THE BEST CAMPING NEAR
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, WASHINGTON
363 Reviews 274 Campgrounds
Camping Washington Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Retrieving Results
EXPLORE
Most Recent Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Camping Reviews
Total seclusion, not around anymore

I loved this place. The drive up was rough, steep, and slick. I would never attempt with a trailer or even cab over camper. We took the tent and my Subaru Crosstrek up, took it slow and did just fine.

There were a lot of large downed trees being cut by the forest service scattered everywhere. Two loops of campsites, roughly 20 in all. Two very rustic pits and one typical vault toilet near the Rainier View Trail trailhead that departs from the parking lot at the beginning of the campground. No water, power, trash, tables, metal fire rings, or really people up here.

Total, almost creepy seclusion. We saw no animals either. A couple multi day trip backpackers came passing through.

Unfortunately, the large Norse Peak wildfire swept through in 2017. This road is permanently closed. I hear you can park and walk the roughly 6 miles up past the gate to the former campground. Not much left up there for camping. Maybe the Forest Service will reopen it someday? If so, it's worth the drive for the peace and quiet or to do what you do with a group and not be disturbed.

Epicenter for Summer River Floaters

Eastern Washington near the water is my favorite type of landscape.  It's a hot, windy, and a true desert climate.  When you get near a body of water like you do along the Yakima River, the diversity of life expands and makes for great wildlife watching.

Umtanum Recreation Site is part of several BLM campgrounds lumped together along the Yakima River known as the Yakima River Canyon Campgrounds.  All can be reserved ahead of time via the reservation.gov website:  https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/250985.  Standard for most BLM camping in Washington, sites are very basic.  Gravel parking, pit toilets, and a picnic table.  This place does have a dumpster for trash, not all do.  There are no hook ups, no drinking water, and in our case, very little shade.  Neighbors are close and there is not a lot of privacy.  The day use area is right there too, close to camping and can be loud.  It is heavily patrolled by the wonderful BLM folks to keep everything clean and the people orderly.  They also give out tickets if you don't mind the warnings for correct passes or day use fees.

The campground itself is one little loop with six sites.  The loop is an offshoot of a very large gravel parking area for day use.  Mostly boat launching and hiking access to Umtanum Creek and Umtaum Ridge trails.   You can check the Information Board for rules on day use and camping fees, passes, and how to check to see if a site is reserved. 

We arrived on July 3rd in the afternoon.  The campground was very quiet and all the sites were reserved.  The morning of July 4th, the recreation site turned into a total madhouse.  BLM Rangers, Law Enforcement, making constant rounds to patrol the never ending hoards of people coming to park and float the river. There was a lot of noise, dust, drunk and rowdy folks.  Friday was calm again until afternoon, Saturday was not as bad as the 4th but still pretty crazy.  It was also hot!  No shade to be had in our site.  After hiking in the morning, we spent a lot of time across the bridge, in it's shadow, in the river.  

If you are using this spot as a base to do some hiking, fishing, or floating it's very convenient.  I am sure in Spring and Fall when river floating is not at it's peak, it's gorgeous and peaceful.  The raptors and songbirds are splendid.  We saw Bighorn sheep on the hill, big rock squirrels, wild turkeys with babies, and fish.  No rattlesnakes or ticks, but this is prime territory.  Hiking down the Umtanum Creek trail, over the suspension bridge, is one of my favorite hikes ever.

Great campground!

Great campground. Tons of great hiking, swimming, and fun around. There’s a little store not too far for beer and snacks, and jet ski rentals across from the store. Toilets were clean and it wasn’t too noisy, thanks to camp hosts. The campground doesn’t offer a lot of privacy between most sites, and there is noise from the road, but if you can handle that, it’s a great place to camp! Nice trail next to site 1 takes you to the creek and then to the lake.

My Favorite place

The sites at Lower Johnny Creek aren’t too close together. Short hike to the Icicle River if it’s not at the back of your campsite. We saw deer close to this site. Not good for campers longer than 24ft. This campground is for dry-camping

Big private sites.

