This is one of the first years I have been out camping on Memorial Day in a very long time. Some friends invited us to join them for the weekend on the Rogue River and as I love that part of Oregon a great deal, I cleared everything so we could make sure to be there. We had plans to visit Crater Lake, do some hiking and fishing, riding bikes, and panning for gold.
When my friend told me they were staying at Farewell Bend Campground I immediately thought we were headed out east to Farewell Bend State Park, but as the pioneer’s world was smaller than ours today, we have a couple of Farewell Bends in our great state. In fact Bend, Oregon was originally Farewell Bend too! The Farewell Bend we went to is just east of the small town of Prospect, Oregon. The campground is about 57 miles northeast of Medford. Coming from Portland, and depending on which way you go the trip will take 4.5-5 hours. We decided to follow Waze and went down I-5, cut over Hwy 58 (Willamette Pass) and followed hwys 97, 138 and then 230. I liked this better than the mind-numbing drive of I-5 and it allows us to see more of our state and the small towns that dot our highways.
The campground is right along the Rogue River and is a very popular with folks heading to Crater Lake. We stayed at the nearby Joseph Stewart State Park in the past, which was also great. This campground is closer to the national park and mainly popular hiking trails as well as the Rogue River Gorge which is incredible to see. We took an afternoon up there hiking around and exploring, picnicking at the lodge and staring in wondering at the glassy waters and the sun shine. It really was such a beautiful day.
We were in site 35 and our friends were in 36. These two spots were pretty snug when it comes to parking, but if you are camping with friends it is perfect and the communal spots are large. Most of the spots were very roomy and we knew this was going to be the case and were perfectly fine with it. We were backed up to the river and could hear it running through the night which was really lovely. The campground has a lot of mature trees and the undergrowth is filled in well providing some great privacy. There were a lot of RVs and trailers there and certain times of day provided a chorus or generators. Just be ready for that.
The campground is a medium sized campground that has 61 sites for RVs or tents. Each site has a picnic table and fire-ring. There is an amazing play area for kids with a forested path in and fun logs to jump on and climb, bars to hang from and a fort to survey claim as their own. The kids spent a lot of time here and deemed it one of the best play areas they have seen at a campground. We were lucky to be surrounded by lots of families and there was never a moment when my son said “I’m bored!” There was always a friend to play with. Roads are paved and kids loved biking all day too. The campground has hosts who came by and introduced themselves. The restrooms have flushies and sinks and were very clean.
There are no showers at the campground, and the river was very cold and fast in the camp area (we were here at the end of May and snow melt is racing down the river) so we were not allowing the kids in the water. The other thing is we are just up stream from the Gorge area and that is a very dangerous area. We just wanted to play it safe. Other times of year might provide a better swimming conditions in this area (please use caution and your own judgement as swimming in the rivers carry lots of risk and people die every year). One thought I had was the possibility of a dip in the river further down stream. If you follow the Rogue Gorge Trail down stream from the campground (there is a trailhead at the west end of the campground) about 1.25 miles there is a little area with a sandy area and calmer waters where swimming would be more feasible. In the summer when water levels drop a bit and the water warms up I was imagining this being a place we could have a little dip on a hot day.
We loved camping here and it is a place we will definitely come back to. We highly recommend it. Reservations are accepted at the link above.