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  • 1 Post By bkuske
  • 2 Post By mars
  • 1 Post By Ralgha
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Jul 6th 2020, 10:27 PM   #1
  Sep 2018

Good spot to camp in central oregon? (near mitchell?)

Wanted to get out for a couple days - ride from PDX to shaniko, antelope, fossil, mitchell perhaps. Don't know any good spots to camp as a solo rider. Someplace safe and easy, ideally accessible on pavement or minimal gravel road, not too far from a spot with stores, food, facilities.

I understand COVID means more campsites may be closed and things may be a little trickier in that regard. I am flexible as to what area I make base for 1-2 nights, but I was drawn to Mitchell as I liked the town before (and Tiger Town brewery).

Ochoco national forest looked to have a couple spots, wildwood campground and canyon creek but I can find very little information and it looks like the foresting roads to get there may not be paved? Plus, I suppose either are a little far.

There's Mitchell town campsite right in the town there which might be easiest? I also saw a roadside campground just NW of mithcell off of 207 ("Beautiful Roadside Campsite) but it looked pretty exposed and minimal, though not too bad a drive down a gravel road (~1.5 miles).

Any tips/advice on trying to head out to central oregon and camp somewhere relaxing for a night or two? Main goal is to get out and stay somewhere without having to stay in a hotel/motel/AirBNB (covid), and just read + ride a little.

Ochoco Divide Campground off of HWY 26 (20 min/16 miles SW of Mitchell, OR) is currently where I am eyeing, and status online says its open.

Thanks for any help/feedback!

Edited by bkuske on Jul 6th 2020 at 10:31 PM
Jul 7th 2020, 05:16 AM   #2
 Flyboymedic's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Hazel Dell, Wa

  Multistrada Pikes Peak, VFR800, VStrom 650, TE 610
I recently went out to SE OR in my van and on the way back discovered the campground at Walton Lake by accident that's now one of my favorites, in part because I met another rider with an old (SL360 Hawk?) there and we had a good discussion by the campfire that night. Turns out his daughter is the hot blonde villain in Transporter 2! Anyway, unfortunately for you it's well off the highway down several miles of gravel roads. Nothing that couldn't be handled on any motorcycle, but it would be a slow go on a street bike. There's Ochoco Divide campground just off 26 that I checked out prior but there's nothing particularly interesting about the campground. Pretty, in that it's in the forest, but no views of anything and there are more people. It's open and won't be full, and will probably have every 3rd space being utilized.

Beautiful Roadside Campsite was the first campground I was going to check out, but turned around about 1/2 way there from 26 as I figured I could do better, and I did. However I just looked it up on G maps and found pics of it which I wasn't able to do on my phone at the time. Not bad, but there's no shade it appears which would suck IMO. Here ya go:

Also Hidden Springs up the road.

Edited by Flyboymedic on Jul 7th 2020 at 05:33 AM
Jul 7th 2020, 09:39 AM   #3
  Sep 2018

Thanks Flyboy! You know, sounds like options are a little rough and Ochoco Divide might be the most pragmatic even without the view. My main practical concern there is sleeping temps in the low 40s with the elevation, but perhaps a bag liner and thermal layers will be enough?

If I go that route and just use Ochoco to sleep, any good shaded viewpoints easily accessible by bike to go spend an afternoon reading/lounging at with that campground as base?

Oh, is it generally considered fine to leave a tent/sleeping bag/etc. all up in place in these areas for the day without undue fear of theft?
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Jul 7th 2020, 10:52 AM   #4
 mars's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Scholls, OR

  CB160RR, CB550, SportClassic, R1, CBR250R
I can't speak to camping near Mitchell but my new favorite tool for searching camp sites is called "Free Roam" ( They are a "...non-profit seeking to connect campers with nature in a sustainable way.". The app is free and fairly comprehensive, including data like cell service, average weather, road difficulty, crowdedness, etc.

They don't have a moto-specific forum but I've requested one, so we'll see.
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Edited by mars on Jul 7th 2020 at 10:54 AM
Jul 8th 2020, 04:34 PM   #5
 uhoh's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Tri-Cities, dry side of Washington

  Kawasaki C-14
Same highway a ways east of Mitchell, is John Day, OR. There's a state campground on west side of town
that would be my choice based on closeness to old style eating, food, fuel etc. - couple miles away.
Fully paved access. Lot of shade trees. Google it.

Have a good ride. post up photos ....

Edited by uhoh on Jul 8th 2020 at 04:36 PM
Jul 16th 2020, 08:20 AM   #6
 Ralgha's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  2012 Ninja 250, Tiger 800
I stayed in the Ochoco Divide campground a few weeks ago, it was fine. There really aren't many options out there. There is supposedly camping in the Mitchell city park, but I didn't see anything that looked appealing when I went through. "Beautiful Roadside" does look nice and it's down a gravel road, but someone was already there when I checked it out. There is a field on the west side of the road going from 26 to the Painted Hills where people were camping, no view of anything there either.
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