Go Rogue: Gold Beach OR Camping By The Rogue River (On A Budget)
Wanted: Oregon overnight. Southern Coast, Gold Beach Oregon camping. On a 62+ budget. Making the most of the NPS Senior Pass…
You’re road tripping way far south on the Oregon coast and found yourself in Gold Beach, or thereabouts. You have a mind to go on a jetboat up the Rogue River, do a little whale watching, see the sunset, eat oysters, take a long walk on the beach. You’d like to linger for a while, but where do you sleep without having to take out a mortgage on the mansion you just downsized from?
Many Gold Beach Oregon camping possibilities
You spot some luscious-looking private RV campgrounds while driving along the Pacific Coast Highway (101), and Oregon provides a generous smattering of state-run facilities that are downright fabulous, but…
Seriously? We get homework?
Yup! Dollars can get confusing when it comes to seniors calculating campground costs. There’s states, counties, municipal, private, federal, obscure federal…..
Bottom line? Private and state facilities tilt towards the spendy side of the campground spectrum. Sigh: they do have showers…
Anything easier on the wallet?
Hmmmm Federal campgrounds? Maybe the southern Oregon coast has a few?
A little research—Muddy Boots ruffles through prodigious memories and confirms with the Ultimate Public Campground App—and….
Mama Mía! Could you possibly fit any more campgrounds into one map square inch? The USFS (and BLM) has stuffed them into nooks and crannies far into roadless wilderness and deep up the river valleys inland from the southern Oregon coast.
Gold Beach Oregon camping here we come!
Rogue River Valley
Since we want Gold Beach, we’re talking the Rogue River valley. Yes, that Rogue River: Wild and Scenic, rafters paradise, Zane Grey’s cabin, Jerry’s Jetboats destination, and……onsite location for The River Wild. Meryl Streep rafted out of there a long time ago, but you get the idea.
Katherine Hepburn, John Wayne, and Rooster Cogburn? They ended their visit to the Rogue a half a century back. Shoot.
Aren’t some of those campgrounds a little wild? As in “Wild and Scenic”? No worries. We’ll go wild and scenic with a great breakfast place within a few miles. Easy on the trusty jalopy. Ideal.
USFS Quosatana Campground
Did you spell that right, Muddy Boots? Yes, sirreeee! Curiosity itch resolved:
“Quosatana: an Athapaskan word meaning ‘up on the rock, upon the rock, or on the rock’.” Quote from an Obscure document of the US Forest Service.
Quosatana campground is a gem, but the kind of place you have to know about in order to wind up there. Quosatana is up the Rogue River from Gold Beach, but not so far up that it will seem excessively remote. This one is more, well, conveniently remote. And unexpectedly popular at certain times of the year.
Fishermen like to come here, and jet boats full of tourists taking in the scenery zoom up and down the river several times a day.
Spend some time scanning the river for the abundant wildlife: Osprey, blue heron, bald eagles, black bear, river otter. If you fish, there’s salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon.
Here’s what the BLM says about your chances of seeing wildlife when you camp here:
The Rogue River is a spectacular wildlife viewing area. Opportunities abound to see bald eagles, golden eagles, ospreys, great blue herons, Canada geese, and a variety of ducks. You may see the speedy flight of a belted kingfisher and the dipping of the American dipper. In the water, look for salmon and steelhead, or the surprising leap of a sturgeon. Watch for playful river otters and mink. You may spot an orange-bellied, rough-skinned newt that is poisonous to any prey. On shore you may be visited by ground squirrels, raccoons, deer, and bears.
Meadows, Myrtle, and Oak
This campground doesn’t look quite like any other place Muddy Boots has spent the night. It’s not forested, not closed-in, not overgrown or overtrampled, and the spots aren’t “comfy-secluded”. Quosatana is spread out on a flat beside the river. It features a very large meadow, with most campsites in a grove of myrtle trees and oaks. Motorhomes frequently edge the meadow. There are deer wandering hither and yon.
Airy and pleasant
Quosatana has a very pleasant feel to it, perhaps because of it’s airiness and the spaciousness of being in a well-established myrtle grove with branches well off the ground.
This Oregon coast campground has a host—which means there’s a general air of respectful behavior—and it’s open year round. (There’s so much rain in this coastal area, though, it might not be your idea of a good time).
Aaaand….flush-toilets, folks, running water.
Lobster Creek Campground
Lobster Creek is a sand bar with a “campground” on top. Well more or less: Lobster Creek certainly doesn’t brim with amenities and periodically succumbs to the river, but on a seriously-dollar-challenged wallet, it’s an alternative to Quosatana. Right close by, too.
Flush toilets (woohoo!) but bring drinking water.
The next day, as you drive fully-rested along the Rogue River road back to Gold Beach, there’ll be a low-slung restaurant called Indian Creek Café: breakfast local style!
If you need a backup camping spot, Plan B for a night, or hookups, try the Indian Creek RV Park. Rates seem reasonable (and you’d get a shower).
Reminder for travel in this part of the west coast
If you’re into canyons and backroads,”adventuring” means keeping your gas tank at least 1/3 full at all times. There is often some distance between gas stations.
Also, carry a gallon of drinking water in the car and warmer clothes than you might anticipate, especially if you’re going Jetboating.
Other campgrounds within an hour’s drive:
Gold Beach Oregon Camping photo credits. Jerry’s Jet Boat: CC BY 2.0 by BLM via Flickr. Gold Beach Coast: Public Domain via Pixabay. Rogue River with morning clouds: CC BY 2.0 by BLM via Flickr. Oak grove: Public Domain via Pixabay. Bald eagle, Rogue River wildlife: CC BY 2.0 by BLM via Flickr. Deer, Rogue River wildlife: CC BY 2.0 by BLM via Flickr. River bar east of Gold Beach OR: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Ken Lund via Flickr.