North Cascades National Park, WASHINGTON
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Most Recent North Cascades National Park Camping Reviews
No-Fee (Almost Abandoned) Campground along a Lovely River

Although it's named after Big Meadow Creek, this campground primarily lies on the Chiawawa River. There's no fee and from the looks of things, no services. If you're okay with roughing it and you either have the campground to yourself or the neighbors are good, it's not bad. There's a single outhouse that I imagine gets pretty ripe when it's warm. I'm not sure I'd use it. (If you're pooping in the wild, remember you need to be at least 200' from water & dig an appropriate hole for your poop. Pack out your TP.) 

There's a site right on the river that's tiny; it looks like the river bank has eaten away at the site. One of the trees in this site is marked with a mining claim. In other words, DO NOT PAN FOR GOLD HERE. There's a good-sized site next to it. Both sites have trees that'll support a hammock. There are two other sites. The one closest to Big Meadow Creek has the most privacy. 

This campground isn't on the gazetteer I keep in my truck, but there's a sign for it along Meadow Creek Road. From there, take FS Rd 6300 & follow the signs. Coordinates, according to my USGS 7 1/2 map: 47.86813 N, 120.69305 W

NOTE: The US Forest Service web page says this campground is closed. However, there is no gate across the road nor any indication they consider people accessing the campground to be trespassing. If you're considering a stay, it's probably best to contact the Rangers Station first.

Foothills of the Cascades

Campground provides plenty of sites so you are not on top of each other. Great activities and some of the best scenery to hike, picture taking or just relax. Campground is clean secure for all ages.

Great winter camping

Great place to camp in April.


This is a great campground. Deer stroll through camp. Clean bathrooms. Large beach for swimming. Great camping in the woods.

Nice for a quick trip

It’s a boat in site that doesn’t require permits, it’s one of the most easily accessible sites in the area. It can get pretty crowded sometimes. You can boat in, or hike the (approximately) 3 miles. Camp sites right on the lake, looking down valley. Trash cans and bear boxes available. Relaxing place to set up a hammock for the afternoon, or stay a few days.


Great spot in the valley of mountains. Lots of bears in this area but they keep to themselves.

You’ll never find another like it

These campsites are HARD to get to, but it’s worth it. Like, way more worth it than any other campground in the area. There’s a pit toilet, and the sites have rock walls built around them because this area is known to get heavy winds.

Busy but cozy

If you’re backpacking in the southern part of the North Cascades, you’ll probably wander right through this campground. Because of this, it can get a bit crowded in the middle of summer. But if you go earlier or later in the season, it’s lovely. Designated fire areas, near boxes, and you can camp right next to the creek. It’s only 3 miles from Stehekin so it’s nice for a quick overnight trip.

Sites had large parking pad and very spacious

We had a ton of fun with the family here. Would definitely recommend going. Beautiful scenery

So many mosquitos

I got eaten alive but it was pretty

Perfect rest spot for extended North Cascades trips.

I stayed at this campground with my climbing partner for a couple of days after an extended climb of the nearby Mt. Logan. The campground offers usual amenities like running water and bathrooms, and is conveniently located about ten miniutes from the town of Winthrop. There is also a nearby crag that is excellent for top roping or sport leading.

I would be cautious around holidays and three day weekends if you like to avoid crowds :)


Came here for my wife and I’s Anniversary. We had never been to the North Cascades so we were excited to do some camping and hiking together (and our pup). The North Cascades definitely didn’t disappoint. It was amazing here and we will definitely be back. We hiked Blue Lake and Diablo Lake, which both were incredible. Diablo Lake is a beautiful blue color. Dogs are allowed on these two hikes, but make sure to check ahead of time because dogs aren’t allowed on some hikes in the area. It was super busy when we came, so thankfully we reserved our spot ahead of time. We got to the campground and our spot was reserved with a ticket which we thought was nice. The rangers were awesome, directed us to our site as well as tell us hikes in the area to do. Loved it, and will be back.

