Flickr album link: Birdtrack Springs Campground
Visiting the La Grande region of Oregon during the autumn season is something that is mostly done by hunters and fly fishermen, since the peak summer tourism season has already wound down. For those who have never camped during hunting season, it is not like there is a mass stampede of heavily armed predators taking potshots everywhere in the woods. In fact, one would be lucky to find one or two hunting parties at any given national forest campground, so there is plenty of peaceful breathing room to be found.
On the other hand, the weather can be something to reckon with this time of year, especially in the deep forests of the northwest. Drizzling rain can be expected, while the chilly nights yield heavy wet condensation at dawn. Keeping a campfire going all day or using a tent heater will be necessary for keeping things dry. For those who are just passing through, getting an early start will mean packing damp camping gear that the car heater will have to dry out. Wet conditions can definitely be expected, especially in the Umatilla and Wallowa Whitman National Forests, so the better you plan for it, the less painful the experience will be.
Birdtrack Springs is one of three roadside campgrounds along Highway 244 near Hilgard Junction, Oregon. Just like the name suggests, this is an excellent campground for bird watchers and wildlife viewers, since most of the underbrush has been cleared in this part of the pine woods. Foot trails run along the banks of the Grande Ronde River, which is a picturesque sight to see. Trout fishing is recommended, but boating in this section of the waterway is restricted due to hazardous conditions. The campground has 22 campsites with a few pads that can accommodate small trailers or RV campers, but most of the campsites are better suited for tent campers. The Birdtrack Springs Campground is equipped with basic facilities, picnic tables and chargrill pits, but there is no drinking water. As can be seen in the photos, wet conditions can be expected during autumn, so be sure to pack the appropriate gear!
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