“Nature's splendor preserved like before they chopped down most of Oregon...”
The campground itself, and the hike across the street, are all virgin old growth. Mostly Doug-firs but lots of red alder, vine & bigleaf maples. Everything is covered in moss. The south fork of the McKenzie River flows through it all, and it is exactly my idea of paradise.
If you despise giant spaces, and don't want to be near the river, then choose spot #9. You'll just barely fit your bicycle in there. Otherwise, all of the other sites are massive, #6 was where our pals (old chums, you know, buddy-buddy) stayed and though the site itself was as large as a rock star's ego, even better was the trail leading back to a secondary, secret fire pit near the river which was absolutely secluded.
If you've got a rather small camper, maybe a 16' or a campervan, you could theoretically stay across the street in the parking lot (each parking space is divided by trees and some have fire pits) due to the lack of "no camping" signs (and the trail itself serves as access to hike in camping). That would run you a total of FREE every night, whereas this official French Pete NF campground is $16 / night.
Nearby Terwilliger Hot Springs was nice, and the Cougar Reservoir was gorgeous even as dams go...
The only problem here was the campground host, who has been at it for years and is likely not going anywhere, was completely over the top.
We had several encounters with him. Once when our van was 2 inches past the "pole". What is the pole? Well, it's a piece of wood in the ground showing your site number. And if you're even 2" past it after parking, you will be informed about the hell that is about to all rain down on you by everyone from the national forest service to theoretical 5th wheel owners to the good Lord himself.
Didn't pay your site fee within 7 minutes? Bam, another lecture.
Finally got your van behind the pole, well that will only warrant you a 30 minute conversation about the other possible places you could park it if you can't get your van behind the pole, but even though you have let's still discuss it for awhile just in case you want to know all of the options but don't worry you're fine but just in case, well...
He also watches over the hot springs, which people trash often I guess. He's much nicer when he's the hot springs overseer than the campground host.
Did I mention I love this place to high heaven though? Because--despite Mr. Campground--I do, and would come back a million times.
There is no cell service, but if you drive back to the main road, near Delta Campground, you can get service. The nearby town of Rainbow has a store with everything you'd typically need, and a bar/restaurant and a bike shop make up the rest of town.
Nathan @ Wand'rly would stay here again
This review is the opinion of a Campendium member and not of Campendium.com