Campground caters to atv riders with trails and large sites with extra parking.

Great campground for smaller RV's

Great remote campground for smaller RV's. No hookups or water. We went in the beginning of the week and were alone most of the time.

I've been going here sense i was kid. It was my dads favorite place to go to relax and cool off after a long day at work during the summer

It has always been really clean. Everyone packs thier garbage out and i always see people picking up anything that was left behind.

Awsome cabin

No water, just electricity. Outhouse needed cleaned out. And the entrance getting into the driveway is a little scary, big hole in the middle stay to the side. Other than that had a great time

Disappointing

This place is terribly managed. A tree that was rotten fell in our campsite almost crushing a dog and crushed our chair. They offered 12.95 refund then Rhonda the manager refused to give it after I patiently waited for them to process the refund that never happened saying I waited too long.(2 1/2 weeks) She was rude and very unprofessional. I do not recommend staying here. Poorly maintained and The Artillery fire all through the night is just great to

Disappointing

This place is terribly managed. A tree that was rotten fell in our campsite almost crushing a dog and crushed our chair. They offered 12.95 refund then Rhonda the manager refused to give it after I patiently waited for them to process the refund that never happened saying I waited too long.(2 1/2 weeks) She was rude and very unprofessional. I do not recommend staying here. Poorly maintained and The Artillery fire all through the night is just great to

Our favorite spots, great sites, easy access to the lake

It's been our favorite campground for years, but recently last year, the park removed all the flushing toilets, and replaced with vaulted toilets! 

Pros

- Close to Seattle about 1.5 hr - 2 hrs away depending on traffic.

- It has numbers of walk-in sites with great access to the lake.

- Lots of loop for kids to ride bike and explore.

- Great access to many hiking trail near by like Pacific Crest Trail(PCT) can be accessed near the campground and Racheal Lake trail head is only 15 mins drive away. 

- Great for kayak, canoe, paddle board, or just chill and swim in the lake. 

- Friendly rangers and comp hosts. 

- Campground is always clean. 

- Most campsites have great privacy, you are not right on top of your neighbor. 

- Most loops within a walking distance to lake access except Beargrass loop.

- Hardly cell phone service is a plus for us, unless you are at the beach or boat launches. 

Cons

- Vaulted toilets … (we don't mind vaulted toilets, but it used to have flushing toilets until 2017). 

- Very busy, hard to make get a reservation. Most walk-in campsites will be filled up by Friday morning. 

- In 2018, camp hosts no longer sell firewood (not sure if this still the case). We used to be able to get firewoods on the way in, but the last 2 times we went there this year, no one is selling firewood outside of the campground either. We had to drive to Easton to get firewood.

- Dogs are not allow at the main beach (most campgrounds now have this rules but there aren't many off to the side area where dogs can hang out and you can watch your kids at the same time). Although some camp hosts do not enforce this rule, until the beach gets really busy.

Nice large state park campground with lots of activities

Lake Wenatchee State Park is comprised of two campgrounds: south and north, separated by the Wenatchee River. We stayed in the North campground so this review focuses primarily on this one. We were here the last weekend in June and I believe I reserved the last available site back in March. Many families were staying with kids riding their bikes and scooters around the loops which made us reminisce about when our kids did the same. The sites have varying amounts of privacy; the ones on the outside have more privacy because there is no one behind you. There is an algorithm that determines the price based on the ascertained popularity of the site but honestly, I could not figure out how it worked (we paid $32 for a non-hookup site (I believe the hookup sites are on the outside of the loops). While none of the sites have river or lake views, there are easily accessible paths to get to both. While we came for nearby hiking, there is boating (the launch is located in the south campground, I believe), swimming, and fishing. The bathrooms were clean and had my three necessary amenities: soap, hand dryers, and a garbage can. Showers are available for a fee based on how much time you want. Firewood is available from the host when on duty and the host was very friendly. Even though the campground was full, it was quiet at night save for some people talking. We had a pleasant stay here.

