Outbound Collective logo

The Best Campsite Ever: Salmon Creek and Sardine Lakes

Happy birthday Nik!!

By: Benjamin Canevari + Save to a List

Somehow I scored reservations for 11 of us up at Salmon Creek Campground for my girlfriend's birthday. Unfortunately, four had to bail last minute. But the seven of us had an amazing time.

We got the best camp site ever. Little trail from the parking spot leads down to the site where it opens up with a huge amount of room for the fire pit, picnic table, and bear locker.  Two or three good spots for tents. We were set. 

We didn't get in until dark, but that's fine with me.  The drive through the hills and up Highway 49 was surreal. Especially at Golden Hour. I really wish I had stopped to take some photos, but we did want SOME light to try and set up with. 

Saturday we hiked up to Sardine Lakes. Hike up and around Lower Sardine, cross the dam and follow the lake around to the left and you find some sweet jumping rocks. The whole area was beautiful, especially looking back down at Sardine Lake from the Upper Lake. 

Jack is one of two main adventure buddies! Pretty much him, Nicolette, or both, are with me very trip I take! I've been slowly accumulating gear from Ruffwear for him. I love the quality and aesthetics of this stuff. The harness looks and works great. It's built to last and it seems like Jack enjoys it! Or at least doesn't mind it :). The booties really saved his paws on all the granite. They stayed on the whole time and kept all the rocks and debris out. For any of your Ruffwear needs, check out their site www.ruffwear.com

After the hike we went back to the campsite. Ran into town and grabbed ice cream, napped in the hammock, and played Cards Against Humanity. Around 7pm we headed back to Lower Sardine Lake for the Sunset. We relaxed on the shore for a couple of hours while we watched the sky light up. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip, especially since the valley has been without clouds almost all summer!

All in all the trip was super good! I was able to make some great images that I'm really proud of! I can't wait to go back. Already have a few new hikes and photo ideas I want to get next time we're there!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


My Five Favorite Parks in Portland, OR

Adam Edwards

10 Must-Do Winter Adventures near Portland, Oregon

The Outbound Collective

The 10 Best Campsites near Portland, OR

The Outbound Collective

The Best 7 Hikes Within 90 Minutes of Portland

Austin Jackson