Persistent snow has delayed the start of the camping season in the Deschutes and Umpqua National Forests
Upcoming Memorial Day weekend is the typical unofficial kickoff to the summer camping season, however, you’ll need to pack up your tent for now if you’re heading to some of the higher elevation parks in the state. Persistent snow is delaying openings in several National Forests.
Today the US Forest Service announced the cancellation of all reservations at 20 campgrounds in the Deschutes National Forest through June 16. This includes several popular destinations like Elk and Lava Lakes in the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District, Trapper Creek in the Crescent Ranger District. , and Three Creek Meadow and Whispering Pines Horse Camp in the Sisters Ranger District. Reservation fees will be refunded.
Cool spring temperatures left much of the forest under snow, especially in the middle to upper elevations of the Cascades. Snowpack depths along busy roads like the Cascade Lakes Highway, which opened May 16, range from 1 to 4 feet.
This means that the Deschutes National Forest campground concessionaire, Vista Recreation, has been unable to reach certain areas to perform annual pre-season safety inspections, repairs and the removal of dangerous trees. In many cases the roads to the campgrounds are impassable and the tent and RV sites themselves are still covered in snow. The peloton is so large at one location, Soda Creek Campground, that the trail signs are still buried.
The new tentative opening date for affected central Oregon parks is June 17.
Umpqua National Forest issued a similar appeal last week, canceling overnight reservations at the Diamond Lake and Broken Arrow campgrounds for the June 4 weekend. was able to assess the water systems and other amenities given the amount of snow.
You can now make a reservation for these two campgrounds for the weekend of June 10.