Giles French Park – A Boondocking Review

If you read the review I wrote on Rufus Landing you know we only traveled a short distance to our next boondocking spot – GIles French Park is another Recreation Area run by the Army Corps of Engineers.

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This park is a no fee, 14 day limit, dry camping environment open to RVs and tents located on the Columbia River, just down river of the John Day Dam. You can get to the park by Exit 109 off I-84.

We didn’t realize when we pulled into the Rufus Landing Recreation Area three days prior that Giles French Park was here, even though it was on the same road. Had we gone right instead of left at the fork in the road we probably would have ended up here for the entire time.

Most of the spots in Giles French are paved, although there are some gravel places to set up on as well. We moved our rig on a Saturday so we ended up in a gravel spot. But It was a perfect boondocking location right next to the Columbia River.

We spent four nights in this spot …

Giles French Park, Rufus Oregon

Giles French Park, Rufus Oregon

The campsite was fairly flat and only needed a couple leveling blocks to get level.There aren’t any designated parking places, but for the most part campers are parked parallel to the river. This helps a great deal with the wind that usually whips through the area.

The park really emptied out by Monday. Here are a couple pics of more parking options …

Giles French Park, Rufus, Oregon

Giles French Park, Rufus, Oregon

Giles French Park, Rufus, Oregon

Giles French Park, Rufus, Oregon

Giles French Park, Rufus, Oregon

Giles French Park, Rufus, Oregon

Giles French Park, Rufus, Oregon

Giles French Park, Rufus, Oregon

Giles French Park, Rufus, Oregon

Giles French Park, Rufus, Oregon

As you can see in the pic above, there are dumpsters in the park which is convenient. There is also a restroom building with running water at the very easterly end of the park. (Just before the gated off access to the John Day Dam.) It’s not new by any stretch of the imagination, but it was clean, heated and the water was very hot. There’s also an outlet located next to the hand dryer which might come in handy if you don’t have power in your rig or tent.

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The Giles French area was much quieter than Rufus Landing. We really couldn’t hear the traffic on I-84 at all. However, you can still hear the trains, so something to keep in mind if you’re a light sleeper.

I-84 above Giles French Park. The train tracks are raised and between the campsites and the highway.

I-84 above Giles French Park. The train tracks are raised and between the campsites and the highway.

One more look …

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This part of the river is a fishing mecca for anglers looking to get their quota of salmon and steelhead trout. While the leisure fishing boat traffic is much lower than down by Rufus Landing …

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Anglers off the shore at Rufus Landing, Oregon

There are more fisherman casting off from the shore in Giles French Park. There are several fishing platforms along the river’s edge. I believe you have to be a recognized tribal member in the area to use the platforms so check into that if you’re considering throwing in a line. πŸ™‚

Fishing platforms along the Columbia River.

Fishing platforms along the Columbia River.

Seeing as we’re not Native American, or fishermen for that matter, we didn’t do any fishing from the platform in front of our campsite. But it did make for a picturesque view for our Cinco de Mayo celebration πŸ™‚

Enjoying the early May sunshine along the Columbia River in Oregon.

Enjoying the early May sunshine along the Columbia River in Oregon.

The entire area is actually very picturesque. Whether you’re looking toward the dam …

John Day Dam, Rufus, Oregon

John Day Dam, Rufus, Oregon

Or looking toward the interstate and train tracks …

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Or watching the sun set on another relaxing day …

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If you are in the Rufus, Oregon area (about 48 miles east of Hood River, OR) Β and you’re looking for a place to spend one night (or two weeks!), Giles French Park, operated by the Army Corps of Engineers is a great option. Take Exit 109 off I-84, head toward the river and go right at the fork. πŸ™‚

*Side Note* – The park does not have a dump station or water available. However, there is a Shell Gas station/convenience store located at Exit 109 that is set up for dumping and water refilling. The price listed on the sign indicates the fee is $6, but when I went in to pay they charged me $10. Still not a bad price I guess. They refill propane tanks as well.

That’s all for now. πŸ™‚

~Cheers~

This entry was posted in Boondocking, Ramblings from the Road, RV Park Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , by Wendy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Wendy

I am a full-time RVer living a nomadic life with my husband as he travels throughout the United States for his career. Our mobile castle is a 38 foot 5th wheel with all the comforts of home and office. I do a little freelance writing here and there. Maybe someday I'll finish that novel. In addition to writing, I've developed a passion for health and fitness. It's taken my nearly 50 years to really nurture this passion, (eeeek!) but now that I'm on board I'm loving the journey. As a matter of fact, I love it so much I decided to become a full-time Team Beachbody Coach. Contact me today if you'd like to be a part of one of my private Motivation and Accountability Groups on Facebook or if you're interested in the Team Beachbody Coaching opportunity.

8 thoughts on “Giles French Park – A Boondocking Review

  1. Beautiful Wendy! Hope all is well, seems quite like it is πŸ™‚ Melissa

    • Hi Melissa! I never thought I’d get the chance to see so much of this beautiful country of ours. Some days it’s a wild ride on the crazy train … but I feel so lucky to have this opportunity. I hope all is well with you guys. Are you seeing signs of spring in NH yet? Thanks so much for stopping by, it’s great to hear from you!

      • We are good TU! Spring has sprung finally this week. It is amazing just what you can see in the good ole U.S. FLB filled me in on your new blog, I really enjoy seeing what you guys are up to. Take care and happy and safe travels.

  2. Nice review! I’d like to check out Giles French Park before I leave the Portland area. Thanks for posting!

    • It was a great place to stay for a few days. The river has a way of relaxing you. Maybe it’s watching the tugs and barges make their way by or simply the constant flow. Whatever it is, it was wonderful. We will certainly stay there again if we’re ever passing through! πŸ™‚

  3. You are making me home sick…I grew up in The Dalles and I miss the Beauty of the Gorge! We will be full timers by the end of the year…I can’t wait for our new adventure. Looking forward to making my way from Maine to Oregon and the many places in between. Thanks for pointing out this beautiful Boondocking site.

    • My pleasure. Boy, you grew up in a beautiful part of the country! We fell in love with Oregon. Our first experience was a couple of years ago when we took 101 all the way down the coast. Gorgeous! Then this year being able to spend time around Hood River, The Dalles, Bend, Rufus and just chilling along the river was awesome.

      Maine to Oregon sounds like a great trip. We are from Connecticut originally and still have a warm spot in our hearts for New England. Good luck with getting everything in order to start your journey and Happy travels to you!!!

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