Exploring the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest means choosing between beaches and deserts, forests and volcanos, lakes and prairies. Camping in Washington is a chance to greet nature up close and sleep in some of the most beautiful land in North America. The biggest challenge? Deciding where to start.
The Cascade Mountains run down the center of Washington like a spine. A handful of highways cross the crest in parallel lines, all running from the evergreens of the west side to the wide open grasslands of the east. Camping in Washington is available along every route, like the state parks that dot I-90 and North Cascades National Park that hugs Highway 20.
Take Highway 2 over Stevens Pass to find old-growth trees around each spot at Money Creek Campground, plus a view of a classic metal train trestle. Fill each day with hikes through the Cascade forest, perhaps on a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail where it passes the Stevens Pass Mountain Resort ski area. Head east of Stevens Pass to verdant Lake Wenatchee State Park for wooded campsites near the shores of a placid mountain lake and a stable inside the park offering trail rides through the summer. BYO kayak or rent one here.
Sometimes camping in Washington means getting off the beaten track to explore the quiet corners of the state. Take a forest road in Olympic National Park to find a green haven of mossy logs and curious chipmunks, or head north around Mount Baker, the Cascades’ northernmost volcano, for boat-in campsites around Baker Lake. In winter, the snowy expanse of Artist Point near Mount Baker' offers killer views of rugged glaciers for intrepid snow campers and backcountry skiers.
There are spectacular overnights to be had in the Pacific Northwest’s national and state parks, not to mention the remote U.S. Forest Service lands that blanket this corner of the country. Stock up on s’mores and firewood (when and where rules allow) and pitch a tent under the stars and go camping in Washington for the trip of a lifetime.
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This is an interesting spot. Love the waterfall and views, but you have to be pretty comfortable camping basically on top of your neighbors. As I prefer a bit more isolation when getting into the great outdoors, this campsite is not high on my list. But, the waterfall area is gorgeous and a unique gem amongst the landscape
Took my three young kids here for an overnighter. Stayed at loop 3, site 63. The view was fantastic, and once the kids were settled in bed I thoroughly enjoyed a book while the sun set over the mountains and lake. There are multiple sources of water in campground, so you’re never more than a short walk away. The bathrooms were very clean (granted, in the season of Covid they should be), as was the campground itself. The sites themselves where a little closer together than I prefer and that is really the only knock against it. Oh- and water access, considering that it is on the lake, was less than ideal, especially with small kids. The campground is 20 or so vertical feet above the water line and it is a steep path to the water. Easier access is a drive or long walk away.
Moses Lake is an interesting little spot though I can’t say there’s anything that stands out to me particularly as “must see”. Recreation area right next-door offers the typical family-friendly water access, picnic tables, play structure and frisbee golf course
A wonderful place to camp on such a beautiful and clean river. Surrounded by old growth trees, this place is located at the far end of Lake Cushman. There are plenty of trails in the area for day hiking. A great place to fish as well. There are bears in this area so make sure you store food properly. It's pretty tucked away and fairly quiet even when it's a little busier than normal. Fires and dogs allowed.
Well worth the drive 19 miles up into the olympic mountains. During most of camping season here, fires aren't allowed due to elevation. There are deer everywhere up here and you can't beat the sunrises or sunsets here and there is a hiking trail. This is a great camp spot for your whole camping trip or to use as a home base if you will be backing packing further into the Olympics. You can't reserve spots here so it's first come first served. there is a pit toilet but no drinking water so be prepared and bring your own.