Memaloose State Park Campground is located on the Columbia River Gorge, about halfway between Portland and The Dalles, along I-84. It’s perhaps one of Oregon’s busiest state campgrounds.
I arrived Sunday, September 2, 2018, on a Labor Day Weekend. I was fortunate to find the last remaining campsite, for just this night, on the state’s online reservation system, and decided to take it.
As expected, it was busy. Pretty much, the campground is overrun with families and kids, including the younger, screaming kind who find it miserable to sleep in tents, and are not shy about letting the entire campground know. Moreover, the roadways within the campground are extremely narrow, so narrow that your trailer will never remain on the pavement and will often pull over the grassy/dirt areas. And that itself isn’t bad, however many of campsites aren’t long enough to accommodate both truck and trailer, hence many trucks are parked slightly into the roadway.
Also, the campsites packed together tight, leaving very little room for your camp and campfire. Don’t worry, there’s still enough room to extend your slideouts, but you may end up learning more about your neighbors than you care to.
At $31.00 a night (plus an $8.00 online booking fee), it’s not a cheap campground. But, you get 30 AMP electrical, along with water and sewer hookups. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring.
Not all sites have views of the Columbia River, but there are several that do. Be sure to look at the campground map before booking to find a site with a good view. Moreover, there is no river access from the campground. In fact, there is a railroad track that separates the campground from the river, and the tracks are fenced off.
There are no hiking trails at Memaloose State Park Campground. However, there are hiking trails directly across I-84, but there is no way to safely cross over. About all you can do at the campground is just sit at your campsite, burn some wood, burn some meat, and play with your kids.
Another big issue with Memaloose State Park Campground is the entry to and exit from. You can only enter from westbound I-84, and you can only exit to westbound I-84. There is no eastbound entry or exit. Hence, if you’re coming the Portland area, you have drive past the campground along I-84, take an exit and then comeback west to get in.
Verizon 4G signal came in pretty strong for me, 4 out of 5 bars, unboosted.
If having access to full hookups for your RV is important, perhaps Memaloose is still better, and a little cheaper, than staying in private RV parks. Certainly, there’s plenty of shade trees here. But the restricted access to and from I-84 make it cumbersome for a quick run to the store. Moreover, the lack of activities means you’re largely stuck at your campsite. For us at Road Pickle, it’s a decent overnight stay, and that’s about all its good for.