Wide Variety

There are multiple campground areas within the recreation area ranging from RV camping to hike in areas within the National Forest. The tent camping areas offer a great amount of seclusion while making it easy to move around the recreation area. There are multiple rivers and large lakes for activities or to lull you to sleep as the snow melts fill the river beds. We got incredibly lucky finding this place and will be back. Would recommend waiting until June for camping as it can be quite cold.

Fall Retreat

Very well maintained county campground. One of the best in the NW

Fall Retreat

Very well maintained county campground. One of the best in the NW

Can get busy in peak season

This campground is right next to the visitors center. Overall it's a good campground, but has smaller sites with less privacy than others nearby. Also, this campground is pretty far from most hiking trails which can tack on to your travel time.


Right off the beaten path, very popular. Big sites but prefer it more secluded.

Favorite campground in the area

We loved this campground! In the off-season only a few walk-in sites are available for free. The main restrooms and water are locked up, only a vault toilet is available at this time. Site #64 is the best site, much farther away from the nearest campsite and larger. This campground was very quite during the weekends but got busy on the weekends. Next to a few popular overnight hikes, right on the lake, boat dock access. Beautiful spot!

Cozy campground

Smaller campground with 6 sites on a peninsula in the lake. Boat ramp at the campground, great if you are fishing. There are restrooms only, but these sites are free! Less privacy here since it is right off the road, but a little more sun than other campgrounds that have tree cover which is wonderful if it's raining or snowing!


Talk about an incredible place to visit. Washington is the definition of amazing hiking. The mountains are gorgeous, and the hiking views are hard to beat. The "North Cascades" is a little piece of heaven. The drive in it of itself was like no other drive we have ever done. I was in awe the entire time. The hiking here is beyond amazing. We did Blue Lake and I wanted to do it again the next day because of how amazing it was. Diablo Lake was incredible as well. The water was crystal ice blue. The pictures dont do it justice. The campgrounds on North Cascades were BOOKED! thankfully we reserved our spots ahead of time, reading other reviews that said to do this. There were no campsites available the weekend we went, it was crazy. We had to hike super early to beat the crowds, for sure. I definitely want to come back and do Hidden Lake Lookout, but we had our dog and someone said that wasnt the best hike to do with a young puppy. Maybe when our dog is older! The weather was perfect when we went as well. Clear blue skies!

Popular with hunters

Would not be my first choice if other campgrounds aren't full. This side of the pass gets less rain and snow so it is more popular with hunters. At the time we visited it was full of hunting campers. Right off of hwy 20 with very little tree cover or privacy, some road noise. Campground is on both sides of the hwy.

Easy access to hwy 20

40 sites with large loops about 1 mile off hwy 20. A little more quiet with less road noise than nearby lone fir campground. Campsites are set back in the trees to give more privacy. Fire rings, tables, and toilet available.

Smaller campground with mt view

Right off of hwy 20 on the east side of the pass, this campground see less rain and snow than the other side of the pass. Some hey noise here but has a great Mt view. Smaller sites that are closer together with fire rings and tables.

Blink and you'll miss this spot

Small turn around kind of spot, 6 sites with tent pads and picnic tables. 1 vault toilet. Boat launch accessible to access gorge lake. Which I will say was more like a river due to the dam near by. Even though this site is right off the highway the noise isn’t too bad since you’re right on the water. The sites are pretty close together so I wouldn’t say theres much privacy at this camp ground but its free and I will be back. Right by diablo lake!

camp at diablo lake

This was our first stop of a 7 day road trip! We arrived in the dark and only stayed for the night. Surprisingly there were plenty of open spots! Our site was small, equipped with a bear locker, fire ring and picnic table. The camp ground had flush toilets, the bathrooms were very clean. They also had a garbage and recycling service, and even potable water available. We explored the camp ground during the day. This camp is right at Diablo lake! There were even camp sites right on the water! Fully accessible fishing pier and boat launch. Kayaking was rough as the winds were strong while we were here. Hiking and more available to those that stay. Fishers had a place to clean their catch! We paid 16 dollars for 1 night. Typically camp at dispersed sites but I would certainly stay here again.

Very nice place

Family owned and run. Nice greasy sites, trees, a block up from the charming town of Winthrop. Nice restrooms and laundry.

