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Going Coastal: Boondocking Challenges in NW Oregon

Going Coastal: Boondocking Challenges in NW Oregon


one thing I was really hoping I could
accomplish when I made it to the Pacific Coast was to show you all these great
boon docking sites where you could camp for free but there’s a little bit of a
snag in that first of all I really couldn’t find any because all the roads
whined and whined and whined through the forest and every time that it looks like
there’s a place to pull over there’s a fence there just doesn’t see there’s a
lot of public land and even the state campgrounds which were a little pricey
didn’t really offer a lot I went into what was supposed to be a
state park saddle mountain took the worst winding road and thought out it
was only for tent camping so it pays to do your research a little bit better
than I did if you’re trying to find something on the coast but now I know
it’s not easy there were some campgrounds I found if
you can consider them campgrounds basically it was just a place to pull
over although they still charge you $15 a night but one of my biggest concerns
was that a lot of the people that were camping in places like that really
didn’t seem to be camping at least not my definition of camping they’re kind of people they were there
for the long haul although they weren’t supposed to be you know pile up the
kindling pile up the lumber have about ten jerry cans of diesel for their
generators and they have the dogs that you don’t want a pat if you know what i
mean and they didn’t really seem overly friendly didn’t want me to be there and
wasn’t a place i felt comfortable with so a lot of places a lot of websites
will tell you a little spot in a map to go but you really got to go by feeling
because some of those spots are just not worth your safety or your comfort to
even stay for a night and that’s what happened to me i I went to a few places
and you just get that weird feeling that something’s not right
these aren’t campers and I didn’t want to leave my trailer there when I went
around with my Jeep so I was like well I’m not going to stay there at all then
I’d rather pay a few bucks for safety than to save a few dollars and things
going a lot worse so you gotta use you you got to use your
gut feeling sometimes and that’s what I do so sorry folks
this section is not going to show you a lot of really good cheap camp spots but
I did see a lot of great scenery few would argue that the Pacific coast of
the US is overwhelming in its vastness majestic and its beauty and untamed in
its fury the beach seems to go forever and the hypnotic pulse of the waves is
just so soothing to watch there’s no better place to explore it than the
Pacific coast of Oregon The sand enchanting and with low tide it beckons those enchanted to explore it’s furthest edge on the shores of Fort Stephen State Park
lies the wreck of the Peter Iredale it was a large four-masted sailing ship
in its day but unfortunately it ran aground in 1906 and has been trapped
there ever since piece by piece the iredale slowly
disappears with only a skeleton of its bow and foremast still remain but at sunset the Iredale comes alive
again as the last light of the day shines through a silhouette of rust and
steel well I didn’t stay long but I did see
signs of an unusual custom unique to the area it seems West Coasters have a habit of
drop-kicking green dumpsters and have to be told not to do it. Very strange! now I’ve been giving pretty bad directions so far so let me fill you in
on my next plan leaving the coast I headed east on highway 20 from Newport. I
first stopped in on a little town with the cutest name then continued up into
the Cascade Mountains in search of a good free place to camp but on the way I
saw a sign that looked like r2d2 of Star Wars. but on closer examination it was a
picture of a wagon train signifying I was on an old wagon road from days gone by but my eyes weren’t finished playing tricks with me yet because as I passed
through Sweet Home something caught my sight and I wasn’t sure what I was
seeing it appeared to be a statue of two guys one bent over and the other one
holding something in his hands I had to see for myself what it was all about I found the guy leaning over was
actually a prospector who just found a nugget panning for gold well the other
guy was a lumberjack proudly holding the handle of his axe of course he was just
holding an axe what were you thinking? but what really bothers me is what I
should have seen but didn’t apparently there was a Museum of things found by
metal detectors in sweet home and I didn’t know it was there but at least I
enjoyed sweet homes beautiful Foster Lake I carried on up into the Cascade
Range I found a sign that said House Rock Campground I was a little hesitant though as it sounded too close to “Jailhouse Rock”campground the last thing
I needed was a noisy party of Elvis fans but when I checked it out the road
actually showed a lot of promise Wow
that’s a huge spruce I believe it’s probably been here for ages and there’s
two parasitic maples one on each side you’re probably saying Grampa you’ve had
a good life it’s time to go timber give us a little bit more light see if
you can hit that trailer in the background we’ll give you extra points
as you go out I hope grandpa’s deaf and he’s not
listening! Grandpa Spruce decided to let my trailer live another day not only was it a gorgeous tranquil campsite but it came with benefits although no toilet
they encouraged you to act like a cat and even provided a shovel although not
as big a shovel as I’d like ! So while I act like a cat I’m gonna let the forest
take over from here I think the seasons changing a little well I’m off and running again
and heading east heading into the snow the Pacific coast was interesting but
you know if everybody likes different things if I had had the choice between
you know moss dripping on a Sitka spruce and a nice dry ponderosa pine I’d take a
ponderosa pine any day however let’s talk about that Pacific coast
because I had all these preconceived ideas of what I was going to be like it
was gonna be windy it was gonna be rainy and there’s gonna be tons of places for
me to camp for free and I was wrong when I got there wasn’t windy at all it
wasn’t raining it was nice and sunny there was hardly a cloud in the sky most
of the time and finding a place for free well that was a challenge but I do want
to mention one thing that I thought was kind of interesting is why I went to one
state park I thought there was one part that for sure I’d find camping anywhere
it wouldn’t be a big deal and I got there and all I found were these windy
roads bumpy scary roads and I kept you know boom boom up and down in the
trailer it was terrible it wasn’t anywhere I would recommend to anybody
but as I was winding around these scary roads I kept seeing these little urban
cars all along the sides taking up all the spots you could pull over it’s like
why are all these little these little cars you know the ones you’d
expect to see in a Walmart or a mall in the woods
I couldn’t figure it out until at one point I finally somebody saw somebody
coming out with a bag of mushrooms it was mushroom season I never even know
a thought of that in making my plans it was the peak of mushroom season and I’m
not talking about morels I’m talking about them funny mushrooms the go ask
alice type mushrooms hit peak season it was the perfect place to get them they
were it was a bumper crop this year who would have thought and so it just
kind of says you know it doesn’t matter what your planning is there’s always
something you didn’t anticipate when you had it out on your trip now I know if
you go into Oregon in the coast in the north northwest don’t go during mushroom
season unless you wanted to be there at that time but I don’t need any strange
mushrooms to feel good I can just sit by a stream and let nature give me the
inspiration I need I hope you enjoyed this video and will
check my others as well

