Rufus Landing Recreation Area


If you’re traveling along Interstate 84, about 48 miles east of Hood River, Oregon, there’s a great boondocking option if you’re looking for one. The Army Corps of Engineers has a nice little Recreation Area just off Exit 109  for stays of up to 14 days.

The scenery was certainly a change from the lush San Juan Islands we had just left, but it beautiful just the same. Not a bad view from my desk …


We set up at the very end of the recreation area, staying to left once the paved road ends. We had intended to only spend one night but ended up staying for three. (We only moved a bit, but I’ll write more about that in a different review.)

20140430_174612There weren’t very many other campers during the week, but a few more rolled in on the weekend. Parking is pretty much haphazard as long as you stay in the designated areas.



And there were rigs of every shape and size …


On a side note, we did encounter a great deal of wind coming out of the west. That would explain why there’s a wind farm on the Washington side! 🙂  One day was really windy and had the camper rocking a bit. (Steady 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph) Since we didn’t have our slide out anyway we just rode it out. We probably would have been a little better off if our rig had been parked parallel to the river as opposed to perpendicular. But it all worked out fine.

There is horseshoe-shaped island called Gerking Canyon not too far off shore. The easterly tip of it seems to be a good spot for fishing as there were always a few boats anchored out there with lines in the water.


In addition to the anglers, there’s a  decent amount of barge traffic on the river as well.



The barge traffic was very quiet. We could just barely hear the hum of the tug engines as they made their way up and down the river.

On the other hand, I-84 does run along Rufus Landing, and yes you can hear the traffic quite clearly. It didn’t bother us at all and seemed to really ease up during the nighttime hours.


That’s I-84 to give you an idea of how far away it was from out spot. We were probably about as close to the highway as you can get in this area. lol No, that wasn’t our intention but it was the most secluded spot we could find that was so close to the water.

That large pile of stones did a great job of buffering the road noise.

This pic may give you a better idea …


That’s the pile of stones in the background working as a buffer … and that’s Mr. G. working as a buffer. (Better a buffer than a fluffer, Ha! I’ll be here all week folks. Don’t forget to tip your server!) Anyhooo … He waxed the entire H.O.W. by hand. He was a little sore that night!

The only negative I think you might find if you’re looking for someplace really quiet is the locomotive noise – and by that I mean T-R-A-I-N-S. I know there are some people out there that really get cranky when they get all settled in and realize there are tracks nearby. Heads up – there are tracks on both sides of the river here and the trains seem to pass about every 30 minutes to an hour.

Trains to the south of us …


Trains to the north of us…


Honestly, we’re used to hearing trains so the tracks didn’t bother us. Truth be told we think a train whistle in the distance is kind of romantic. But, there are no crossings nearby so they aren’t sounding their horns at all here. Like I said though, you can certainly hear them rumbling by – frequently. So if you’re someone who wakes up at the sound coming from the tracks and says “F@%&*ng Trains!” you might want to pass this place over. Just sayin’.;-)

In our opinion, sunsets like these trump the minor transportation noise – hands down.

20140430_19162420140430_202215 Here’s a satellite view via Google maps. The red arrow is the location of our rig and the direction we were facing.

Google Maps image

Google Maps image

The area is open to tent camping as well as RVs and there is a pit toilet building located on the grounds should you need one. They were pretty clean and well maintained.




If you decide to check out this boondocking spot, Rufus Landing Recreation Area is off Exit 109 on I-84. Follow Rockbeach Lane west all the way to the end, then keep going until you reach the water Oh and hey, say “Hello” to the geese for us!



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