Camp 18 is a traditional stop for many as they drive to and from the Oregon Coast. The restaurant is owned and operated by Gordon and Roberta Smith, and they have quite a personal history with Camp 18 and area logging.
Built with Local Timber and Local Rock
When you go to Camp 18, you’ll see massive log beams, chainsaw carvings, old logging equipment and, inside, a spacious, yet warm dining room where you’ll enjoy a fantastic meal (no small plates here!).
Gordon Smith began collecting logging equipment in the 1970s. He and a friend, Maurie Clark, started restoring the pieces in the collection. The cabin was built with timber logged by Smith right in the Elsie area.
Camp 18 represents Oregon’s logging history. In the 1920s and 1930s large logging operations – such as Clark & Wilson and Big Creek Timber Company, among others – numbered all of their camps. The restaurant and logging museum is called Camp 18 because it’s located at milepost 18 on Highway 26. It was not an actual logging camp, but I can’t think of any place better to learn about Oregon’s logging past.
You’ll be in awe of the massive logs that make up the entrance and the restaurant building. According to the Camp 18 website, all of the timber used in the building came from the general area and was logged and milled by Smith with the help of his family and friends.
When you go into the dining room, be sure and look up to see the huge, 85-foot ridge pole. It’s the largest such pole known in the United States. It weighed approximately 25 tons when cut.
Another spectacular feature of the building are the hand-carved main doors. They are cut from an old growth Fir. Each door is four and a half inches thick and weighs 500 pounds. The doors open with authentic logging axes. For some, it may take two hands to open them.
The two fireplaces are built with approximately 50 tons of locally found rock. A stream runs behind the restaurant, which was one source of river rock. The mantle of the fireplace in the main dining room is solid black walnut.
Taking the Tour
As you walk outside, you find huge “steam donkeys,” band saws, and tracked vehicles that worked in the woods. You’ll also see railcar-mounted equipment. Many of the displays have information posted so you can learn more about what you are seeing. Kids love having their pictures taken standing on the massive equipment.
Also outside, you’ll see the fairly new Loggers Memorial framed by a giant log grapple hook. The memorial features a bronze statue depicting a logger at work felling a tree. It pays homage to those who have worked in Oregon’s important logging industry over the years.
After you learn all about Oregon logging history, walk down near the creek, do a bit of bird watching and breathe in the forest air. A visit to Camp 18 can be relaxing, as well as educational.
Cozy Up to a Fireplace and Enjoy a Meal
Camp 18 is most cozy on a chilly fall or winter day. You can sit by the rock fireplace and play a board game or be seated at one of the massive wooden tables and enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner. If I had guests from out of the area, I would bring them to Camp 18 for an all-American meal and a bit of logging history.
Portions are pretty much lumberjack-sized. They have an extensive menu, including burgers and fish, salads and the mouth-watering Marionberry cobbler. In the mornings you might succumb to one of their logger-sized cinnamon rolls.
You can watch the Camp 18 Facebook Page for information on special events. They often feature brunch for Mother’s Day and Easter. They go all-out decorating for Christmas, including trimming a 16-foot Christmas tree. For groups, the downstairs event area is available by reservation.
For me, Camp 18 is a mid-way stop between central Portland and Seaside or Cannon Beach. It’s a good place to stretch your legs, learn something, shop in the gift shop and make sure you don’t continue on your journey hungry.
Camp 18 Restaurant
42362 Highway 26
Elsie, Oregon 97138
Phone: 800-874-1810 or 503-755-1818