Dispersed Camping

Many people enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of camping away from developed campgrounds and other campers. "Dispersed camping" is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest outside of a designated campground, and is generally allowed anywhere except within 100 feet of a lake, trail, or stream or where posted as closed. Generally, there is a 14 DAY PER TWO MONTH STAY LIMIT (14 days in a 60-day period) on the Willamette National Forest. Establishing residency is against federal regulation.

Dispersed camping may mean no toilet facilities or treated water are located nearby, and no fire grates are provided. Typically, dispersed camping is not allowed near developed recreation areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas or trailheads. Many people drive out on Forest Service roads into the woods and find a clearing or a spot near a stream or with a view of the mountains.

Areas Closed to Dispersed Camping

Camping Restrictions Detroit & Sweet Home Ranger Districts – Forest Order 06-18-04-17-03
Certain areas in the Detroit and Sweet Home Ranger Districts are closed to dispersed camping in order to encourage day use and other activities, while reducing resource concerns with water quality, soil compaction, vegetation loss, litter and public health and safety. Areas with restrictions include Elk Lake, French Creek Road, Breitenbush Road, Blowout Road, Moose Creek Area, and Gordon Road.

Camping Restrictions in the Detroit Ranger District - Order 18-2013-04-04
Places camping restrictions on areas within the Breitenbush Corridor, French Creek Corridor, Tumble Creek Trail (Detroit Lake) #3380, Blowout Road Corridor, Suspension Bridge Trail #3426, Little North Santiam Trail (East) #3338, Cleator Bend Area.

Camping Restrictions Detroit Lake/Detroit Flats Area – Forest Order 18-2015-04-02
This order places camping restrictions Detroit Lake/Detroit Flats Area.

Camping Restrictions in Cougar Recreation Area – Forest Order 18-2013-01-03
In order to preserve the special quality of this popular and high use area, this order limits camping to developed campgrounds in the Cougar Recreation Area and Lower McKenzie River Trailhead.

Dispersed Camping Areas

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Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities