Chilling out at Rufus Landing Recreation Area, Oregon

From Olympic National Park, we returned to our favorite hangout spot on the Oregon Coast, Winchester Bay, for two weeks. Then it’s time for another long list of RV services in Coburg, Oregon. After several thousand dollars poorer, we made our way to the Columbia River Gorge Area.

We are currently at Rufus Landing Recreation Area, right on the Columbia River near the town of Rufus, and on our way to Skate America event in Everett, Washington. Rufus is about 25 miles east of the Dalles, the same Interstate 84 exit as John Day Dam.

The recreation area is being managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. You can camp for free for 14 days. It’s a popular place for windsurfing and kiteboarding. Yes, wind does blow here. In fact, when I was researching about Rufus Landing for a potential free dry camping spot, two things jumped out were 1) people like this place and 2) it can get really windy here. Well, since we spend part of the winter and the spring in Desert Hot Springs, California, where it’s windy too, we should be able to handle a little wind here, I think.

If your experience with the Columbia River Gorge is limited only to the Portland vicinity, you’re probably reminiscing lush green fir and hemlock forests, bigleaf maples, ferns, and waterfalls, a scenery similar to this one we visited in the spring of 2017. Don’t be mistaken. This section of the Columbia River Gorge is dry grasslands.

Dry camping at Rufus Landing Recreation Area

The Interstate 84 corridor through this area is very busy. Railroad tracks on both sides of the river are heavily used. Interstate 84 runs east-west on Oregon side. As I’m typing this and with Stimpy’s windows opened, I could hear roaring sounds from the train and the Interstate traffic. Surprisingly, the noise is not as loud as the location of the camping spot would suggest. Light sleepers might be bothered by occasional noise at night. No problem for us.

One of things to do: Watching kiteboarding on a windy day

We’re quite lucky that for the two weeks that we have been here we had only two windy days. When the wind isn’t blowing, Rufus Landing is amazingly peaceful despite all the railroad and Interstate traffic next to us.

You could walk down to the shore of the Columbia River.
The river is beautifully glassy on a calm day.

There aren’t much to do around here. That isn’t a bad thing for us at the moment. We are in the mood to just chill out during our last month in the U.S. before flying to Bangkok next month. And to just enjoy sunset.

Stimpy at one of many beautiful sunset at Rufus Landing Recreation Area.
Wind turbines on the hill across the river
One of many gorgeous sunset

From my vantage point inside Stimpy, I took a picture of this cruise ship going to up the river. We talked about how cool it is to take the Columbia and Snake Rivers cruise. However, after learning about how much an 8-day cruise in the Columbia and Snake Rivers costs, I don’t think it is in our future.

Want to take this cruise ship? Do you have extra $4,995 or more per person to spare?

Today is our last day here. Tomorrow we move to Maryhill State Park across the river.

Our last sunset at Rufus Landing

2 thoughts on “Chilling out at Rufus Landing Recreation Area, Oregon

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