The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is the prime attraction in this part of Oregon during the spring and autumn migration seasons. Wildlife photographers and bird watchers certainly are drawn to this place where the mountain streams flow into wetlands at the north end of the Great Basin Desert. This is a very remote area and modern accommodations are not exactly abundant, so camping is the best choice. Fortunately, the neighboring Malheur National Forest has plenty to offer and this is quite a nice place to be during late summer!
The Malheur National Forest is located just a short distance north of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, so this is a good spot to setup a basecamp for adventures in this region. Fall is the deer and elk rutting season, so the National Forests are where groups of hunters tend to gather for annual ventures. These kind of campers prefer the dispersed camping areas where there is more space for RVs and trailers. What this means is the National Forest developed campsites that cost money are nearly empty most days during the autumn season, which is like music to the ears of the bird watchers.
The Malheur National Forest is a prime time summer destination in its own right, especially for those who want to avoid the big crowds of mainstream tourists in the National Parks. This region is where the forested mountains and rolling hills meet the desert, so it truly is an interesting environment to explore. Everything from mountain biking and fly fishing to gem collecting and OHV trail riding can be done in this vast forest. Of course, plain old goofing off at the campsite is part of the program too, which is as traditional as it gets!
Heading further north into the Malheur National Forest on Road 62 is where the Crescent Campground can be found at the base of Lookout Mountain. This area actually is a deep old growth rainforest, which is a stark contrast to the National Wildlife Refuge on the edge of the desert. The Crescent Campground is a deep woods environment and the moss hanging from the trees creates an ominous visual effect. Firewood is often stacked at the campsites and there are fire rings. The towering fir trees provide plenty of shade and there is a stream that runs through the campground. Picnic tables are located in cozy spots and there are old fashioned facilities on site, so camping a few days here will be a comfortable experience.
As can be seen in the photos, the Crescent Campground definitely offers a deep mountain rainforest experience during late summer and autumn. It pays to be prepared for wet weather during the venture, because drizzling light rain for days at a time can be expected. With rain comes plentiful food in the woods for wild animals, so Bear Safe food storage is necessary in this area. The Crescent Campground certainly is deep woods Oregon Bigfoot country at its best, so be sure to save some good campfire stories for after dark!
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