The halfway point on the Oregon Coast is the Umpqua River. Everything north of the Umpqua River is considered the Oregon North Coast and everything south of the Umpqua river is considered the Oregon South Coast. We are staying at the Umpqua Dunes — Douglas County RV Park, just south of the Umpqua Dunes State Park at the mouth of the Umpqua River. The biggest difference between the Oregon North Coast and the Oregon South Coast is huge sand dunes on the Oregon North Coast, giving way to cliffs and shoreline rocks on the Oregon South Coast. The weather is nice, with the exception when a cold front came through. The next morning, the sky was back to blue and wind calm.
Umpqua Dunes — RV Park appears to be a conversion of a commercial operation to a county RV park. My guess is that it was a lease property that the county leased to the commercial operation and then decided that they could operate the park better. I don’t have facts to back up my guess other than a recent name change and current remodel, starting with a controlled burn of a structure, all to train firefighters. They have a three-phase plan that includes redoing the entire park. They plan to stay open during construction operating on reduced capacity. Any comments about its current condition won’t be the same after the reconstruction, so let me say it needs improvement. We are here in the offseason and there are lots of empty spaces. On a summer weekend, my bet is this place is packed.
So why do people, love this place? Sand and sand toys are the reason. I can’t believe the number of off-road, deep-sand vehicles that are in the park, and leave the park to explore the dunes on a daily basis.
Oregon State Parks has a campground less than a mile from here and Douglas County has three other RV parks within a mile; one campground is for sand-play, and two others closer to the Umpqua River (fishing). Plus there are about three other Commercial RV Parks within a couple of miles. RV camping is big in this area. If you drive upriver a few miles there is an elk preserve. The location is special; the campsite is not – unless you have sand toys. We stayed a few miles north of here, still close to the sand dunes last year.
Humbug Mountain State Park
Continuing south we are now at Humbug Mountain State Park. This place is everything that our last stop was not. Beautiful! It is tucked in a canyon well six miles away from the nearest town (Port Orford). At this location Highway 101 crosses Brush Creek, our campsite is next to the creek and from our campsite, we can walk to the beach, under the bridge. The path is too sandy for Mountain Bikes. It does have a little more noise than desired because it is right next to the highway. This would be perfect for travelers of the Oregon Coast (us).
This spot is a little dryer (not as rainy) and is a known warm spot on the Oregon coast. A little dryer is not evident in the park but you can tell because the views are not as blocked by the trees. I’m sure there is still plenty of rain in the winter. Overall so far, I like the southern Oregon coast better than the northern half.
In front of the RV, we have a two-acre grassy play area and a view of the tree-covered mountainside. We are as far west in the park as you can get, which means the path to the beach is right behind the RV.
I thought we might have had a view of the beach from our campsite, which was picked primarily because it has the most sunshine in the park, even though since we are in the canyon it is very restricted in the wintertime. I might pick a different site in the summer and there are many to choose from, all with full shade.
Humbug Mountain is so named because it was first found by the emigrants by an Army Captain who was lost at the time. The word humbug was slang for deception or false behavior but in this case was used to describe the mountain and forest because all indications were he was in the right place, with the exception that an 1800 foot mountain was clearly present in a location that it was not supposed to be. It is likely that he thought he was following Hubbard Creek to Port Orford and but was actually near Brush Creek so that when he got to the coast, he saw beach rather than Port Orford. Humbug!
Here is a link to the google map for the area.
Link to our 2019 Route
Link to our route Oregon and California Coast
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