By: Dave Helgeson
Morrow County OHV Park,
A fun spot for large all all wheel drive
ATVs to play.
My wife and I had the occasion to travel
through the northern part of central Oregon
recently. Since our machines were in the back of
the truck, I marked areas on the map where we
could ride. Morrow County OHV Park was one of
these areas. I didn’t find much information on
the area at the time, so I didn’t schedule much
time for us to play there. Had I known the
amount and quality of the available trails, I
would have planned to stay longer.
The park sits on 6,200 acres of forested land
that forms the southern border of Morrow County,
Oregon. Access to the park is via Hwy 207
between milepost 21 and 22, roughly 30 miles
south of Heppner, Oregon. If you look at your
map, you will see that this is just about in the
middle of nowhere. This is a good thing if you
like it quiet with few other riders on the
trails. The drawback is you need to bring
everything needed for your stay with you
Currently the park contains over 160 miles of
trail to ride. Even though it was mid July
during our visit, the grass was still green and
the trails moist, so dust wasn’t much of a
problem. The trails we rode were easy ATV dual
track practically void of rocks and roots. For
the more adventurous riders, there are more
difficult rated trails in the park.
Amenities: In addition to miles of great
trails there is: an ATV/motorcycle play area,
4x4 play area which would be fun on a larger
all-wheel drive ATV, several designated 4x4
trails with rock crawls along the route,
children’s play area which is close by the
campground, ATV/ motorcycle wash area to inhibit
the spread of noxious weeds, large loading and
unloading area, 12 pull-thru camp sites and two
day-use areas. The park is at an elevation of
nearly 4,300 feet and consists of rolling hills
with pine trees. The park gets considerable
snowfall in the winter so the principal riding
season is May through October. Mid summer you
can expect highs around 80 degrees and cool
evenings, perfect for sitting around the
campfire after a day of riding. Bring your bug
spray as there are mosquitoes. During the
winter, this area can also be used as a SnoPark
for snowmobiling and cross country skiing. Large
maps are posted in the staging areas and the
trails are well marked at the junctions.
One of the smooth easy trails.
Where to stay: The best choice is camping in
the park with a tent or RV. There are 12
pull-through camping spaces which will run you
$10 per night. These are standard sites with no
hook ups. There is also plenty of space in the
parking/loading area where you can camp, but
it's out in the open on fractured rocks, while
the established camping area is in a grassy
treed area. On-site concessions are also
available from the camp hosts. A map of the
campground can be viewed at:
Rider cabins have been recently added; the cost
is $37.50 /night. Interested persons can contact
Morrow County Parks for reservations.
If you want a hotel, you will need to stay in
Heppner 30 miles away. Northwestern Motel & RV
Park 389 N Main St, Heppner, OR 97836. The phone
number is 541-676-9167.
If none of these options work for you, try
nearby Bull Prairie Campground, like my wife and
I did. Bull Prairie is a forest service
campground located on a lake a few miles farther
south on Hwy 207. The campground has 26 trailer
and tent sites each containing a parking pad,
table, and fireplace. Water is available, but
there are no electrical hook-ups. The roads in
the campground are paved. There is a $6.00
overnight fee per unit. There is a boat launch
(no motors allowed), large picnic grounds, and a
trailer dump station. For reservations, contact
the Forest Service at 541-676-9187. Best of all,
OHVs are allowed to enter and exit the
campground through several nearby forest service
roads. In fact, two forest service roads lead
directly to the Morrow County OHV area. Take
forest service road #2039 north where it turns
into #2128. If you continue traveling north on
#2128 it will lead you directly to one of the
day use areas of the OHV Park. Total distance
from the campground to the OHV Park is about 3
miles, just enough time to warm up your machine
and hit the trails. These forest service roads
and others in the area are part of a separate
OHV area called “West End Riding Area.” I will
cover those in another “Places to Ride” article.
One the few unbridged water crossings.
Now for the rules and regulations for your
safety and mine:
1. No shooting of firearms in park.
2. Day use area is open from daylight to dark.
3. No motor vehicles off marked roads or trails.
4. No overnight camping allowed out on trails.
5. ATV sticker is required on all Off Highway
6. Reduce noise from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am.
7. Keep garbage in garbage cans.
8. Spark arrester is required.
9. Turn park water off when not in use.
10. Silencer required (Max. 99 db).
11. Keep fires in designated fire rings or
12. Speed limit in Day Use Areas - 10 MPH.
13. No trespassing on private property.
14. Keep dogs on leash at all times.
15. No OHV use on USFS Road 21.
16. All riders under 18 must wear a helmet.
Morrow County Public Works
PO Box 428 Hwy 74, Lexington OR 97839
Be safe, enjoy, and I hope to see you on the