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.
Be forewarned that this is a tent only campground. We showed up with our VW Eurovan (smaller than half the pickup trucks parked there) and were immediately lectured on not having a tent. I apologized for the misunderstanding and was allowed to stay, but made to feel very unwelcome. Patrol (Sheriff, private security, and camp hosts in golf carts) seemed to come around every 30 minutes or so. We had nothing to hide, but the feeling of constant surveillance detracts from the quiet relaxation we were seeking. With all of this surveillance you would think that getting a good night’s sleep would be easy, but the campsites are close together and there’s no real enforcement of quiet hours. All of that being said, the surrounding area is beautiful and the access to the lake is a nice plus. This place has great potential, but needs new management.
Ranger Review: Nature’s Coffee Kettle at Cougar Campground.
This was my first time at Cougar campground. The fee is $21/night. We got site #36 site with some trees, no real noise of the road, felt fairly private. The sites are somewhat far apart though I could see into my neighbor's campground.
Amenities: fire pit, wooden picnic tables, dish washing water, garbage, hot showers, toilets, potable water, boat launch, swim area. The campground is in good repair and they do have quiet time rules.
Nearby there is the south side of Mount Saint Helens, with all the hiking: Lava Canyon, Ape Canyon, Ape Caves…and much, much more. The campground had a trail but I didn't get time to explore it. The campground is right on a lake, which means I went for a swim at dusk - it was spectacular.
As a Ranger for the Dyrt, from time to time I get to test products. At Cougar Campground, I tested Nature’s Coffee Kettle
What I liked about camping with Nature’s Coffee Kettle:
It’s incredibly lightweight. I used this for car camping but given how lightweight it is, I could see it being popular for backpacking.
It's better than instant coffee and yet almost as quick to make.
They have a variety of coffees. Over the course of this vacation I have had the Sumatra, Columbian, Brazilian Hazelnut, Brazilian Blueberry Guatemalan and French Roast. They also have tea, hot chocolate and hot apple cider.
It’s really easy to use. The directions are right on the ‘kettle’. In addition, if like me, you struggle with paper explanations, there is a handle YouTube tutorial right on their Website.
It is re-sealable, which is great if you are in a rush and want to bring your coffee with you.
This was a really nice and sheltered campground very close to Mt St Helens. It lies on Yale lake so lots of swimming possibilities.
There are plenty of campsites to choose from, all having fire pits and picnic tables. There is a water way separating the single campsites from the group site, so if you are looking at getting a group site, this is a great spot to get it at. But if you are looking at a single site, look at site 44 or 45.
There are flushing toilets, showers and a playground for kids. Lots of parking, day use areas and a decent boat ramp.
We booked this camp site 6 month before arrival, very popular site. Stayed there for 4 days. The camp is very nice, shady and walking distance from big lake. Facilities:showers, toilets, water supply for each few camp sites. Every camp site have fire place and table. There are a lot of activities around: hiking and biking St. Helens mountain area; all kind of water activities on Yale lake.
The thing that makes this a nice Campground in the lake. However… because it is so close to a couple of small towns it does tend to attract a less well-behaved crowd. On two separate occasions staying there I had trouble with people being up very late in campgrounds making a lot of noise until well after midnight while other people are trying to sleep. And there was no particular enforcement of that rule. This is the kind of place you stay in the future when you need a place to camp but did not have time to plan well ahead.
I was on a 4 day backpacking trip and stayed at this campsite with a group of people. The weather does change very fast in the park so bring extra layers. There is fire rings tables and restrooms
Cougar is at the base of Mt St Helens on Yale Reservoir on the Lewis River. Tent only sites so keeps the big guys out. Every time we have been there it has been quiet and beautiful. The lake is big and very accessible. Take your mountain bikes and head to St Helens for tough but amazing rides.