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I grew up camping here, as a Boy Scout this was a perfect location for many activities.
The campground is located in Capital Forest which is home to lots of hiking, mountain bike, equestrian, and ATV trails. There is even a near by gravel pit owned by the Department of Natural Resources and it is designated for target shooting.
The sites are first come first serve and you okay using and iron ranger.
This dispersed camping is free, huge bonus in my book. While searching for our perfect spot we did come across a few large parties, making us apprehensive that we would experience our ideal peaceful experience, but we were wrong to be. There were dozens of open sites that we had our pick of. A handful of cars drove by throughout the evening and night, but not an outrageous amount. Pretty dang good for very accessible NF camping spots. There are a good deal of trailheads near by, meaning you're never too far from a pit toilet or a bulletin board with information.
We visited in early September and found the weather to be very pleasant. Our view of Mt. St Helen's was obscured by the tall trees that offered our site seclusion and privacy, but we relished the view of the active volcano while driving to and from our site.
Some spots are grassy, some spots are gravel, but all are extremely tight. They have a boat launch that you dont have to be camping there to use, just pay a fee and launch your boat, so some sketchy people end up wandering around. Shower house costs to gain access to and is absolutely filthy. Staff, however, is very friendly. Would not recommend.
We stay every year in May when when do our annual St. Helens climb. Nice bathrooms with wonderful shower, which we love after the climb. Close to a great restaurant, a bar, a gas station, trails, Yale lake, etc. The new owners are super friends and have done a lot of work on the property to add more sites. I always enjoy my stay there.
Nice family park for camping, swimming, fishing, hiking, and limited hiking in old growth and 2nd generation forest.
When venturing to Mount St Helens area I wanted to find a campground relatively close by to stay before visiting the next day. I found Lewis and Clark State Park along the way and opted to give it a shot for an overnight. The site looked comfortable and quiet and was well shaded and welcoming.
Pulling into the campground I noticed several areas to enjoy recreationally alongside camping including public park areas with covered outdoor kitchen zones perfect for those enjoying the area for day use. Additionally there were several areas with play equipment and outdoor activities for singles or the family to enjoy.
Pulling into the camping loop area sites were well spaced and shaded by large vibrant trees. Soft mosses lined walkways and created a feeling of being deep into the forest without being far removed from actual civilization and it was a nice departure from many of the more commercial looking camps of the area which lacked the forest feel.
The camp site I chose was equipped with the standard amenities of a picnic table and fire ring and the pull in section was just large enough for my smaller car. Throughout camp I did notice some sites were designed specifically for tent campers while others would cater better to larger units. Something unique about this location was it offered bike in campers sites as well with much smaller pull in areas but just as much space to spread out and set up their tents.
The bath house was very nice as it was heated and had hot water, though when I was there I did encounter a slight concern with using this bathhouse because there was a current e coli water warning which was displayed throughout camp on all water spigots. This left me more than a little leary about using the water in the bathroom turning what could have been a warm amazing shower into a bit of a concerning experience.
Because of this concern I noticed they had hand sanitizer placed in the restrooms, which was a great concession considering the issue at hand.
While this was a campsite I did enjoy, I feel as though with the water concerns I could not fully embrace all the features of camp which did hinder me slightly from fully being able to embrace all of the options. Should I return to this area I would check in advance to see if the water was a concern before staying another night.
The campground, like many in the area, advocate recycling. Not only will you find trash cans and dumpsters throughout camp but you will also find recycling barrels scattered throughout camp. I truly enjoyed this feature of the park as it is making a difference in the bigger picture and you can commonly find items created from recycled items such as benches and tables located throughout various state parks as continued improvements occur.
All in all, for someone just wanting to enjoy a night at a quiet campground this would be a great one to check out in the area. While it lacks some of the amenities of other campgrounds in the area which are more destination style camps it has a lot of charm for those wanting to enjoy fun with family or friends in a more traditional camping style.
- Check in advance for water related issues not only at this campground but others in the area.
- Make a stop just before the entrance of the park at the Jackson House Historic Site. This site is a major portion of the area’s rich history and with several unique signs which walk you through the significance of the area you will be enriched by this short stop.
- Make sure you have a Discover Pass!! Any stay in Washington you will want to make sure you have this pass.