100 comments

The southern half of the Oregon coast is far less populated than the northern half. A few, not tons, more boondocking spots available. Thanks for the Hwy 20 videography. I also love Hwy 138 from Roseburg to Diamond Lake/Crater Lake along the North Fork Umpqua River. Tons of falls and USFS campgrounds that are $10/night, almost empty and safe.

Hi Slim. From BC, we've headed down to Oregon for four out of the last six years. It's our favourite summer vacation trip. This past summer we took the Chalet down to the Alvord desert via Bend, the Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds monument. Then it was on to Crater Lake and the coast. Can't say we've encountered any of these weird campsites you describe, but we tend to stick to private campgrounds or State parks. We've stayed at Fort Stevens ourselves before and taken in the beached shipwreck.
If you haven't done already, take in the Wallowas in the very north-east corner of the state. The Snake River Canyon between Oregon and Idaho very nearly matches the Grand Canyon in its grandeur.
I'm documenting our trip right now on my blog if you're interested… Google on Tales from a Pale Blue Dot.

In you head from bend south on the 97 i can give you info on several free spots to camp.. Just let me know your in my hood now.. Welcome to south central oregon..

how much of the Oregon coast did you explore? it doesn't look like you went very far? i think the state park campgrounds are 10$ cheaper than calif. and have showers and hookupsit doesn't look like you gave the coast much chance? what's your response? how far south did you go?

just introduced to you r channel.. subed and looking through old ones going to take a bit.. .. but about a year ago, you fixed a mandolin.. did you ever learn how to play it?

The beaches or Oregon blew me away the first time I saw its coastline. With apologies to the USPS, at least you didn't go "postal" after not finding good campsites.

Astoria, Oregon and the Long Beach Peninsula (Washington) is where I live and work. The forests are full of homeless camps, that includes the state run dispersed camping sites.

They ruin the camping experience unfortunately.

Haven't read all the comments, so I hope this isn't redundant. I'm a "born and bred" Oregonian, and have pretty much seen all of it. Unfortunately, you only got to see a little of it. Please come back and see the rest. The "Central Oregon" area will give you all the pines you could ask for, and it's both dry and, in the winter, cold! But Southern Oregon, where I now live, has an abundance of gorgeous scenery and hundreds of miles of Forest Service Roads where you should be able to boondock. We have mountains and lakes and rivers galore, and the beauty is unending. There are other areas that are also beautiful, but some that you would definitely not feel safe in, as well. Come again and give us another try!

Qas this your first time in oregon? Or just coast? I am a bit surprized about the negative review. Crater lake, Fort rock, sister's peaks, mt hood, haystack rocks, smith rocks, hor springs….you could spend a month.

