The State of Oregon’s efforts to make bicycle touring more comfortable continues to reach new heights.
We’ve been covering the bicycle tourism beat for a long time and one of the coolest initiatives Oregon Parks Forever (a nonprofit that raises money for state projects) has taken on over the past decade or so is a strategy to upgrade and expand hiker/biker campsites at popular parks. As bicycle camping has become more popular and has spread to a wider range of riders over the years, Oregon has upped its game to meet demand.
Not content to simply offer a special place to sleep for carfree campers, the bar has been raised to include covered shelters, USB charging ports (e-bike riders can charge batteries in bathrooms), fix-it stations, and even gear and food storage lockers. After a full day on the bike, having a bit of extra comfort — and the ability to get your body and your gear off the (sometimes wet) ground and onto a dry, covered spot, means everything.
We know of at least 10 of these upgraded sites statewide and there are a few dozen planned. In 2014 we reported that Oregon Parks wanted to build 19 of them along popular cycling routes across the state. In 2015 they made good on those plans and added major upgrades to hiker/biker sites at Milo McIver, Champoeg, and Bullards Beach state parks.
Oregon Parks Forever (formerly Oregon State Parks Foundation), a nonprofit that raises money for state parks, has been instrumental in funding these hiker-biker pods. In 2020, they made a $39,875 donation (thanks to their members and grants from Juan Young Trust, REI, and Travel Oregon) to pay for installing new pods at three more locations — including Honeyman State Park just south of Florence on the Oregon Coast.
According to Oregon Parks Forever, the new pod at Honeyman includes a charging station, lockers, water filling station, repair station with an air pump, seating areas, and a new fire pit. Communal gathering spaces are also a big part of the design. This is the seventh hiker-biker pod they’ve funded on the Oregon Coast and it joins existing ones at Fort Stevens, Devil’s Lake, Cape Blanco, Harris Beach, Cape Lookout and Nehalem Bay. “Expanding services for recreational bicyclists from around the world will promote increased physical activity, decrease car traffic, and contribute to economic development by attracting more bicycle tourism,” reads a post on the Oregon Parks Forever website.
Oregon Parks Forever Executive Director told me yesterday that two more pods will be installed by this June at South Beach and Beverly Beach and their current plan includes nine pods, each costing about $16,000. “They’ve gotten tremendous feedback,” Miller said. “People tell us these are the best hiker/biker sites on the coast — much better than anything in Washington or California.”
These amenities can often make-or-break a bike trip. It feels great to know the State of Oregon cares about bicycle travelers. Thanks to everyone involved in building these. We can’t wait to see more them!
(Note: Remember that even when a State Parks campground is “full,” bike riders are still allowed to camp. And fees for these sites are only $5 to $6 per night. Miller also strongly recommends bringing a padlock to keep your stuff safe in the provided lockers. Learn more at this helpful page on Travel Oregon’s website.)
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This is incredibly exciting news! I did my first long bike tour last year (Newport to San Francisco) and was really impressed by the hiker-biker sites on the coast. And I’ve got to say, Oregon was miles ahead of California on this! In California, I would occasionally be directed to just a regular campsite (next to RVs). It’s great to have a communal “biker only” area to mingle with other bike tourists.
It’s also super easy to find the sites on the state parks website, which made planning a breeze too! Highly recommend getting out there and camping on your bike!
Oregon State Parks does a terrific job in general, and of accommodating bicyclists in particular. The amenities they’ve provided look useful for the touring cyclist, especially the benches with backs – after a long day’s ride those will be a delight!
Any park that offers overnight camping/reservations, should have a non-reservation hiker/biker camping area.
2017 rode down the coast again. There were a few at various campgrounds.they were awesome!!! The best is the Oregon coast bike map, best bike map period!!!!!
I cycled up to San Juan Islands in Summer 2021 and then Portland > Astoria > San Francisco June 2022. I can vouch for the luxuriousness of most of the 8 (that I stayed at) Oregon Coast hiker biker camps. Free, hot showers and all those charging stations! It looks like the Honeyman one has just been installed then. Hopefully this is done all over the state!
Staying at 8 hiker bikers in California resulted in a single camp (Standish-Hickey) with 4 outlets. We got a kick out of that (see linked photo).
And not meant to knock on some of the amazing hiker biker campsites in California (here is at Jedediah Smith Campground in Redwoods)
The communal fire pits and shared spaces are a great idea.
On two or three trips to Cape Lookout since the lockers were put in, I have to say it really feels like somebody did something right. Heart emoji, etc!!!
Cape Lookout hiker biker campground has been a jewel on the Oregon Coast for years and the lockers are a great addition since the popularity of the site means small animals are also frequent visitors.
The locker kiosk at Cape Lookout (the last time I was there) had an open 110 plug on the back which is really useful for charging things that don’t have USB cables, or if the lockers are full. It’s above eye level so for an ebike you would need a ~2 meter cord.
The only complaint I could make about the lockers is that the little carabiner-on-a-cable closures are weak. At Cape Lookout some were missing or broken and for a person at my ability label (kind of hurts to say this!) the bottom left locker was really hard to use.
If you’re passing by a hiker-biker campground in Oregon a conventional combination lock is worth carrying. If the lockers are full, which can happen, I suggest sharing with late comers. The lockers are pretty ample in size and if you’re not feeling that great about fellow humans, remember you’re mostly helping keep wildlife wild!
Years ago while touring down the coast, I hung my food a little too low one night and was mugged by a racoon. The lockers will be a welcome addition and spots to lock up as shown in the picture at Honeyman will be great too.
Critters will also chew through your panniers if you try to close up food that way. Hanging food has worked OK for me in the past, but for high-use areas, here’s to lockers! If animals don’t obtain food the first time they come around they are less likely to return.