Experience Oregon’s Logging History at the Collier Memorial State Park and Logging Museum

by | Aug 25, 2023 | Adventures, Camping, Featured, History, History, Interesting, Southern Oregon, Travel

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Found on highway 97 in southern Oregon, Collier Memorial State Park stands as a testament to the rich history of logging and timber in the region. Named after the Collier family from Klamath Falls, this park offers visitors an immersive experience into the world of logging and a glimpse into the lives of the pioneers who shaped the industry.

History Of Collier Memorial State Park

The park's roots trace back to the generosity of brothers Andrew and Alfred Collier, who donated 146 acres of land in 1945 to the state as a tribute to their parents.

Historic logging equipment at Collier Logging Museum.  It's huge and has two large red wood wheels.
Historic logging equipment at Collier Memorial State Park Logging Museum. Photo by larkenRidgefield_CT via Trip Advisor.

This initial gesture laid the foundation for what would eventually grow into a 536-acre expanse of natural beauty and historical significance. Today, managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Collier Memorial State Park welcomes over 350,000 visitors annually.

The Collier Logging Museum

An old piece of logging equipment at Collier Logging Museum. It's black and red and is on old wood spoke wheels.
Collier Logging Museum. Photo by Bill Word via Flickr CC2.

Collier Memorial State Park can be split into three parts: the campground, the rest area and day use area, and the logging museum. The rest area is a popular place to stop off and stretch your legs on a walk down to the spot where scenic Williamson River and Spring Creek meet, but most never go further than that, and end up paying no attention to the logging museum just across the road.

Logging equipment at Collier Logging Museum.
Logging equipment at Collier Logging Museum. Photo by LarkenRidgefield_CT via Trip Advisor.

The Collier family's involvement in the logging business led them to amass an impressive collection of antique logging equipment. In 1947, they donated the first machines, setting the stage for what would become one of the largest collections of logging equipment in the country. The museum now boasts a diverse array of equipment spanning eight decades of logging history.

A small black train hooked up to a train car with lumber at Collier Logging Museum.
At Collier Logging Museum in the 1980's. Photo by Bill Word via Flickr CC2.

Visitors are invited to embark on a journey through time with two main routes within the museum. The "Cut, Move, Mill Trail" serves as a gateway to the past, showcasing the methods and tools used by logging crews in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Large logs carved with the words 'Collier State Park Logging Museum' sit on an old train bed.
Collier Logging Museum. Photo via Oregon State Parks.

Starting at the Cookhouse, where a gift shop and historic displays are, this trail offers insights into the laborious process of felling trees, transporting logs, and milling them into lumber.

A man rides a large tractor at Collier Logging Museum.
A man rides a large tractor at Collier Logging Museum. Photo via Oregon State Parks.

The "Logging Evolution Trail" offers a chronological exploration of logging machine technology from the 1860s to modern times. It guides visitors through three distinct eras: horse and oxen, steam engines, and internal combustion engines. These periods reflect the evolution of both machinery and techniques that defined the logging industry's growth and transformation over the years.

Collier Memorial State Park stands as a living tribute to the pioneering spirit of the Collier family and the generations of loggers who shaped the region's history. As you walk through the park's trails and immerse yourself in its exhibits, you'll gain a deep appreciation for the resilience and ingenuity that defined the logging industry. Whether you're a history enthusiast, nature lover, or simply curious about the past, a visit to Collier Memorial State Park promises an enriching experience that bridges the gap between the past and the present.

Camping At Collier Memorial State Park

The Williamson River.
Photo by JATomlinson.

Seasonal camping is available at the park between May 15th and September 30th each year. There are 46 full hookup sites and 18 non hookup sites with water nearby. A restroom with hot showers and flush toilets is available.

There are also two horse camp sites with corrals. You can book reservations up to six months in advance here.

Spring Creek.
Photo by JATomlinson.

Campers should note that this campground is high in elevation, and that it gets cold at night, and can be cold in the daytime, even in the summer. Come prepared for cold and inclement weather.

Collier Memorial State Park Information

Spring Creek running into the Williamson River.
Where Spring Creek meets the Williamson River at Collier Memorial State Park. Photo by JATomlinson.

To get to Collier Memorial State Park from Eugene: Take I-5 south to Highway 58. Take Highway 58 south towards Highway 97. At the junction of Highway 58 and Highway 97, continue south onto Highway 97 until you reach Collier Memorial State Park. The drive from Eugene takes two and a half hours.

To get to Collier Memorial State Park from Bend: Travel south on Highway 97 until you reach Collier Memorial State Park. The drive from Bend takes about an hour and forty five minutes.

To get to Collier Memorial State Park from Klamath Falls: Travel north on Highway 97 until you reach the park. The drive from Klamath Falls takes about 35 minutes.

Spring Creek running into the Williamson River.
Photo by JATomlinson.

Get more information on Collier Memorial State park on the state parks website. You can also check out this nifty brochure about the park and logging museum.

We think you'll also like reading about nearby Crater Lake National Park, and also about exploring nearby Klamath Falls.

Have you been to Collier Memorial State Park? Did you check out the logging museum, or just stop by to stretch your legs and walk down to the river? Let us know and tag the friends and family you want to go with!


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Written By Jessica Tomlinson

Jessica Tomlinson is a native Oregonian currently living in Southern Oregon. She has been blogging since 2006. She loves nature, photography, hiking, camping, and exploring Oregon's wilds.

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