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Camping at Dolly Varden Campground

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Overview of Dolly Varden Campground

Dolly Varden Campground is a rustic camping spot located within the lush confines of the Willamette National Forest in Oregon. Known for its proximity to picturesque streams and a diverse range of outdoor recreational activities, Dolly Varden Campground attracts campers who are looking for a serene wilderness experience.

Location and Access

Dolly Varden Campground is situated close to the banks of the South Fork Santiam River. Access to the campground can vary depending on the time of year, road conditions, and weather. Therefore, it's a good idea to check the current conditions before planning your trip by contacting the Willamette National Forest ranger district office.

Camping Facilities


  • The campground typically offers basic amenities including designated campsites, fire pits, picnic tables, and vault toilets.
  • You will need to bring your own drinking water, as potable water is not always available onsite.
  • There is no electricity or hookups for RVs, promoting a more rustic camping experience.


  • Dolly Varden offers a limited number of campsites, and they are usually available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Tents, trailers, and RVs can find accommodation within the campground, although the size of the sites may limit larger vehicles.

Activities and Recreation

  • Fishing: The South Fork Santiam River is a draw for anglers looking to catch fish such as trout and possibly salmon, depending on the season.
  • Hiking: Numerous hiking trails can be found within the vicinity, catering to a variety of skill levels.
  • Wildlife Watching: The lush forest offers a habitat for diverse wildlife, perfect for enthusiasts and photographers alike.
  • Water Sports: The river provides an opportunity for water-based activities, though any such activities should be approached with caution due to potential currents and water levels.
  • Biking: Mountain bikers can enjoy trails that offer a blend of scenic vistas and challenging terrain.

Season of Operation

Dolly Varden Campground operates seasonally, usually from spring through fall. The exact opening and closing dates can depend on weather and other factors, so it is always best to verify with the Willamette National Forest authorities.

Reservations and Fees

  • As of the knowledge cutoff in 2023, Dolly Varden Campground may not offer a reservation system and operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • There is typically a fee required for camping. Ensure you have updated fee information and carry cash, as the remote location may not facilitate electronic payments.

Leave No Trace

When camping at Dolly Varden Campground, it's imperative to follow "Leave No Trace" principles to minimize your impact on the natural environment. Pack out what you pack in, respect wildlife, and maintain the pristine condition of the campground for future visitors.

Preparing for Your Trip

Prior to departure, check weather forecasts, fire bans or restrictions, and any alerts or advisories issued by the Willamette National Forest. Ensure you have appropriate gear for weather conditions and emergencies. Lastly, informing friends or family about your travel plans is always a smart safety measure.

Contact Information: For the most current information, it's advised to contact the local ranger district:

  • Sweet Home Ranger District
  • Phone: +1 (541) 367-5168

Please note that the information provided here is subject to change, and it’s important to verify all details before planning your visit to Dolly Varden Campground.

Location of Dolly Varden Campground
Other Campgrounds in Willamette National Forest
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