Bates State Park

Above Photo: A view from the remaining upper pond at Bates State Park. The lower pond was filled in when the lumber mill was demolished.

Bates State Park We were the only ones in this State Park. We were wondering about the ghosts left behind from this once-thriving lumber mill & town. When they closed down, everything was removed.

Bates State Park - state park, near Praire City, OR: Site #27 (28 RV sites total) - This site has water nearby. Campground Notes: vault toilets • lake/river access • trails from campground • trails nearby • 4125’ elevation. May 6th - 8th. Miles drove: 177.
• Quite.
• Well maintained.
• Interpretive signs explaining the area's history.
• Reservations not accepted.
• No dump station.

Overall Experience: Smile

"Bates was once a company town supporting a lumber mill. The mill thrived from 1917 through the 1960s. During the mill’s peak production, up to 400 workers and their families lived in company-provided homes. But technology and the times caught up with the mill, and it was replaced in 1975 by a modern sawmill in John Day."

Located near the junction of U.S. 26 and Oregon 7, Bates State Park is a hidden gem in eastern Oregon's beautiful natural landscape. Spanning 131 acres, this park sits along the Middle Fork John Day River, Bridge Creek, and Clear Creek, offering plenty of chances for fishing, hiking, and exploration.

A Campground for Every Camper

The main highlight of Bates State Park is its well-equipped campground. With 35 campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis from May through October, it's the perfect place to set up camp and enjoy the outdoors. Here's what you can expect at the campground:

  • A variety of sites to choose from, including ones with electrical hookups
  • Several tent-only sites for those who prefer a more traditional camping experience
  • Amenities such as picnic shelters, tables, and interpretive panels that share interesting facts about the area's history and natural wonders

Exploring Beyond the Park

If you're looking for even more adventure, Bates State Park is conveniently located near two wilderness areas: Strawberry Mountain and Monument Rock. These expansive and untouched landscapes are ideal for:

  • Exploring miles of scenic hiking trails
  • Spotting diverse wildlife in their natural habitat
  • Disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of everyday life

Discovering Austin: A Quaint Town Nearby

Just a short distance from the park lies Austin, Oregon – a charming town that welcomes visitors with open arms. Here are some highlights of this small community:

  • The Austin House: Step back in time at this historic building turned museum. Learn about the early settlers of the area, their struggles, and their resourcefulness in adapting to this rugged environment.
  • Local Businesses: Austin is home to a few establishments catering to outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Whether you're craving a hearty meal at a cozy café or in need of gear from an outfitter, you'll find what you need here.

Nature's Treasures

The Middle Fork John Day River is a must-visit. It offers excellent fishing opportunities, with various trout species and other fish. Bates State Park has trails that lead to breathtaking views and potential wildlife sightings.

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