Eight miles northeast of Brookings, Oregon near the southern Oregon Coast and the California border, you'll find a peaceful retreat from the world at Alfred A. Loeb State Park. It's nestled in a myrtlewood grove with some trees well over 200 years old. The Chetco River flows along the southeast edge of the park, offering boating and fishing recreation opportunities.
If you have an RV, there are 48 campsites with electric and water to pull into on a first-come, first-served basis. Of course, the sites can accommodate tent campers too. Summertime finds the campground pretty full, especially on weekends.
My wife and I have tent camped for many years or even just slept in the open air. We were campground hosts for six months at Alpine Divide in the White Mountains of Arizona and stayed in a 10-man tent, with a camping gazebo over the picnic table for our kitchen. We're no strangers to "roughing it."
But as we get older, we prefer to spend our vacation time enjoying our surroundings instead of enduring the camping discomforts and inconveniences. The Oregon State Parks System has some of the nicest and best maintained parks you'll find in the country. Many Oregon State campgrounds offer rustic yurts and cabins to stay in. Alfred A. Loeb State Park has three rustic cabins available for visitors.
The single-room cabin has a table, chairs, lights, electricity, heat, and windows you can open. A futon opens into a bed. A bed frame can sleep two below and one above. You'll need to bring your own bedding. The front deck has a bench and plenty of room to sit under shelter should rain intrude. There's even an outside outlet. All three cabins face the Chetco River and are situated so that your privacy is maintained at each site.
I'm not ashamed to say that I set up our camping table outside and plugged in the Mr. Coffee machine to make fresh brewed coffee in the morning. The NuWave Induction Cooktop helped to prepare a delicious dinner and breakfast outdoors, as you can't cook inside a cabin or yurt.
Camping isn't complete without a campfire. Growing up, my brothers and I would collect downed twigs and branches to provide wood for a fire. Today, you buy campfire wood from a host for around $5 a bundle. Our preference is to hook up a Camp Chef Portable Fire Ring to a propane tank. The fire lights instantly, the heat is soothing and adjustable, your clothes and hair don't smell like smoke, and a flick of the switch shuts the fire off. Even better, you can have the same campfire on your covered back porch in the middle of the winter.
The Chetco River, a designated Wild and Scenic River, is just a short walk away across a bed of river stones to provide another respite from day-to-day life back home. Salmon return to spawn and trout swim the waters, making this river a fishing destination.
A sign in the day use area informs visitors about the myrtlewood grove. The first park land was acquired by gift from the State Board of Forestry in 1958. It was a tract of 160 acres that had been purchased in 1948 by the Board of Forestry and Save the Myrtle Woods,Inc. from Alfred A. Loeb.
Stroll through the day use area and you'll come across the entrance to the River View Trail. It's a mostly level path beside the Chetco River through a myrtlewood and Oregon coastal forest. You'll likely be the only one on the trail, depending on the time of day.
One of the northermost groves of redwoods is a short distance away from the Park on the Redwood Nature Trail. You can reach the trailhead via the River View Trail or drive the short distance to the signed entrance. You can hike a 1.2 mile loop trail and touch redwood bark that is several hundred years old. The trail is wide and clear, but steep in places. I watched hikers retreat as I walked the circuit.
Alfred A. Loeb State Park has three restrooms for its visitors. The day use area has two pit toilets. Nearby is a campground restroom with two flush toilets and hot water. The main restroom has flush toilets, hot water, and hot showers for campers.
So how much can you pay for this southern Oregon Coast adventure? I read travel magazines and the cost is $200+ for this kind of experience. Can you handle $42 per night plus an $8 reservation fee? Word of warning, Oregonians know about special places. Oregon State Parks yurts and cabins can be booked up to nine months in advance. Plan accordingly.