Great Spot for a Night Passing Through

We stayed here one night while passing through. It is in a great location near Mt Rainier for a fraction of the price of closer campgrounds. It was very small, but very lush between sites which made it extremely private. Some spots are right on the river, but don't expect to lounge by it in your chair. There is only a short narrow opening and the riverbank is lush and rocky. We picked the spot at the very end on the roundabout (can't remember the number) and it was extremely private. Was very nice to hear the river throughout the night! Recommend for a night or two, but a bit cramped for anything more. Halfway-roughing it camping. There is a pit toilet, main shared water spigot, and dumpsters.

Noisy freeway, Small site, strict but very clean campground

The campground is very clean and well maintained. I felt like I was in the city. The campsites are small and cramped together, typical state park I guess. There’s playground by the lake and boat launch, but you have to either ride a bike or drive there, there’s no actual trail connect from camp loop to the play area. The ranger was very strict and came around often to Check on dogs, tent on tent pad. The site we got was not near freeway but it was still noisy. Keep in mind, we like camping where we can stretch out and not have to worry about the neighbors.

Campground Map

This is a great campground located on Icicle Creek. We have stayed several times but for the life of me couldn't remember the best sites. It appears the campground map is not available on recreation.gov so I contacted the Leavenworth Ranger Station, you are welcome!

Ranger Review: Grubstick Master Kit at Upper Bumping Lake Campground

Campground Review:

Bumping Lake is a beautiful area of the Cascade Mountains and the campground itself is pretty large.  There are two sections, Upper and Lower.  When I was looking online researching which part of the campground I wanted to reserve, I could not figure out what was on the water or what was closest.  I got so lucky with site 43!!!  Site 43, 44, and 45 are in a separate little loop in the Upper Campground right on the lake.  From the number of reserved signs after ours, I would say the secret is out.  3,5,7,8,9, and 10 are also technically on the lake, but they are quite a bit above the shore.  You can get a peek of the lake, but you have a little walk through the woods to get down to the water.   The Upper Campground has no hook ups, vault toilets, water spigots throughout.  The sites were nicely spaced and wooded.  The Lower Campground is not on Bumping Lake and seems to be set a bit more for RV camping with pull through sites, mostly paved pads, and a bit closer together than the Upper.  Same as Upper, no hook ups and vault toilets.

The campground is clean and well maintained by the folks at Hoodoo Recreation.  They checked the vault toilets several times per day and also have fire wood for sale at their host site.  The campground also has a really nice Day Use / Picnic area and Boat Launch. It was still chilly in mid June and there were plenty of open sites.  I would imagine this is a very popular campground in the summer.  We reserved through recreation.gov but hoodoorecreation.com will do the job as well.

Bumping Lake Marina is not part of the campground but is on the other side of the lake just down the road.  There is a little store with firewood, snacks, non alcoholic drinks, and fishing tackle.  You can also rent a little boat from them if you would like fish the lake.

Product Review:

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, occasionally I get to test products.  This trip I got to play with The Master Kit from Grubstick: https://grubstick.com/products/master-kit .  It arrived in a nice nylon storage bag.  My immediate thought was this would be a really nice gift!  Maybe a wedding present for a couple who loves to camp!  I took everything out, washed it, and planned my meals.  We made bacon cups with cheesy scrambled eggs and pico, burgers and veggies in the cages, hotdogs (of course!) and crescent roll tubes as buns.  We did not make s'mores even though we brought the ingredients.  However, we did make the S'Maffle that I found on their website under recipes.  Oh man!  What a treat!  For the most part, everything worked really well, cleaned nicely, and was well built.

