Thursday, August 18, 2016

Champoeg State Park, A Beauty on the Outskirts of Portland

We've just completed a wonderful four night stay at a new-to-us park: Champoeg State Park.  Like so many Oregon State Parks, Champoeg is beautiful, well run and has lots of things to do. I wish we could extend our stay, but when Hans made our reservations way back in March he could only get four weeknights in a row; this park is popular with good reason. Details on the park are at the end of this post.

Our first day we needed to run an errand in the south end of Portland, only about 30 miles away, so we planned a couple of fun stops en route. First a nice loop hike at Tryon Creek State Park near Lake Oswego.

Hans chose to blend in on this day...see him?

Like so many hikes in NW Oregon this one was in a forest...perfect for a hot summer day.

Our next stop was the lovely Elk Rock Garden at Bishops Close. The garden was originally created by the Kerr family in the early 1900's and given to the Episcopal Church in 1957 with the stipulation that it be open to the public.

The property is perched on the cliff above the Willamette River, just visible through the trees on the right.

Moss covered stones line the paths with peek-a-boo views of the river below.

Daytime stars.

Another day we drove a loop through the beautiful country surrounding Champoeg. Dozens of wineries are accessible from just about any road in the Willamette Valley, agricultural fields give way to forested hilltops, and charming small towns pop up every few miles.

Just a few miles outside of McMinnville is Miller Woods, a conservation area owned by Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District. We hiked a pretty 3.5 mile loop with a little bit of everything: wildlife, meadows, forest and a pond.

Great Horned Owl.

Small creeks flowed through lush forest.

Sun shafts in deep forest.

I happened to look up as we lunched under this beautiful old oak tree and fell in love with the view!

Later, on a walk in McMinnville, this frog was reminiscent of the one I'd just seen at Miller Pond.

 Campground Review

Champoeg State Park lives up to its excellent reviews. Roads and sites are paved. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. Most sites have excellent separation as well as privacy bushes between the sites. There are eight full hookup sites, over 67 water/electric sites, plus tent sites and cabins and yurts. There are many very large/long sites, especially in Loop B.

The park is located along the Willamette River and boasts several miles of hiking and biking trails, river access, disc golf course, a unique playground, and a visitor center dedicated to the history of the area.  Lady Hill Winery right across the street from the park has some lovely wines as well!

Champoeg is an important part of Oregon's history.

We had back in, full hookup site #B25.
We had thick bushes between us and our neighbors on both sides...excellent privacy.
Also decent afternoon shade in our patio area.

Right behind our site was a path to the central restroom and this beautiful open field
with views to the forested hills beyond the park.

A long pull through site directly across from us.

You can boat in to this park and dock your boat for up to 72 hours.
There are camp sites for boaters at the top of the ramp.
Note the small sign near the top of the second post...that was the high water line during the February 1996 flood!
There was an even higher flood in 1861!!!
Fortunately the park lies a good 30 feet or more above the current water line.

Paved bike path through a meadow. Most of the trails are through forest.

We really enjoyed the disc golf course.
Though there are plenty of trees, there is very little undergrowth in which to lose discs!
Make sure you take a photo of the course layout at the start kiosk, it can be difficult to locate the next tee sometimes.

Baby acorn woodpecker...

...getting fed!

We'd definitely stay at Champoeg State Park again.


  1. What a great stay! Love the owl and the cute baby woodpecker:) Terrific finds! Love that lunch tree. Glad you looked up:) What a super site! Thanks for the park info!

  2. You're in our old neighborhood. We lived about a mile downriver from Champoeg. We used to ride our bikes and walk to the park. It was awesome living on the Willamette River. I saw so many birds when we lived on the river. Glad you stayed there. It's a great park, as you now know.

    1. It is a beautiful area! You were very fortunate to live on the river!

  3. Oh yeah, Champoeg is a wonderful state park! I ran my first half marathon there on the trails. And I've taken my kids to visit many times. Glad you enjoyed your stay.

  4. This one is definitely on the list for the future. Love, love, LOVE the baby woodpecker...what an awesome photo Lisa. Can you believe I have never seen a great horned owl in the wild?

    1. We've been fortunate to scare up a few owls while hiking. it's always a thrill!

  5. We love Champoeg—but every time we've been there, it's just to drive into Portland to visit Eric's sister. We've never done more than hike and bike around the park. You found so many great things to do nearby—we need to go back and spend more time in the area exploring instead of just driving to Portland! So cute that you captured the baby woodpeckers getting fed—and I like your daytime stars :-)

    1. Well both of our outings weren't very close by. There were a couple of nearby historical places we did not visit though...

  6. Oregon does such a good job with their parks. Love the owl and woodpeckers. We lived a block from the Willamette River while I worked at OHSU and loved it (the river not work).

    1. I think it would be lovely to live on or near water!

  7. Boat sites, campsites, disc golf, acorn woodpeckers. Really sounds like a great park. Your frog picture is terrific. I'm with you on really loving the view up through the trees. Those are two great shots as well.

  8. Took me forever to find Hans!! He needs all red shirts :-) All the pics are wonderful, and the daytime stars are delightful. Your frog was definitely the model for the sculpture. What a great shot of the woodpeckers - lucky you.

    1. I know! Seems like every time we hike in the forest he wears green!

  9. I never heard of this park and would love to check this out if in our route. And with the heat in Oregon this is indeed the perfect place to cool off.
    How is your foot? I hope its getting better since you are hiking some already.

    1. The foot is just okay. I may be pushing it too much....but I continue to do my stretches and icing...some day it will bee healed!

  10. We have not really explored the outskirts of Portland so I really enjoyed this post. Thanks!

  11. What a gorgeous spot! Love especially the nestling Acorn Woodpecker. What a beautiful photo and sighting.