The west coast has some of the most spectacular scenery in the US. From the high alpine to deserts to rainforests and the California coast, there’s an incredible amount of nature to enjoy.
You have a lot of options when you camp in the west. Each state has something different to offer, and the choices can be a bit overwhelming. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite camping spots to help with that paralysis of choice.
We hope these A-grade campgrounds give you some campsite inspiration.
Alaska – Big Forest, Big Hike
Photo courtesy of TheDyrt user Lindsay B.
Dyea Campground is a great basecamp for the Chilkoot Trail, a must-do Alaskan hike. The Chilkoot is a 33 mile route that starts in Dyea and goes across the border to British Columbia, Canada. It was a major route used by prospectors during the Yukon gold rush, and your experience at the Dyea campground will be full of wide-eyed awe. Alaska will do that to you. Watch out for bears.
Arizona – Rim of the Grand Canyon
Photo courtesy of TheDyrt user Meg S.
Of course the Grand Canyon is on this list. If you’ve never been to the grand canyon, go and camp. It can get very cold at night, so pack appropriately. Research weather during the time of year you plan to go. Mather Campground puts you within a stone’s throw of the south rim, so you will have no problem catching the canyon sunrise and sunset.
Colorado – Black Canyon
Photo courtesy of TheDyrt user Michael K.
Where the Grand Canyon is wide, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Forest is deep. It cuts down into flat land so dramatically that its canyon floor gets at most 33 minutes of direct sunlight each day, hence the name “Black” Canyon. South Rim Campground is one of the best spots to enjoy this underrated gem, but if you camp here, make sure you plan ahead as some sites are reservation only.
Hawaii – Volcano Camping
Photo courtesy of TheDyrt user Christy K.
The Namakanipaio Campground gives you the proximity you need to get an early start on a volcano adventure. There are few things in this world as incredible as waking up in a tent, hiking to a volcano, and watching the living earth breathe. Cabins are available for rent. One word of caution: prepare for rain if you are planning to tent camp. It might not happen, but you’ll be glad you did if it does. When it rains in Hawaii it pours.
Idaho – Lava Camping
Photo courtesy of TheDyrt user Shawn S.
Idaho has some of the most underrated geography in the US. There’s more than just spuds here, folks. Such as the Craters of the Moon National Monument, which is a giant solidified lava field. If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like to be on the moon, you can get a pretty good approximation at this lava flow campground.
Montana – River Fishing
Photo courtesy of TheDyrt user Sasha V.
Basin Campground has everything: incredible hikes, trails upon trails for backpacking and biking, and top grade river fishing. Not to mention it’s in one of the most beautiful areas of Montana, which is itself a beautiful state. With its full range of activities and breathtaking views, you will find peace at Basin.
New Mexico – Mountain Camping
Photo courtesy of TheDyrt user Kelly Z.
Jemez Falls gives you a different taste of New Mexico. Rather than desert, you get up in the high country for some quality mountain time. If you’re picturing Albuquerque, don’t. Think rugged mountains instead. It feels like a completely different state, which is a cool experience if you’re coming from a nearby city.
Washington – Mountain Views
Photo courtesy of TheDyrt user Shawn S.
Mount Rainier is famous for its majesty, and Cougar Rock is the perfect site to enjoy it. With 173 campsites, you will be able to get a high quality campsite with a stellar view. The park is clearly laid out and still wild: despite consistent camper activity, you’ll still see wildlife during your stay.
Wyoming – Grand Tetons and Yellowstone
Photo courtesy of TheDyrt user Paul A.
Signal Mountain Campground is a perfect basecamp for taking in the Tetons and Yellowstone. Located inside Grand Tetons National Park, you are right in the center of it all: pine forests, rolling hills, lakes, and, of course, the mountains. You really couldn’t ask for a better spot to enjoy these American treasures.
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