I had an issue with one of my Gubsticks.  As soon as we telescoped it, right out of the package, it fell apart.  After we got home from camping I sent Grubstick and email.  I let them know what happened and I also gave them suggestion for the Master Kit.  A huge reason I bought the big kit was so my husband and I could make meals at the same time and eat together.  This kit only came with one bacon clip.  As we made breakfast, it took forever with one clip to make four cups.  As a suggestion, I felt like the big kit should come with 2 clips.  Randy emailed me back right away.  He not only sent me a replacement stick, but 2 more clips and another Grubpocket!  Now we can have bacon together for breakfast and beyond!  

This is such a fun product.  I am looking forward to trying the other recipes they have on their blog and thinking of creative new things to make.  I am hoping this lasts years to come.  Their customer service is top notch, beyond expectations.  My outdoorsy friends will most likely be getting Grubstick kits in the future!

Northwest Parsdise

Beautiful lake to experience a peaceful retreat with friends and family.

Dispersed Camping Haven

I stayed at the regular salmon la sac campground and loved the beautiful area and proximity to Seattle. The next week I went again but scouted around for dispersed (free) camping spots on this road up to the lake. There are so many of them with river access I lost count. For safety reasons me and my friend wanted one out of sight of the road, not a lot of those but we found a great one. Got chased by a female mule deer on the way to the lake and had to run back to the campsite but other than that a great trip!

Watch out though with the elevation increase it can be really cold at night.

For people who love to fish

Love this place, the lake, the campground, the campsite store. It’s so nice to camp in a place where they have row boats to rent and fish with. The lake is so full of fish, there’s no way you get skunked. So much wildlife around, we saw big horn rams, osprey, bald eagles, marmots, and all sorts of birds and fish. This place has everything.

Huge grounds w/ rentals availble!

All the sites here were beautiful many different spots to access the water. There were kayak and paddle board rentals availble at the main beach. We rented a double kayak for 2 hours for $45! Kayak the island and check it out if you have time. Also plan on spending a day in Leavenwoeth since it is only a 20 minute drive away!

Amazing views

This campground is located on the small side of the lake where there is a lot of nice views and places to swim. I loved all the trails and walking paths to travel down. My only complaints would be that there is limited sandy parts to swim and that we could hear people speeding around and yelling out on their motor boats up until 2am.

Family friendly

Great spot not too far from thr city of Maple Valley. The showers and bathrooms and nice and updated. The river has some great trails to walk on and nice swimming spots! I definitley suggest venturing around the river to find other places to swim than the main one which can get crowded with multiple families.

Quite campground

Great quite campground. We were there Monday thru Thursday and we were the only ones there for half the time. Close to the river. The river noise will lull you to sleep. Only reason I didn't give a 5 star is the fire pits are totally not useable for grilling. The grills are 2.5 feet off the ground. y You would need to have a raging fire to reach. We always bring our grill of our home bbq. So we used wire to hang our grill under so it was closer to the fire. Lots of chipmunks and birds. So secure your food even in your trailer. We had an unwanted guest destory a loaf of bread in our popup over night. While the river was too shallow for fishing there are places close by that have plenty of trout. Close to Boulder Cave.

Great campsite

It has waterfalls. Two great little campsites. One right by the river

Lovely area, Not too far from seattle

Stayed at this campground this week and had a really great time. Many of the sites at this campground are on the river but the non-river campsites were really nice as well. Potable water and drop toilets available. Lots and lots of hiking nearby! The campground is also very close to the ranger station so information abounds. Did the Beckler Peak trail and really loved the view up top!

Great for orv camping

Direct access to Manastash trail head bring your jeeps dirtbikes quads and utvs best riding in the state

Awesome desert getaway

Amazing area for free camping (must have Discover pass) great for fishing and wildlife viewing. Many birds and interesting plants. Great place for group camping as well.

Ranger Review: GCI Waterside Pod Rocker with Sunshade at French Cabin Creek

Ranger Review: GCI Waterside Pod Rocker with Sunshade at French Cabin Creek Dispersed Camping

Camping Review: 5 stars

We have nothing but love for French Cabin Creek (F.C.C.) dispersed camping zone!

