This article about Gifford Pinchot National Forest camping is brought to you by NCamp. Their collection of camp kitchen equipment has everything you need to enjoy your time at one of these great campgrounds.


Gifford Pinchot National Forest camping is the best way to appreciate the breathtaking scenery of southwest Washington. The forest spans over a million acres, with outdoor recreation, photo opportunities, and incredible panoramas. It’s a great place to explore the volcanic mountains of the Pacific Northwest. While most people flock to Mount Hood National Forest and the Columbia Gorge, Gifford Pinchot National Forest remains a relatively unspoiled gem. Check out these Gifford Pinchot National Forest camping spots to make the most of your trip.

The Best Gifford Pinchot National Forest Camping


1. Lower Falls Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Amanda W.

Lower Falls Campground is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, on the banks of the Lewis River. The campground is tucked between lush evergreens, providing ample shade and privacy. They have sites for tents and RVs up to 60 feet. Sites come with fire rings, vault toilets, and drinking water. You’re right next to the Lewis River, where you can drop a kayak or fish for trout. You’ll also find several trails that meander through the forest and along the river. The main feature is Lower Lewis River Falls, a picturesque waterfall that flows over boulders and logs. Middle Falls and Upper Falls are close by, as well.

“This place is stunning! The drive up was really pretty and our campsite was great (#35, upper loop). Upper loop is where you want to book for sure — the sites are bigger and more dispersed. Easy access to the falls & trails. Lower falls is so beautiful and has lots of space to post up for the day. Bathrooms, water, trash were all good. Will definitely revisit this spot.”Amanda W.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $15-35
  • Number of sites: 43
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

2. Timberlake Campground & RV Park

Image from The Dyrt camper Levi M.

Timberlake Campground & RV Park is east of Stevenson, on the Washington-Oregon border. The campground is set back from the bustle in a wooded area. They have sites for tents and RVs of all sizes. Amenities include full hookups, Wi-Fi, flush toilets, and showers. The Columbia River Gorge is down the street, where you can see some of the most magnificent views in the Pacific Northwest. The Gorge features outdoor activities for everyone. You’re only a few miles from parks, hiking areas, and Multnomah Falls. Timberlake is a quiet basecamp for exploring the scenic Columbia River Gorge.

“A bit of a drive to get there but worth it. Extremely well-run campground in a beautiful setting with good access to the town of Hood River. Thoroughly enjoyed our stay and wish we could have stayed longer. Poor cell service but good Wi-Fi. Our camp host (Harold) was great. He noticed we were traveling with mountain bikes and was kind enough to lead us to some great trails just outside of Hood River. If I’m in the area again, I would definitely like to stay here for a few more days.”Todd

Campground Details:

  • Price: $37-57
  • Number of sites: 65
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

3. Cougar Rock Group Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Christopher D.

Cougar Rock Group Campground is on the south end of Mount Rainier National Park, on the Paradise side. The campground lies on the banks of the Nisqually River, next to the Wonderland Trailhead. There are single sites for tents and RVs up to 35 feet and group sites. You get fire rings, picnic tables, flush toilets, and drinking water. You’re right down the street from the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center and some of Washington’s best trails. Mount Rainier is a towering glacial mountain with magnificent scenic vistas and wildlife. Cougar Rock is the perfect spot to enjoy the best of Mount Rainier and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

“Perfect jumping off point to explore and hike Longmire and Paradise areas of Rainier. The campsites are clean and well maintained. We used our teardrop trailer on loop C of the campground. Not a ton of privacy but certainly not crammed in together with plenty of wooded area behind each site. Recommend for either tent or RV camping at Rainier.”Emma H.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $20-60
  • Number of sites: 178
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

4. Takhlakh Lake Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Bek K.

Takhlakh Lake Campground is at the base of Mount Adams, next to Takhlakh Lake. From the lake, you can enjoy commanding views of Mount Adams. Sometimes you can also see Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. This rustic campground has sites for tents and RVs up to 40 feet. Sites come with picnic tables, vault toilets, and fire rings. It’s a popular spot for hikers, with several top-notch trails within walking distance — the perfect basecamp for adventurers exploring Mount Adams and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The lake is an excellent spot for kayaking, fishing, and swimming. If you’re looking for a postcard-worthy campground that eases the soul, Takhlakh Lake is the place for you.

“The lake is beautiful with a killer view of Mt. Adams and we were able to hike and SUP from camp. We camped in our 30-foot trailer. This campground can technically accommodate trailers of this size but it’s not a great idea to bring one in. The place is hard to get to, but is very beautiful. The lake is warm and the views are so pretty. We spent much more time than planned getting in and out of the area so plan for that. If you are a fishing person, it looked like everyone was doing really well out on the water, I saw multiple people with several fish.”Stephanie B.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $20-32
  • Number of sites: 54
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

This article about Gifford Pinchot National Forest camping is brought to you by NCamp. Look out for their newest camp kitchen accessories coming soon.


