Frequently Asked
Questions

Picnic area at Battle Mountain Forest State Scenic Corridor

General

How do I send you feedback and comments?

You can use our online comment form, contact us by e-mail, call us at 1-800-551-6949, or write:

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
725 Summer St NE, Suite C
Salem, OR 97301

When can I visit a park?

Most parks post hours at the entrance. Day-use parks are generally open from dawn to dusk. When the park is closed, you cannot enter or stay in the park.

Where can I swim?

Many state parks have access to lakes, reservoirs and rivers, and some have designated swim beaches. For a list, go to the Find a Park webpage and search for parks with boating or fishing. Individual park pages will list specific information. The Parks Guide also provides information on parks with swimming.

All swimming areas are unsupervised. You are responsible for your own safety. Before you enter the water, you should judge your swimming skills against possible strong currents, cold water, underwater objects and steep drop-offs. Remember: many of our natural bodies of water and man-made reservoirs are filled by snow runoff and remain cold year round. Please bring and wear a personal flotation device and swim with a buddy. 

How is Oregon State Parks responding to COVID-19?

Please see our COVID-19 Response web page for the latest information.

About Camping

What are the rules about noise?

Campground quiet hours are from 10 p.m.–7 a.m.

How many vehicles can I bring? How many people can stay at my campsite?

Usually, a maximum of eight campers are allowed per site. Some sites permit only 6 people per site. Yurts and cabins hold five to eight people, depending on the location. The park manager has the final say. 

Some campgrounds allow extra vehicles at each campsite. Some allow extra vehicle parking only in overflow areas. Check with campground staff before you park an extra vehicle at your site—a $7 extra vehicle fee for campers may apply . What's an extra vehicle? In addition to the car or RV you drive into the park, you may tow one additional car or truck at no charge. If you drive an additional vehicle, the $7  fee kicks in.

Campers arriving on motorcycles are allowed two motorcycles per campsite. The $7 extra vehicle fee applies to a third motorcycle.

Where can I build a campfire?

Campfires are allowed only in park-provided fire rings or fireplaces, and those portions of the beach where fires are allowed. Beach fires are only allowed in dry, open sand away from grass and driftwood. Valve-operated, portable propane stoves may be used only in established campsites, picnic areas and designated beaches where fires are allowed. Additional fire restrictions may be in place, and some parks ban campfires and other wildfire hazards nearly every summer. Watch for signs and go to the webpage of the park you plan to visit for current information.

Can I bring in my own firewood?

Please protect the Pacific Northwest from invasive species by getting your firewood at the campground, or close to it. Firewood can carry insects and diseases that threaten the health of our western forests. You can make a difference. For more information, visit dontmovefirewood.org.

How do I make or cancel a reservation?

Go to reservations for all the info you need.

Who can reserve and rent a campsite?

You must be 18 years old or older to reserve or rent campsites, cabins, yurts or other overnight facilities. The registered camper is responsible for the activities of everyone at the site.

What are the campsite types and how are they equipped?

There are six basic types of campsites:

  • Full hookup sites: sewer, electricity and water; paved parking area adjacent to site.
  • Electrical sites: electricity and water; paved parking adjacent to site.
  • Tent sites: no utilities, but water at or near the site; paved parking adjacent to site. Note: tent campers can camp in any site type.
  • Primitive sites: no hookups; one water source may serve multiple sites in natural, cleared setting; no paved parking at most sites. Showers may be available in another area of a campground having other types of sites or at another nearby park.
  • Hiker-biker sites: Area set aside for people who bicycle or walk into a park. No space available to park vehicles. Vehicles are not permitted when using a hiker/biker site. Some have charging stations for electronic devices -- check ahead. No hookups. Most have access to showers. 
  • Horse sites: No utilities (except Stub Stewart State Park); corrals nearby for horses (single, double, or quad units, depending on campground).

Campsites have a picnic table and fire ring. 

What are check-in/check-out times?

Check-in for campsites, yurts, cabins and tepees is 4 p.m. Check-out is 1 p.m.

How long are the sites?

Most campgrounds can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet in length, but site lengths vary greatly, even within the same park. Remember that you must also be able to fit your tow vehicle onto the paved driveway. Let’s say your RV is 25 feet long and you’re towing it with a 22-foot vehicle. You will need a site at least 47 feet long.

Site lengths are listed on the individual park pages at reserveamerica.com.

