Paradise is a fitting name for this Willamette National Forest campground nestled in an old-growth douglas fir forest just off of Highway 126 beside the pristine McKenzie River. It's just over an hour's drive east of Eugene in the Cascade Mountains
What it lacks in amenities it more than makes up for in tranquility and natural beauty. Many of the 33 sites are along the river, making it a popular camping destination in the summer and fall. It pays to reserve a premium spot early, especially for the weekends.
Paradise Campground is a popular place for whitewater rafting companies to depart on day trips floating down the river. Day use areas are also available for those who want to stop for a peaceful lunch on their way to other forest adventures.
Mountain bikers and hikers use the campground as a base to ride or walk the McKenzie River Trail. Others drive up the highway to visit Koosah and Sahalie Falls. Come evening, it's time to light a campfire and then fall asleep to the sound of the river (which is also the source of Eugene's drinking water).
Regardless of the reason, Paradise Campground is a scenic stop to enjoy nature and escape from civilization to relax and rejuvenate.
Rick Obst is an Arizona native who moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2005 and fell in love with the verdant Pacific Northwest. He enjoys photography and discovering the many people, places, and events that make this part of the world so special.
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