5. Iron Creek Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Tyler D.

Iron Creek Campground is nestled in an old-growth stand of douglas firs, near the confluence of Iron Creek and the Cispus River. The campground has spacious sites for tents and RVs up to 40 feet. Amenities include fire rings, vault toilets, and drinking water. You’re not far from Mount St. Helens, where you can learn the fascinating history of volcanoes and explore the mountain’s trails. Iron Creek is great for trout, and the Cispus River is a popular spot for kayaking. You can also check out the nature trail that winds through the campground. With all the natural features and wildlife in the area, there’s something for everyone in your family.

“The campground is super quiet and allows you to get away from it all. There are no services and no cell phone reception so come expecting that. The roads are rough as you cross into the National Park so watch your speed, especially with a trailer. The site has a great trail that provides access to Iron Creek from anywhere on the grounds, although B Loop seemed to be the closest to the water. The sites are not too close together and you have some privacy. This is an excelled location”Robert K.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $22-40
  • Number of sites: 98
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

6. Panther Creek Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Jeff K.

Panther Creek Campground is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, along the shores of Panther Creek. There are campsites for tents and RVs up to 25 feet. Sites come with picnic tables, vault toilets, and drinking water. You have immediate access to the creek, where you can dip your toes in or cast your reel. And the Pacific Crest Trail runs alongside the campground. The main attraction is Panther Creek Falls, a cascading waterfall straight out of a fairytale. You’re also near Mount Adams, the Columbia River Gorge, and Carson Hot Springs. Panther Creek is a secluded camping spot that puts you front and center to some of Washington’s best scenic areas.

“Honestly not sure what we were expecting when we stayed here last weekend, but WOW it could be our new favorite. Quiet, secluded, somewhat close (less than two hours from home), and beautiful. Situated on the Pacific Crest Trail, we hiked a bit of it and met a few people who had been hiking for months, starting on the Mexico border! Gorgeous stretch of the trail! The creek is pristine. Dogs had fun cooling off after our hike. You couldn’t camp here with a larger RV. Our 30-footer maxed out the parking spot and was the only one we saw. Most come with tents or pop-up trailers. Great specs for multiple tents. We will definitely be back here soon.”L & K S.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $20-36
  • Number of sites: 52
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

7. Walupt Lake Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Bobak K.

Walupt Lake Campground is on the east end of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, on the shores of Walupt Lake. There are lakeside sites for tents and RVs up to 40 feet. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets. Many sites have their own private beach that connects to the lake’s beach. The lake is a beautiful shade of azure, surrounded by rugged mountain peaks — the ultimate alpine experience. You can use the boat ramp for fishing or swim in the lake or hike the nearby trails. Walupt Lake is a great spot for campers exploring Mount Adams, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, or Goat Rocks Wilderness.

“Amazing campsite with a good amount of lakeside camps. Staying in sites 41 to 44 guarantees amazing sunrise and sunset views. The lake water is crystal clear. Excellent location if you enjoy hiking. Closest grocery store is in Randal about 2hrs away so plan accordingly.”Bobak K.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $16-32
  • Number of sites: 42
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

8. Sunset Falls Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Brian C.

Sunset Falls Campground is on the western edge of Gifford Pinchot National Forest, on the banks of the Lewis River. The campground has shaded sites for tents and RVs up to 22 feet. Sites come with picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets. The main draw is Sunset Falls, a charming cascade of water that flows into the Lewis River. It’s a short walk to the falls on paved ground. You’re also near the Silver Star hiking area, where you’ll find some of the most stunning views in southern Washington. You can drop a kayak into the river or cast your reel in Zigzag Lake or Canyon Creek. Sunset Falls is a beautiful spot that highlights the views and recreation of Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

“I love this little campground. There are ten spots on the right that are all pull-throughs (for tents or small trailers). The sites don’t have a ton of privacy, but they have tables and such, enough room (some are much larger than others), and half of them are right overlooking the Lewis River. The walk-in sites are a very short walk from the parking lot, so unless you need your car or trailer, they’re a pretty great way to go. And finally, there’s a day-use area just a short walk away with absolutely amazing views of a sweet waterfall. There are pit toilets, but bring your own water.”Corinna B.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $16
  • Number of sites: 18
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

 

Gifford Pinchot National Forest camping is the best way to enjoy southwest Washington’s rivers, valleys, lakes, and mountains. You won’t be disappointed.

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