The Siskiyou National Forest (of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest) is located in the southwest corner of Oregon with a small portion in the northwest portion of California. In Oregon, the Forest consists of 1,061,395 acres with 33,260 acres in California. There are forty developed campgrounds of which 11 meet the selection criteria.
The Siskiyou National Forest (of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest) is really more than one
forest. Near enough to the Pacific Coast to enjoy a temperate coastal climate, the forest stretches
from the rugged Rogue River and inland across ancient mountains. Visitors to the Siskiyou National
Forest can choose from a variety of forest camping experiences and recreational opportunities.
Whether looking for the quiet and solitude of wilderness tent camping, a spacious camp site in a
fragrant grove of trees for an RV (travel trailers and motorhomes), or a fun-filled family camping
vacation spot with lots to do, this Forest has it all.
The coastal side of the Siskiyou National Forest benefits much from a temperate climate. This
means lots of moisture feeds the Forest's five designated Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Rogue
River, probably the best known of these rivers, offers a variety of whitewater opportunities for
rafters, kayakers, and anglers. A bit of history can also be enjoyed with a mail-boat ride up the
Rogue River, passing Quosatana campground.
At the Quosatana campground campers have a chance to enjoy Siskiyou up-close-and-personally.
Sites in this park-like campground are located beside the Rogue River among fragrant
Myrtlewood and Alder trees. Wild turkey and deer are frequent visitors. Further up the Rogue
River is Illahe campground where campers can experience a more rustic, less maintained
campground and still be close to the river.
Another Wild and Scenic River, the Chetco, is clearly heard in Little Redwood campground. The
campground's serene atmosphere is enhanced by the many Alder, Redwood, and oak trees. The
nearby Redwood Nature Trail is a must-do for better understanding the Forest, its diversity, and
Winchuck campground is another of the Siskiyou National Forest's coastal camping locations.
The abundance of coastal moisture helps to establish moss-covered pine trees and large ferns.
Myrtlewood trees give the campground a delightful scent while the regular appearance of fog
creeping up the Winchuck River, provides a mystical rain forest look.
South of Powers, Oregon, next to the South Fork of the Coquille River, with sites tucked under
towering Douglas firs, is Daphne Grove campground. Although there is no fishing in the
Coquille River, wading and birdwatching is possible at the campground's small beach areas. The
presence of many deciduous trees suggest great fall color while open grassy spaces are good play
areas for youngsters.
While there is lots of camping, hiking, fishing and other such recreational opportunities within
the Siskiyou National Forest, one of the Forest's unique opportunities is exploring Oregon Caves
National Monument (NM) on a ranger-led tour. (A fee is required to take a 75-minute tour.)
Although small in size, the Oregon Caves are big in geological wonders. Cave popcorn, tiny
rim stone dams, and cave pearls are just a few of the smaller calcite formations. Larger calcite
deposits are found in flow stone and cave bacon formations. And all around is the drip, drip, drip
of the calcite mineral rich water adding to the Monument's many wonders.
On the way to Oregon Caves NM are Cave Creek and Grayback campgrounds. Cave Creek
campground is the closer of the two and has better privacy. In addition, there is a 1.8-mile trail leading
to the Monument. However, Grayback campground offers flush toilets, grey water disposal sites,
and a nearby swimming hole to compensate for the longer drive up to the Monument. Also, the
route from Cave Junction, Oregon to Grayback and Cave Creek campgrounds is through the
area's wine country. If visitors are so inclined, there are several wineries offering tastings and
sale of their products. Check with the Illinois Valley Visitor Center for information and maps.
The Siskiyou National Forest has several campgrounds on the banks of its scenic rivers but the
only lake to have a campground is Bolan Lake. Bolan Lake is small, just four acres, but
considered an outstanding place for canoeing. This campground hugs the hillsides around
the lake and most sites are rocky making it primarily a tent campground.
Almost due west of Grants Pass, Oregon and down Taylor Gorge, Big Pine and Sam Brown
campgrounds offer two different camping experiences. Big Pine campground is well named.
The majestic towering giants provide ample shade and gives the campground a tranquil "elfen"
feel. Plus, a network of trails, including Big Pine Loop, keep hikers busy. Sam Brown
campground, located on the old Ferrin Ranch, has a very different feel. Meandering up and over
a hillside and through a stand of widely spaced fir and pine, campsites are spacious and await RV
and tent campers. At the entrance to the campground is a large meadow where birds are
captured, banded, and tracked by the Forest Service. Occasionally, elk stop by the meadow for a
snack. What a thrill to see one of these magnificent animals stroll across the former hayfield!
And then there are the multi-use trails, almost 20-miles of trails for foot, horse, mountain bike
and motor routes through the nearby woods. (Contact the Galice Ranger District office for more
information and maps.)
It is said the biological diversity, both in plants and animals, found in the Siskiyou is second only
to that found in the Great Smokey National Park. The complexity of the area's geology and
climate are contributors to this claim. This variety in biology, geology, and climate gives the
Siskiyou National Forest its wide appeal to all sorts of visitors and campers. Whether just
passing through or camping in a car, tent, or RV, visitors will find hiking, fishing, boating or
wildlife viewing are but a few of the recreation opportunities available in the diverse Siskiyou
National Forest. Come and learn more.
333 W. 8th St.
P.O. Box 520
Medford, Oregon 97501-0209
RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES
Wild Rivers - Galice Office
2164 N.E. Spalding Avenue
Grants Pass, Oregon 97526
Gold Beach, Oregon 97444
Wild Rivers - Illinois Valley Office
26568 Redwood Hwy.
Cave Junction, Oregon 97523
42861 Highway 242
Powers, Oregon 97466