Slim, sorry about your camping experience here in Oregon. Our state has a real problem with drugs, meth being one of the biggest. And where there are drugs…. problems seem to follow. I'm down in the south end by Medford and we still have quite a bit of boondocking available. But again…. you got to know where to go! If you get down here and want some info for this area please feel free to post an interest and we can connect via e-mail. Thanks, Hersh

Just stunning shots of the forest, love Oregon and this is another brilliant spot. The water sounds and soothing music interspersed could make a relaxing soundtrack for those that need to unwind or fall asleep.

Mr. Potatohead!! Watch your manners. Cosmo has a camera that has stereo audio and sounds awesome when he was canoeing in the Adirondacks. Check it out too.

My experience was that the Oregon coast is very controlled—not many open public lands like National forests. USFS lands tend to have lots of dirt roads and old logging roads with good little camping spots. If you go more to the east over to the Cascades, or in California, the Sierra Nevada, you'll find lots of good camping.

Sorry Slim, I live in this overtaxed state of Washington. You have to pay way too much for everything, and don't often get your dollars worth. It's sad really and I hope you find better deals in other states.

Welcome to the west coast. Not sure about Washington State, but along the coast of OR and CA camping, particularly free camping, is very very limited and whenever you're anywhere near any sort of infrastructure you're bound to find people living there instead of camping there. Sad truth about the west coast. Going a bit inland tends to give you more opportunities, but as others have mentioned: look for National Forest or PG&E campgrounds – they're usually in the 5 to 10 bucks a night range and eliminate most of the transient problem. I for one tend to go much farther inland for free camp trips, namely NV, AZ and NM or even TX. Doesn't give you the awesome pacific coast but gives you awesome free camping.

Beautiful videography and wonderful storytelling. And I always love it when you show a map of your location and direction (even if you are long gone). Maps are visual aids that enhance the story. Thanks so much for sharing your interesting life on this platform.

Love to send you this spice but dont have address or p.o box for you. Sometimes your meals seem like they need a little ……something? It's called Riley's All Purpose Seasoning made in Illinois. We noticed it IS available on-line. We use this at home and when camping. You might like it too. We are not affiliated in any way with the campany…but think you will like it. We love your videos and your honesty and your great humor.

They were all unfriendly cuz… they thought you were gonna beat them to the shrooms….. hahahahahahaha…. they didn't want the competition…. excellent cinematography……

Beautiful video! Lots of beautiful poison oak plants displaying their fall ambers and reds. I started itching from looking at it. 🤪

Sadly Slim, you’ve discovered the down side of boondocking in some spots. There are more and more spots taken over by “campers” who are in reality living out in the woods full time. Sorry that you had that kind of experience but glad you enjoyed our beautiful state.

These places are beautiful. Thanks for capturing it's beauty. Please put a caption for the name of these places. Thank you for sharing.

Your characterization of the boondocking situation in the coastal Northwest is spot-on, unfortunately. There are some places, but accessing them usually involves some planning, work, flexibility, and sometimes raw luck. The eastern side of the Cascades is better, like your Umatilla stay which I envied. Closures and restrictions that make boondocking impractical where you were hoping to go on the west side probably happens more frequently there than anywhere else I have been with the exception of parts of the really busy corridors of humanity along the Northeast coast. Central Oregon to the Canadian border is not much better than Philly to Boston in my experience.

while not a traveler i'm enjoying your "contrarian" ways (that's a compliment) and this segment is beautifully photographed. Happy trails! Rich

Yeah free camping on the Oregon coast isn't the easiest. Most of the little towns along 101 rely on tourism. They are plenty of campgrounds all along the way but they have seasons and aren't open year round. Sorry that you didn't have a better visit.

The Coast Sounded
Like a drag , Slim …
Sorry to hear it ….

I think , Some Of Us ,
are more attuned,
to Certain types
Of Environments …

Some Folk , are petrified ,
by the Ocean ,
or by the Mountains …
Or by the Deserts ….

You're a Rocky Mountain Child Slim ,
Stands to Reason ,
the dense , damp ,
Pacific Rainforest ,
' might not be , Your Cup Of tea '

to Each his Own , As they Say 🙂

+ please know , that I Know ,
You're not into moneymaking Schemes ,
Selling merchandise etc ;

but You deserve to be Compensated Slim ,
for All Your hours Of time ,
both , Seen + UnSeen ,
that You devote to this Good Work
You do !!
Entertaining + Informing Us 🙂

As they Say ,
the horse , deserves Oats
for his/her efforts :)!!
I'm not equating Anyone
to a horse , Slim 🙂
We All Should be Compensated
for Our Service to ' Family Of Man '
!!

Patreon a Good Possibility ;
+ no one is ' Selling Out '
by receiving $12 /Year / $1/month
from those Subscribers that Want to Help 🙂

+ I know You're not doing this ,
for the £ money Slim 🙂
but Still , All Your Gas + food Should be Covered , in a non intrusive Way ,
that You Are ok with 🙂
Cause You bring Alotta Joy Slim !!
+ that's PriceLess !!

