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Thread: Brownlee Dam Campground, Hells Canyon

  1. #1
    RIP - 3/20/2011 Alan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Ottawa Lake, MI

    Brownlee Dam Campground, Hells Canyon

    I spent an afternoon and a night in the Brownlee Dam Campground down inside of Hells Canyon on the NE Oregon/Idaho border. This campground is run by the power company that owns the dam! Even though the campground is privately owned, it is open to all. I had come from the east on RT 71 in Idaho and it wasn't until after I had labeled my pictures that I discovered that Brownlee Dam is actually in Oregon. So the labels have the wrong state, but only by a couple of miles.

    The road in is very interesting and clings to the wall of the canyon, so I took it easy and enjoyed the ride down to the bottom of the canyon. For an official overview of Hells Canyon, go here:

    The road into the camp and inside of the campground is crushed rock, not bad, but I am uncomfortable riding my ST1300 on crushed rock. I survived the road without any problems and had plenty of sites available to pick from. The sites are all the same and lined up in a row side by side. In the background of picture #45 you can just see the shower and restroom facility. The daily fee two years ago was $7.00. This campground is nice and clean but boring unless you are a fisherman. Most of the campers are there for the fishing at the dam. I was just looking for a place to spend the night so felt it was a reasonable place to camp. I don't remember the exact temperature at the campground, but it was hot during the afternoon.

    I left real early the following morning, I run on eastern time, so when I'm out west, I tend to leave campgrounds between 5 and 6 AM local time. Usually everyone else in the campground is still sleeping. The neat thing about leaving early is I sometimes get to see some interesting wildlife. About 10 minutes after leaving the Brownlee Dam campsite, I came across a Rocky Mountain goat standing the the middle of the road looking at me. The ride out of Hells Canyon on RT 86 to Baker City was interesting. Besides the road climbing up the wall of the canyon, I came across a Mormon Cricket migration crossing the road. This was the first time I had seen such a thing and there were 10's of thousands of these big bugs walking or hopping across the road. At times the road was so slimey with smashed Mormon Crickets that I slowed way down for fear of losing the bike. An almost surreal experience.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Al's June 2004 Trip, Hells Canyon, Idaho 045.jpg   Al's June 2004 Trip, Hells Canyon 048.jpg   Al's June 2004 Trip, Hells Canyon 049.jpg   Al's June 2004 Trip, Hells Canyon 050.jpg   Al's June 2004 Trip, Hells Canyon 047.jpg  

    Last edited by Mellow; 04-19-2006 at 08:34 PM.

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  2. #2

    Re: Brownlee Dam Campground, Hells Canyon

    I think I stayed at the same campground a couple of weeks ago. I believe it was called Copperfield campground. Anyway, like Alan said, it is owned by the Idaho Power company and they seem to keep it up really well. The price has gone up to 10 or 11 dollars and they have really nice amenities. Drinking fountains, free showers (if camping) and grass tent spots. I stayed on the weekend and it was PACKED (only real drawback). I think I got the last tent spot.

    The roads are now paved also.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails hells canyon.jpg  

  3. #3
    just another Saddle Tramp Dusty Boots's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    SW Ontario

    Re: Brownlee Dam Campground, Hells Canyon

    Actually, .... there are 4 different developed campgrounds and 1 undeveloped campground along the Snake River in Hells Canyon proper, none of them named Brownlee Campground.

    When travelling south to north along the Snake, the 1st one you come to is called Woodhead Park

    The next one you come to (on the east side of the river) is called McCormick Park, which I believe is the one you stayed at Alan

    Crossing over the river by Brownlee Dam and heading north again, you'll soon come to an undeveloped camping spot by the name of Carters Landing.

    Continuing on, just downstream of the Oxbow Dam, is another campground called Copperfield Park.

    Finally, the furthest north campground, which is located on the Idaho side of the Snake River, is called Hells canyon Park.

    Ken - 1992 Honda GL1500 Aspencade 2013 Victory Cross Country Tour
    Camping Styles - tent camp off of bike - 2013 HF Cargo trailer - 2011 Aspen Sentry
    "It's never too early to plan and never too late to go!" - Dusty

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