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Champoeg State Park
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What’s to Love: If you want to experience some great biking on safe, paved-paths, or play 15 holes of frisbee golf, then by all means head to Champoeg State Park. It’s well worth the 30 mile drive from Portland, even with gas being $4+ per gallon. It is also the perfect destination for a family camping trip, especially for first timers.

IMG_0006Champoeg State Park is located out in farm country and has a beautiful, pastoral setting. The visitor’s center is quaint, and the attendants very friendly. They can give you a park brochure, show you the biking trails, and send you on your way. Although we didn’t bring discs for their 15-hole course, you can purchase some at the visitor’s center.

IMG_0020On our visit, it was all about biking! Champoeg has 4 miles of paved-biking-paths that run next to the river and next to all kinds of camping (tent, car, RV’s, Yurts and Cabins). These paths are not as smooth as the Salmon Creek trails in Vancouver, WA, but they are fine. Just keep your eyes peeled for cracks, and ripples caused by tree roots. Plus, the biking trail ends at an old-fashioned General Store (Butteville) where you can cool off with some ice cream, homemade pie, or have lunch.

Don’t feel like biking? There are also plenty of hiking trails that will keep you active. Finally, there are so many options here for camping. Your family may want to look into renting a Yurt or Cabin. They are fairly rustic, but have running water nearby and electric heat. Check the Champoeg website (below) for more information. Here is a clip of the biking trail.

IMG_0029Caveats: $5 Day Use Fee. The machine that dispenses passes does not accept credit/debit cards. Therefore, it’s a good idea to bring some cash. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for your pass inside the visitor’s center.

The paved trails have been worked-over quite a bit by tree roots. They are fine, but beginning bikers should keep their eyes peeled. I would have liked to see a place inside the visitor’s center to sit and eat lunch, but all seating is outside. If it’s cold, make sure you come prepared!

Website: Champoeg State Park Online Camping Reservations Day Use Brochure

Distance from Portland: 30 miles from downtown Portland. Map!

Recommended Ages: This is a perfect get away for the whole family. If your older kids are bored with the biking and/or hiking, have them play some disc golf. Since there is camping, it’s great for the whole family.

Parental Stress Factor: Very low stress area, especially during the week and off-season. This isn’t a “resort-camping-destination,” so you will have to bring things to do with your kids (e.g., bikes, sporting goods, games, etc.).

Physical Difficulty: The paved paths make most of this park fully accessible. The paths are mostly flat with a few ups and downs, but they are all short-lived.

Family Fun Factor: Definitely a great destination for a family that loves getting outside. If your family isn’t into camping, make it a day trip and bring the frisbees and bikes.

Pet Friendly: Dogs are okay on leashes.

Weather Considerations: Gloomy weather might not sound very appealing, but you will certainly have much of the park to yourself. We went on a cold Wednesday in early June, and it was dead. In hot summer weather, this park will probably get a bit over-crowded.

IMG_0046Insider Info: The Butteville Store adds a bit of fun to this out-of-the-way destination. My son was excited about biking when I told him we’d be getting some ice cream at the end of the ride! ¬†They also serve some decent food.

Yurts and cabins are almost always booked-up for the entire summer season. At least, I was told this by a ranger. If you’re interested, make sure you get reservations through the online system at least 3-6 months in advance.

IMG_0047Family Tips: Although you can camp with a tent, I would avoid it on summer weekends. I have a feeling that the park turns into an RV festival, which doesn’t sound too appealing to tent campers. If I’m wrong about this, please make a comment and set the record straight!

As I mentioned earlier, don’t count on any food in the immediate area (except the Butteville store). Come prepared with your own snacks and or lunches. There are a limited amount of BBQ grills in the day use area, which is next to the frisbee golf course. Finally, if you’re planning on hiking with your kids, you may want to bring a jogging stroller for kids who get tired.

Technorati Tags: Champoeg, Oregon State Parks, frisbee golf, paved biking trails, kids biking, yurts, cabins, Buttville Store


5 Comments


  1. I just noticed on the reservation site (link in the “website” field) that the park has a fishing dock. I didn’t notice this as I traveled east along the paved-path, which makes sense because I was so high above the river.

    Unfortunately, we didn’t head west on the paved-path, so I didn’t get a good look at the fishing dock. Can anyone help me here? Has anyone done any fishing at Champoeg?

    Thanks. Vince

  2. Vince,

    Did you notice any sandy beach areas next to the river?

  3. Champoeg State Park is the place for gatherings for the reason that there is a collective green area in the central. When we stayed there, a lengthy family was consuming their yearly event.

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