L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park (Banks)


This is probably the closest State Park to Portland. It is just 31 miles away, which makes it really easy to escape to.  The drive is pretty, once you get outside of Hillsboro (make sure to pack your patience for traffic on Hwy 26!).

We were invited to join some friends for a weekend of camping.  They were heading out for OMSI’s Star Party, which is an organized event where folks come out to areas not as affected by the light pollution in the city, and look at the stars.  Unfortunately, we were not so lucky with the weather, but tried to make the most of it…it turned out to be wet!

The sites, themselves, are big. They are mostly gravel, with a fire pit, picnic table and the sites come with electricity and water. They seem close, but they are roomier than other places we have stayed. It is a relatively new State Park, and all of the plantings are starting to get bigger, but need more time to mature. Eventually, they will provide some better privacy.  We had a really lovely view of a meadow and the hills to the back of our site.

Each loop has a bathroom building with flushies, sinks and showers. They are new and clean. Each loop also has their own Camp Host. Park Rangers drive around checking in on folks and letting them know about different programs and hikes they have scheduled. They even mentioned that they are working on special programs for kids. The loop we were in also had a play structure, which was really fun (during dry spells!).

The park boasts lots of hiking and biking trails. There are also horse trails and horse camping. Their visitor’s center is interesting and teaches you about different animals in the area. They have a very interesting selection of bird houses made out of old cowboy boots that were fun too.  The Rangers in the visitor’s center were very helpful and informative.

We would like to go back though and explore some more. Laddy is close to being able to ride a 2-wheeler, and I think those bike trails would be fun for us to take. I would recommend camping here, especially if you are looking for something really near Portland.

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