U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Siskiyou National Forest


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Forest Information

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 36 developed campgrounds of which seven 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.
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 is Grayback campground. Grayback campground offers flush toilets, grey water disposal sites, and a nearby swimming hole to compensate for the long drive up to the Monument. Also, the route from Cave Junction, Oregon to Grayback campground 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.

SUPERVISOR ADDRESS 333 W. 8th St. P.O. Box 520 Medford, Oregon 97501-0209 541-858-2200 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Wild Rivers - Galice Office 2164 N.E. Spalding Avenue Grants Pass, Oregon 97526 541-471-6500 Gold Beach 29279 Ellensburg P.O.B. 7 Gold Beach, Oregon 97444 541-247-3600 Wild Rivers - Illinois Valley Office 26568 Redwood Hwy. Cave Junction, Oregon 97523 541-592-4000 Powers 42861 Highway 242 Powers, Oregon 97466 541-439-6200

Fred and Suzi Dow