Looking for a good family, weekend camping trip, or even day trip? Quartzville Creek, Oregon may just be the place. Quartzville Creek is a 12-mile river in Linn County, Oregon designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, and popularly used for recreational purposes including camping, fishing, hunting, kayaking, and gold panning. The area is home to a variety of wildlife such as deer, bear, cougars, old growth timber, and clear cold water.
The creek received its name for the quartz mines located beyond the old Quartzville town site. Sadly, there are no longer any standing buildings at the Quartzville town site, which is technically an old ghost town located in Linn County, near Sweet Home, Oregon.
To find Quartzville, drive from Interstate 5 to Albany; go approximately 30 miles southeast on US 20 through Lebanon and Sweet Home. A few miles past Sweet Home on US20 you will pass by Foster Lake and then turn right on Quartzville Road. Go past Green Peter Reservoir, or stop for a little fishing, then continue along the meandering waters of the Wild and Scenic Quartzville Creek.
The area’s recreation activities change with the seasons. During the wintertime, snow may block your way depending on how far up you plan to go. Snowmobilers and cross-country skiers sometimes use the roads. The spring is amazing. The area is filled with wild flowers, and kayakers and anglers can be found during the snowmelts and rains. The summer is for camping, hiking, and relaxing. The weekends can be very crowded; campsites and camping areas along the road fill up very fast. This is also a great time for swimming, wading, and gold panning. The fall is colorful, clear, and calm – a great time to go exploring.
A individual by the name Jeremiah Driggs first found gold here on September 5, 1863. More than a thousand people called Quartzville home during a small gold boom that followed. Everybody gave up the gold hunt and left sometime around 1870. During the construction of the Green Peter Dam in the late 60’s, the U.S. government secretly processed tons of dirt and ore in and around Quartzville creek, before they filled the reservoir. The nice thing is the mother lode was never found and makes for a good story to tell the kids.
This is a great place to visit in Oregon, and combined with Foster Reservoir, Green Peter Reservoir, and historic Sweet Home Oregon makes a wonderful outing for the family.