And , in my Opinion Slim ,
utube creators ,
Should not have to do extra Patreon Vids,
for receiving $12 a Year from
Subscribers ;
You've done enough ,
Doing the Vids You do !!
Let's Just Let People Live their Lives in Peace :)…

Much Love

Happytrails

Namaste

Oregon has wonderful campgrounds all the way along the coast. They have all the amenities, are well maintained with improvements and staffed by rangers. This cost money. It's a privelige to have access and well worth the money. Don't cheap out for free camping.

Fist bumps 👊👊👊👊👊, high fives/pats on the back ✋✋✋✋✋, extra thumbs up 👍👍👍👍👍 Pets ❤❤❤❤❤, treats and tummy rubs.

Yup, Oregon is NOT the shangra-lah of free camping anymore! Too many people now, and the state is broke. The people of Oregon are tired of visitors now too. Congestion, crime and TAFFIC EVERYWHERE! COME TO OREGON AND SEE THE HOMELESS CAMPS!

I found all the exact same problems on the coast haha. I moved to Oregon this year, Im leaving next summer. This whole state is discombobulated and a mess.

You have to live in this area to know where the good spots are. A little easier on the southern base of Mount Hood as well. Random fact. I rent ebikes out at Fort Stevens state park and the best sunset show in that park isn't there on the beach..

I run a campground in the coastal mountains in Oregon. There's a lot of boondocking sites near my campground on BLM land. If you contact the BLM district office in Salem Oregon they can give you maps and how to get to these sites.

I lived in Eugene, Oregon for almost a year recently. As someone who loves to travel and find quiet spots you just summed up my entire experience in Oregon. Beautiful state nonetheless.

OMG, I did that drop in the woods thing to drop off and I was attacked by chiggers on my behind and practically itched myself raw before I could get back to a town for some bite relief. Never again, I hope!

I'm asking a serious question. Do you ever get concerned about all the missing campers and hikers out there alone? You are a wonderful photographer/travel host. Beautiful videos!

Did ya loose one of your solar panels…thought I remembered seeing 4 in earlier vids….great video of an area that I've lived in my past.

We are on limited time when we visit Oregon, so without having time to drive around to find a forest service road we just pay for the nice campground and enjoy what Oregon has to offer! Oh wow – half of my husband’s family lives in Sweet Home / Foster Lake area – we camp in our sister-in-law’s front yard just up the hill from those statues and have swam in the lake just down the road! There are some good free spots up the road, but I couldn’t tell you how to find them 🙄 Gorgeous footage of the ferns, slug & trees etc!

I live out here on the beautiful Oregon coast and a lot of the stuff I read in the comments section is just plain poo poo. come and enjoy the coast but please just pick up after your self. simple.

Nice camera work. The forest shows that life and death coexist in a balance.
Life, the ferns, the mushrooms, the fungus all emerging from decaying matter, a message for all to understand and see.

There’s no place like Oregon.. the roads aren’t for trailers …… Saddle Mountain road isn’t bad . I hike that mountain.

Wonderful and informative video, Slim. One thing you missed were the fabulous art deco bridges along the coast hiway. All built by one man: Conde McCullough, head of the Oregon highway department during the twenties and thirties. Still in good shape and considered to be masterpieces of engineering art by many.

Great video, as always. Plus, I love the music you chose for this video, so relaxing. Keep up the good work. With love from the UK.

Omg LMAO the statute of the 2 guys😂😂😂😂yes i was thanking it was something else😜omg i have such an R rated mind

WikiCamps is a great app for finding campsites both for pay or free. Lots of reviews, photos, etc to help one plan the next stop.

SP…as long as your not chasing rabbits or feeling 10 ft tall…your good!😉
The beach was beautiful. Your talent with camera angles…and obviously your camera equipment is top notch.
Ginseng season in Tn brings out some ahh…interesting characters! I'd rather be the guy holding his ax than the one leaning over! 😉 Lol Your humor is quite entertaining.😃
So enjoyable! Thanx for sharing.
Elvis fans! Haha! Better luck with camping ahead…

25 years ago I found eastern Washington very lacking in campgrounds or boondocking locations. Campgrounds marked on the map would have 5 or so sites and be occupied. Much of the land along the roads with clear cuts just beyond a hundred yards or so of trees. Sounds like things have not changed much. We never found places to boondock.

Saddle Mountain. My friend and I drove his sports car up and down that road at high speed several times one day. I guess it depends on what you are driving.

I really enjoyed this video. That is my teen years. Exploring the coastal mountains. Picking mushrooms for Halloween. Good times!

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