On our Montana trip we traveled Oregon Hwy 26 and 7 to get to I 84. It is covered in this blog post. We decided to stay the night at Union Creek Campground which turned out to be a great decision. The lake was a bit low because of the drought, but it was a perfect spot to camp and we had the added bonus of a nice hike. We wished we had more time to stay here.
The Union Creek Campground is one of the largest Forest Service campgrounds in eastern Oregon. It’s nestled on the northern shore of Phillips Reservoir in a mature Ponderosa pine forest. A few sites offer views of the lake. but all of the sites are large and clean. Phillips Reservoir is a popular destination within the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest because it offers scenic views of the surrounding Elkhorn Mountains. The shoreline is forested with a mix of Ponderosa pine and various firs interspersed with small grasslands.
This campground is part of the Union Creek Recreation Area, which includes a picnic and day-use area. Union Creek Campground is set on three loops with separate walk-in tent camping, and it has four group sites that can accommodate from 60-100 people.
The campground has a boat launch and a small, rocky swim beach. Activities include swimming, fishing, boating and water skiing. You can fish for bass, trout and perch.
From the campground you can access the Phillips Lake Shoreline Trail which is a a 6.5-mile scenic trail for hiking and mountain biking.
The campsites are paved and gravel and large enough for any size RV. Several sites offer full hookups, and some others offer water and electric. Each site has picnic tables and grills. Some of the facilities are handicap-accessible.
The historic gold mining town of Sumpter is about 10 miles away. Visitors can explore the Sumpter Dredge State Heritage Park, browse the holiday weekend flea markets or take a ride on a historic steam locomotive.
Photos from our hike around the lake.
We hiked from the campground to the dam at the far end of the lake and back for a total of 4.5 miles. The Shoreline trail meandered through the pine forest and along the edge of the lake. However the water was far below us because of the drought and low water level. Never-the-less it was a great hike and one that we would do again. Enjoy the pictures.
How to get there