Check with Information Center, 800-551-6949, for more information.

What is hiker/biker camping?

Many state parks offer camping areas for campers hiking or bicycling into the park (without motor vehicle support). An overnight stay is $7 - $8 per person and the maximum stay is 3 consecutive days in a 7-day period, per campground (except for Harris Beach State Park, which allows 3 days in a 14-day period). The camping areas are first-come, first-served and usually include shared fire rings and picnic tables. Water and restrooms may be some distance away. See Find A Park to search for parks with hiker/biker areas.

How long can I stay in a campground?

You can stay 14 consecutive nights in a regular campsite, yurt or cabin in a single campground, and may return after spending at least three nights out of the park (it can be another state park campground; in fact, we recommend you DO select another state park campground). The maximum time allowed within any campground is 14 nights within any 17-night period. The maximum stay for hiker/biker sites is 3 consecutive days in a 7 day period, per campground.

What's Allowed

Can I collect plants, minerals or animals in a park?

Plant life and natural resources may not be picked, cut, removed or mutilated. However, visitors may gather for personal consumption berries, fruits, mushrooms, or similar edibles in quantities not to exceed five gallons per person per day. No harvesting is allowed in the formal garden area of Shore Acres or any other area posted with restrictions. Some parks may restrict harvest in overnight camp areas and other park areas.

Can I bring fireworks into a park or on the Ocean Shore Recreation Area?

No. Explosives, fireworks or other substances that could cause harm are not allowed in state parks or the beach.

Can I use my metal detector in a park?

Metal detecting without a permit is allowed in specific areas of some state parks and the ocean shore. See the list.  Areas not on the list may be open to metal detecting with a permit. Some areas are unstaffed, so call 1-800-551-6949, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday to find the nearest park office.

Can I drink alcohol in state parks?

You may bring alcohol to parks, except where specifically banned. Some parks require written approval from the park manager. For information, call the park directly, or call the Information Center at 800-551-6949. And of course, no one younger than 21 can possess or drink an alcoholic beverage. 

Can I dig for artifacts and fossils in a park?

No.

Can I smoke tobacco in a state park?

Smoking is allowed only in personal vehicles, RVs, campsites and portions of day use parks along state highways that are designated as safety rest areas by the Oregon Department of Transportation. For more information, read our smoking frequently asked questions.

Can I use recreational marijuana in Oregon State Parks?

No, the statute that legalized recreational marijuana specifically lists parks as a public place where it is illegal to use marijuana.  More information on recreational marijuana in Oregon can be found at whatslegaloregon.com

Can I ride my E-bike in a state park?

Electric assisted bicycles that fit the definition under Oregon law (ORS 801.258) may ride on bicycle trails 8 feet and wider unless otherwise marked. If you have a need for an electric assisted bicycle as a mobility assistance device for a disability, call the park directly or call the Information Center at 800-551-6949 about options for riding on additional trails. 

Can I operate a drone in a state park?

Yes, sometimes. There are no state park rules that specifically prohibit anyone from flying a drone in an Oregon state park. There are some limits, though, and we encourage you to visit our Operating Drones in  State Parks web page for current information.

Animals

Are dogs allowed in state parks?

Yes. Dogs and other domestic animals are allowed in all parks except Dabney State Recreation Area in the Gorge or on the Canyon Trail at Silver Falls State Park. 

Pets must be physically restrained, meaning you must be holding them, holding onto their collar, or have them on a leash no longer than six feet. Exceptions:

  • in a designated off-leash area;
  • inside your vehicle, tent, or pet-friendly yurt or cabin.

Leashing your pets prevents them from tangling with wild animals or other people’s pets, getting lost, ransacking campground garbage, damaging plant life, or being hit by a car. It also avoids a citation!

You're responsible for picking up after your pets and to keeping them quiet during quiet hours (10 p.m.- 7 a.m.). Thank you for keeping our parks clean and doodie free! 

You can find more info at bit.ly/pawsitiveORparks.

Are dogs allowed on the beach?

Generally, yes. Dogs and other domestic animals are welcome on most ocean beaches; however they must be leashed if you are within the boundaries of a state park. Beyond those areas, leashes are not required, although you must carry a leash with you at all times and your dog must be under direct control (within sight and responsive to commands). If you choose to allow your dogs to run free on the ocean shores, you are still responsible for their behavior so please make sure they are not interfering with others’ recreational enjoyment or harassing seabirds or other wildlife.