From our home (Seattle area) to the camp zone typically takes less than 2 hours to arrive, horrific I-90 weekend traffic not included.

The F.C.C. dispersed camping zone can be found by crossing the first bridge off the Salmon la Sac Road, located between the Cle Elum River and Red Mountain Campgrounds. 

Once you arrive in the zone most of the camps are located along either Howson Creek, Little Salmon la Sac River or the backside of Lake Cle Elum.  They are available for camping from May to mid-November. Each camp we’ve stayed in offers waterfront camping, at least 2 parking spots, 2+ cleared spots for tents, trees for hammocks, usually 1 fire ring or more, and a honey-bucket somewhere nearby. 

We really enjoy camping here because it’s off the main road so it’s much quieter than the campgrounds right off Salmon la Sac Road, plus the river drowns out most of the noise from any loud camp neighbors.

The F.C.C. dispersed camping zone is located nearby the local Salmon la Sac swimming hole and Lake Cle Elum, so you have plenty of water activity options close at hand. We typically see folks’ kayak, raft, even SUP-board by our camp on their way down to the lake. Kayak and SUP rentals are available in the towns of Cle Elum and Roslyn for $50 daily.

Did I mention there are several hiking trails located close to the F.C.C. camp zone as well; Pete Lake trail, Salmon la Sac trail, Domerie Peak trail, French Cabin Creek trail and Thorp Creek/Little Joe Lake trail, just to name a few.

No forest passes are needed to stay in the F.C.C. dispersed camping zone so camping is truly free (unless you find yourself at a trailhead, then you will need a Northwest Forest Pass for the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest, be warned)!

Now just a few last-minute gentle reminders (since this is a dispersed camping zone) that there will be NO: running water, RV hookups or dump stations, no trash bins (pack it in/pack it out), picnic tables, fire pit grills, and on occasion a few more campfire restrictions than in the local campgrounds.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/okawen/recarea/?recid=57515

Gear Review: 4.5 stars

As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I occasionally get to test out products to review – I recently tested the GCI Pod Rocker with Sunshade and boy am I in love with this chair!

The chair is as described, a beachside rocking chair with a positional SPF sun blocking shade but GCI did a really great job designing this chair! 

The chair has a large comfortable seat holding up to a 250 lb. adult. The rocking mechanism is fantastic, rocking smoothly and quietly all weekend long on my first trip out. I was even able to set the chair up on uneven ground and continue rocking away while watching the river and kayakers float past our camp. 

I am super fair skinned and tend to burn through clothing and sunscreen, so having an extra layer of protection from the sun in the form of the SPF UV blocking sunshade is a real-life saver for me! My husband laughed all weekend at me, as I happily readjusted my sunshade time and again to stay safe and sunburn-free. 

Another little plus I love about the GCI Pod Rocker with Sunshade is the cool side pouch made to hold your phone and a beverage, which is super convenient for all-day lounging.  

When you are done using your Pod Rocker for the day, the chair easily folds up and fits into a travel bag with shoulder strap for opportune travel capability. 

Now the only complaint I have with the chair is the color.  After a weekend camping, leaving it out overnight, I awoke to the seat covered in sticky pine needles that left slight stains on the light aqua colored fabric.  Then there was the wild incident when our ketchup bottle lid flew off and sprayed me and the chair in ketchup, that also left its mark on the light-colored chair fabric.

My husband’s complaint with the chair is that he feels too hunched over when sitting in it for long periods of time. He said he feels like the chair won’t allow him to sit up straight. Now I don’t know if that is because he is so tall, at 6’4” or just how he fit in the chair but I am 5’6” and didn’t experience this problem. So, I’m guessing it’s more him and his height or long skinny frame?

Beautiful!

This place is one of our favorites! Very clean, nice shop, lots of walking trails and plenty of fields for games and hanging out with the family. Lots of water activities too!