, meeting hall, WiFi, a TV and computer room, and a store with movie rentals. While this may not be the most outdoorsy camping experience, it can be a chance to refresh yourself during an extended road-trip with its awesome facilities.

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Fall Creek Campgrounds

Why you should camp here: Multiple creekside campgrounds with access to miles of trails and excellent swimming holes.

  • Reservations accepted: No
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: No

These are the campgrounds that kids dream about visiting. Positioned closely to one another on the banks of Fall Creek, the three small campgrounds of Dolly Varden, Broken Bowl, and Big Pool provide a rich and remote camping experience for those who like to hike, fish, and swim.

Each of these primitive campgrounds has only a handful of tent sites, which is why we’re combining them into one recommendation. Restrooms, water, and trash receptacles are available on location, but don’t expect anything more. Dense, damp forest pushes in toward these campgrounds from all directions, and the tall trees all but block out the sun.

But deep in these dark woods, there is a wonderland to explore. Fall Creek is a prime trout fishing stream and has many top-notch swimming holes to discover. The Fall Creek Trail runs the creek’s entire length, as does the road on the other side, making every inch of the creek accessible to explore.

The large reservoir that you’ll pass on your way to the campgrounds has numerous day-use areas that can also be used for swimming, fishing, and launching watercraft. It’s also home to Cascara Campground which we featured in our article on the best camping in the Willamette National Forest.

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Hult Pond

Why you should camp here: Escape to a serene pond so remote that many locals don’t even know it exists.

  • Reservations accepted: No
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall, winter
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: No

Hult Pond is a BLM-managed recreation site that was originally developed for logging operations in the early 1900s. Some ruins remain from those days, as does the man-made reservoir which has now become a sanctuary for wildlife and remote recreation.

Few people travel down the forest roads near here and it is often quite quiet. No motorboats are allowed on the pond, and the few campers in the area are usually respectful of the peace and quiet they likely came out here to experience.

A boat ramp, vault toilet, and trash receptacles are located on-site. The camping situation is semi-developed, bordering on dispersed, and it’s free. If you can find a spot you like, go ahead and take it.

Pine Meadows Campground

Pine Meadows Campground
Photo: Rick Obst

Why you should camp here: Large lakeshore campsites and birdwatching opportunities galore.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: No

Ripe with diverse habitats that make for optimal birding opportunities, Cottage Grove Lake is certainly a great place for bird nerds, and Pine Meadows Campground is a fine place to stay for a weekend getaway. The campground has a fantastic swim beach, and nearby boat ramps provide lake access for boaters and fishers.

“The park Rangers came around everyday and had goodies for the kids and were so friendly,” said visitor Rachel on TripAdvisor.

There is flowing water on-site with flush toilets and showers. This is a great family camping area, much like Baker Bay, but as it is rich with accessible riparian habitats that we think nature lovers will truly get the most out of. From the open pine woods at Wilson Creek to the marshy backwater of Williams Creek, there are many landscapes to visit.

The BLM and Civilian Conservation Corps manage different sections of the area to protect wildlife habitats while providing recreational opportunities for visitors. It may seem like this lake is in the middle of nowhere, but in reality, you’ll only be camping 10 minutes away from Interstate-5.

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Richardson Park

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Why you should camp here: Explore the surrounding wetlands and enjoy various watersports on the reservoir.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best season: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes

Out west of Eugene on the far side of the Eugene Airport lies Fern Ridge Reservoir, a massive lake teeming with local wildlife, migratory birds, and kayakers. Richardson Park is located on its northern shore and is a but a quick ride to Eugene or the country town of Veneta.

Fern Ridge Reservoir is the largest lake in the Willamette Valley and a popular outdoor playground. Trails traverse the entire rim of the lake, and multiple parks with boat ramps line the shore. This is a fantastic place to bring your paddleboards, jet skis, and sailboats. Hiking, biking, fishing, and bird hunting round out the outdoor recreation activities list.

The campground itself is a fine spot for RV or tent camping, Seasonal and short-term watercraft moorage is available, as are nearby watercraft rentals. Volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and a playground will keep the kids entertained on-site throughout the day.

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