Dogs are not permitted on some beaches or at certain times of the year (even on a leash) to protect wildlife, such as western snowy plovers. Snowy plover nesting areas are restricted areas from March 15-September 15. Look for restricted beach access information at bit.ly/wsplover. Follow rules posted at beach accesses and signs posted in the sand.

Is my service animal welcome in all buildings?

Yes. Service animals are permitted in all areas where campers are allowed. In keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as a dog that is trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. (Providing emotional support or deterring crime are not considered qualifying tasks.) Except under special conditions, service animals must also be restrained while in state parks.

What should I do if I encounter a wild animal?

When you visit a state park, you are sharing the space with wild animals like black bears, cougars and coyotes. They are not domesticated, and are focused on their survival. When they see a human, they are considering:

  1. Will the human harm me or my offspring?
  2. Is the human a threat to my territory?
  3. Will the human feed me?

If you face a black bear, cougar or coyote:

  • Maintain eye contact with bears and cougars. This is a direct threat to the animals and keeps you focused.
  • Do not maintain eye contact with coyotes.
  • Pick up any children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the animal.
  • Back away slowly. DO NOT RUN.
  • Raise your voice and speak firmly. The words do not matter; the tone and volume do.
  • Raise your arms to make yourself look large and clap your hands.
  • If the animal leaves, DO NOT RUN. Remain alert and continue to the exit area.

Watch the animal for signs it may attack:

  • Direct eye contact
  • Lowered head
  • Frozen
  • Slow movements toward you
  • If the animal feels threatened, it will growl, hiss, snap or pop its jaws, and make itself look larger. A bear may stand up; a cougar or coyote will lift its fur.
  • In the rare event that the animal attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks or anything else available.
How can I prevent encounters with dangerous animals?
  • Keep a clean camp. Do not leave food items out on picnic tables or at the campsite, unless you are actively cooking or eating.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep your ears open; avoid listening to music.
  • Avoid hiking alone at dusk and dawn.
  • Keep dogs on a leash. Dogs running free may lead an animal back to you.
  • Do not approach wildlife.
  • Carry a deterrent to spray, like bear spray, and practice using it in advance.
  • Hike in groups. Make noise to alert wildlife of your presence.
  • Never feed any wildlife, even seemingly harmless animals. They are food for larger animals —pray attract predators.
Where can I visit with my horse?

Horses are allowed in areas designated for horse camping and trail riding, including beaches open for horse riding. Horses are not permitted in main overnight campgrounds, developed day-use areas or any other area not designated for horses. Visit our Find-a-Park webpage to find horse-friendly state parks and beaches.

Discounts

Who gets discounts?

Those eligible for discounts

We do not have special rates for any other demographic group, such as seniors.

Day use/Special Events

Where can I buy a day-use parking permit or gift certificate?

Day-use parking permits are needed at 25 parks. They’re are available by phone at (800) 551-6949, and from state park offices and vendors statewide. You can buy a 12-month permit, a 24-month permit or a one-day permit.  More info at day-use parking permits

An Oregon State Parks gift certificate is a perfect present. Gift certificates are available from the State Park Information Center, 800-551-6949. Visa and MasterCard are accepted.

I want to have an event or wedding in a park or on the beach. What do I need to do?

Call the park (or the nearest park to the beach location) to discuss your plans, possible permits, fees and insurance requirements. You may also call the Information Line at 800-551-6949 and ask for the phone number of the nearest park. Depending on the event, you may need a special use permit for non-traditional activities. A non-traditional activity is an activity, gathering or use of park properties, ocean shore or other recreational area that is not defined in park area rules and regulations. Some examples are:

  • group gatherings such as weddings, company picnics, tournaments, and contests;
  • commercial filming;
  • short/long-term rental of property and structures;
  • construction activities and placement of utilities;
  • educational and scientific projects;
  • sales of goods and services by vendors, concessionaires and other businesses.
What about hunting?

Some parks or areas within parks do allow hunting. Call the park that you are interested in, or call the Information Center at 800-551-6949.

Do you have wi-fi in any of your parks?

Wi-fi is not available in Oregon State Parks.  However, many communities have merchants and public buildings with the service.

Some parks are open for day-use and camping, with reduced services. Check the Park Status Map and FAQ for details. Campfire restrictions may be in place.