Kink-Free Camping in Oregon
by Bob Carter
The days of hunting for tent stakes in the dark are over. Unlike the yurts used by nomadic tribes in Russia and Asia, which were of the "have yurt, will travel" variety, the ones available in Oregon state parks require no assembly. They are ready to move into when you arrive.
What's a yurt, you ask? Glad you did. The (Y)ear-round (U)niversal (R)ecreational (T)ent began popping up in Oregon about five years ago. They're designed to offer camping accommodations to off-season travelers. Their popularity has grown phenomenally and yurts are being added to the park system each year to keep up with the demand.
Especially designed to withstand wind and retain heat, a yurt is a circular domed tent with a plywood floor, structural support, waterproof canvas siding and a clear, plexiglass skylight. Amenities include a lockable wooden door, window screens and flaps, reflective insulations, electricity, and indoor lighting.
State park yurts measure 16 feet in diameter and have 10-foot-high ceilings. Furnishings include a space heater, table, a bunk bed that sleeps three, and a fold-out couch that sleeps two. The beds and couch have covered foam mattresses. Each park has at least one yurt that's wheelchair accessible. Yurt sites have a fire ring and picnic table.
Wondering what to take with you to your yurt? Pack what you would take on a camping trip: sleeping bags or bedding, flashlight, water, towels, cooking and eating utensils, matches, axe, camp stove, cooler, etc. Be forewarned, pets, smoking, and cooking are not allowed inside the yurt.
For a brochure, general information, and reservation availability, call the Oregon State Park Information Center, 800-551-6949 or check the website at