Hewhalem, WA - A great combination of Hiking and Kayaking - Shore of Skagit

I am a full time employeed engineer. I believe my 30 years of materials and process engineering combined with OEM manufacturing experience of aerospace and automotive platforms combined with my love of camping makes me ideally suited to be a Dyrt Ranger. In my career I do alot of failure analysis and know what goes into a product that delights the customer. Especially, critical gear like a camp stove that needs to light when you want it to, or not become a flaming disaster due to a fuel leak, or a tent that keeps solid during the most violent of wind storms. I have not written a formal campground review but have done a significant amount of camping with my daughter and son throughout the years. My last trip was with my son of 25 years last summer in Northern Cascades National Park. We stayed at Newhalem campground. I live in Wisconsin and he lives in Tacoma, so my usual method is to fill two large army duffles with the camping gear and check it on the plane. I have done it this way for 25 years. I get everything I need in those two bags and they still work. We throw the bags in the truck, stop by the grocery store for provisions, and pitch camp. The problem with Newhalem was that I specifically selected a walk in site to get away from as much noise as possible. Unbeknownst to me there were two other single walk in sites on either side of ours. So the reward for hauling our gear and water into the site was one of our neighbors didn't understand what a single site was nor why people go through the trouble of using them. They turned it into a group site, which unfortunately was highly distracting from the crackling of our campfire. This is so unfortuate, because this is why I like to camp and backpack, to get away from the work pressures and enjoy nature, the fire, the conversation, the quite. Others enjoy the party opportunity and have little regard for anyone who is next to them. Other than that I found the campground very clean, easy to get around and centrally located to the hikes we wanted to complete. Namely, Hidden Lake, Sourdough Mnt.and I believe Blue Lake Trail, but I think I am wrong on the latter. In my 25 years of camping with my kids and my wife, the Northern Cascades are brutal. I have climbed Long's Peak, Sky Pond, Loch Lake, Flat Top Mnt, Hallett Peak, etc. Angles Landing, Observation Point (I one day - just through I would mention it), Hidden Canyon, the Narrows, Zion National Park, Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone, Yosemite Falls Hike, etc. Been caught in a wind storm in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park that bent the poles of my Eureka Timberline 4 man tent. Withstood a tornado in Minacqu, WI where I witnessed a electrical transformer explode from a lightning strike. And had the incredible experience of watching a storm come into Badlands National Park and by evening take over our site with a perpetual lightning storm. But what is different with all of these an many others that doesn't exist in the Northern Cascades is you can actually see your final destination. The destination in the Norther Cascades is typically hidden by trees, and when you think you are making great progress on the incessant switchbacks that climb 1 verticle foot for each step you take, a passing hiker will say, when asked; "oh you are maybe 1/4 of the way there", your heart and mind drop and in the dense forest, coping with the heat you ask where is the end. The Northern Cascades are brutal in the mental and physical games they play with a hiker. But ultimately it was an awesome experience with my son, I flew back to Wisconsin with a lot of great memories. Not a campground review, but the ramblings of an outdoor enthusiast, that loves looking up from the fire to see the stars, and the best mornings are those dry in the sleeping bag listening to rain fall on the tent fly. I have been blessed and love what you guys are doing. Thank you. Sincerely, Rob Hathaway, Oshkosh, WI

Camping w/out Campfires

We stayed at this camp site at the end of August, 2018. There was a burn ban in effect due to wildfires all over the state. it was very smokey which blocked most views but we had no issues breathing and hiking. the trails around the camp site are great. awesome visitor center near by and river access. we camp in our RV and our friends bring tents. our two sites (30 and 32) mentioned they hold three tents each. we had 4 tents and there was NOT enough space! very small camp sites! but we made it work and had fun! there are waterfalls near by at the power plant that lights up at night! Everyone in our group who has Verizon had cell service.

Nice secluded site with great swimming.

Very cool camp site, kind of have to walk through the group site to get to the kybo if you get the south site. It was the farthest north we went on Ross Lake and the place was nice.

Group site was awesome.

It has two bear boxes and two tables, there are three platforms for tents. Cool place just up from the dock. It was deep water off the end of the dock great for jumping in the water.