Alpine Lakes, lush greenery, and cascading waterfalls are the best ways to describe the marvelous Umpqua National Forest. The heavily forested region in Southern Oregon spans about 984,602 acres. Featuring hot water springs, scenic hiking trails, camping sites, and fishing spots, Umpqua National Forest is Oregon's best-kept secret.
Umpqua is an ancient Towola word meaning "a place along the river" or "thundering waters," referring to the whitewater rapids that flow gracefully in some sections of the Umpqua River. Camping is one of the main attractions in the forest, thanks to the destination's adventure-filled atmosphere, which is perfect for the outdoorsy lifestyle. Here is everything a camper needs before visiting Umpqua National Forest.
Best Campsites In Umpqua National Forest
Boasting 40 campgrounds within its premises, Umpqua National Forest offers a variety of settings and experiences for campers. Some campgrounds are bigger than others, while others feature better amenities. Here are the top campsites in this forest.
Diamond Lake Campground
This campground is nestled along the eastern shore of Diamond Lake and attracts about 70,000 visitors annually. Surrounded by numerous conifer trees, it's no wonder campground is one of the best in the Diamond Lake Ranger District. Tourists can enjoy the shade during the summer while taking in the scenic views of Diamond Lake. For tourists wanting to quench their thirst for adventure, 11 hiking opportunities exist near the campsite, with more challenging ones located at Howlock Mountain and Mount Theilsen Trails.
Diamond Lake Campground boasts an impressive 238 camping sites, 145 of which are reservable upon early booking. The rest operate on a first-come-first-served basis and fill up quickly during the high season. While here, campers can enjoy amenities such as clean water, flush toilets, showers, and picnic tables.
- Months Open: May to October
- Fees: $16 per night
Boulder Flat Campground
The campground is on the Umpqua River, meaning fishing is its top attraction to campers. Tourists can spend a warm summer day near the calming sights and sounds of the Umpqua River. Home to nine camping sites, the area proves visitors don't need much to have fun. A developed raft launch is popular among passionate whitewater rafters, who can explore North Umpqua River's best fishing spots.
The campground facilities include two vault toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, and garbage disposal. Hiking trails are a walking distance away, but hikers should pack drinking water before arriving at the sites, as Boulder Flat Campground has no access to drinking water.
- Months Open: All year round
- Fees: $10 per night and extra $5 for vehicles
South Umpqua Falls Campground
Tucked away in the Umpqua Valley, this campground boasts the highest number of camping sites in the Tiller Ranger District of the forest. With 20 camping sites, this lovely meadow surrounded by trees features a serene picnic area available on a first-come-first-served basis. Featuring breathtaking views of the waterfalls and space for children and pets to play, South Umpqua Falls Campground is the ideal spot for family camping during a vacation. Amenities include three vault toilets, fire pits, and garbage disposal.
- Months Open: All year round
- Fees: $10 per night, an extra $5 for vehicles
Areas Where Camping Is Allowed
Umpqua National Forest is divided into four main districts:
- Cottage Grove Ranger District
- Tiller Ranger District
- Diamond Lake Ranger District
- North Umpqua Ranger District
The Cottage Grove Ranger District is a good section for camping activities because it's the most popular with other activities such as surfing, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and old Guard Station renting. Cottage Grove Ranger District is home to six excellent camping areas where visitors can spend a night. On the other hand, Tiller Ranger District is famous for its excellent snowshoeing and snowboarding terrain. The serene region has nine campgrounds featuring dense conifer forests and summer wildflowers.
Diamond Lake and North Umpqua Ranger District boast the most campgrounds, with 12 and 13, respectively. All the camping areas in both spots require a fee to enjoy a night in the wild but are worth every penny, thanks to well-maintained amenities for a more comfortable stay.
Many tourists enjoy the solitude of camping off the grid. Whereas setting camp away from the developed campgrounds is allowed, consulting the rangers in Umpqua National Forest is highly recommended.
Dos And Don'ts In Umpqua National Forest
Responsible camping is a priority in Umpqua National Forest as it ensures visitors of all ages and skill levels enjoy their stay in this adventurous experience. Here are a few tips for implementing while camping there.
- Leave no trace of garbage during and after the camping session.
- Planning ahead is always recommended by the forest authorities. Ample preparation before the visit minimizes accidents during adventurous activities in the forest.
- Be a considerate visitor. The beautiful spots are meant to be shared by all tourists who visit the park. Keeping the place clean and respecting other people's spaces makes the stay more enjoyable.
- Respect the wildlife in the forest. Visitors should avoid approaching, touching, and feeding the animals.
- Camping at Umpqua Hot Springs is not permitted, but campers can stay at Toketee Lake Campground, located about three miles from the hot springs.
- Don't leave the campfire unattended. This is because unmonitored campfires can start forest fires.
Spending a night in one of the 40 campgrounds in this place should be on the bucket list of every nature lover. From wonderful campgrounds in the Umpqua Valley to serene spots near the hot springs, camping in Umpqua National Forest is Oregon's hidden gem that is slowly gaining attention.