Stephanie Z.
Portland, OR
Joined August 2016
I love to camp all around the world, and always with my hammock.
Amazing Lake Views!

Willaby Campground is right on Quinalt Lake in the southern part of Olympic National Park -- a great spot to hit if you're coming into the peninsula from Oregon or Southern Washington.

Campsites are in a big loop that is on a slope, and some of the sites have amazing views right overlooking the lake. It's a small campground.

The are plenty of hiking options around the area and lots of lake activities. Willaby makes a great base for seeing the whole Quinalt area. There is a national park lodge on the lake with beautiful gardens just a short walk away, and the small town has a little general store that has a little deli and Free WIFI! After not having internet for a few days, we might have spent a little bit too much time in the general store instead of in the campground!

First to Review
Roadside Overnight Rest Area

There's not much happening at Shelton Wayside, but it makes for a quiet night of camping if you're passing through Eastern Oregon. It feels more like a roadside overnight rest area than a place where you'd go as a destination for a camping adventure.

Shelton Wayside calls itself primitive camping -- mostly it's a field along a hillside with a bunch of picnic tables and fire rings cut from old metal drums. Sites seem to be designated by where there is a picnic table. There is no delineation between sites. There is a water point, pit toilets, and garbage cans.

The campground is self registration only and cash is required.$20 and $5 for an extra vehicle. It gets cheaper if you stay an extra night, but we can't really figure out why you'd want to stay here for any longer than a stop over.

Bring your bike!

Champoeg State Park is on the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, and a great place to camp if you want to do a long biking getaway. The campground is pretty full service for a state park. You can buy ice and firewood onsite, and there is a small store that is a short walk away. There is also a children's playground and lots of bike paths.

What Champoeg is lacking is atmosphere. Since you're in the valley, the campground is mostly just flat land with very little tree cover. You'll definitely be able to see your neighbors whether you're in the tent or rv area.

Biking the loop to St. Paul is a fun countryside ride. The location is also pretty accessible to wine country.

Sleep here and hike Salmon Creek

Green Canyon is a very easily accessible campground from Portland which can make it hard to get a site on the weekend! It's a great base for doing the Salmon Creek hike or just chilling out by the riverside. Some of the sites are right on the river so you can go to bed listening to the river run.

The campground location right off of HWY 26 on the way up to Mt Hood near Welches makes it convenient to get away for a quick trip, yet really feel like you've escaped the city. There's a subway right at the turn off in case you have a food emergency, and a grocery market not too far away. You're also not too far from Sandy if you need to pick anything up on your way in.

Sites are wooded and have standard fire rings and picnic tables and are decently sized.

Lots of Camping and Hiking Variety

Tettegouche has lots of camping options -- walk in, cart in, RV, and drive in. We drove in.

The drive in sites didn't have a lot of space between them, but site 16 had a little more privacy than the others. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. Facilities are nearby and there is also a bath house which is closed for cleaning every afternoon.

There are plenty of gorgeous hikes and waterfalls to visit. We even caught someone getting engaged at the waterfalls -- that's how pretty it is. It's still cold in June - bring lots of layers and be prepared for a fire!

Basecamp for Cooper Spur Hike

We used Tilly Jane as our base for hiking Cooper Spur (trail 600A to 600B) and it worked perfectly! The road getting here is not so great (you're driving up a mountain) but passable if you go slow. It's quite far up the mountain, so make sure you have everything you need. There isn't anything fancy about the campground, but it makes an adequate base for an early morning start.

Tilly Jane is also not far off the Timberline trail loop around the mountain, and the majority of people visiting the camping area were day hikers. The weather was very hot in the day, but got quite chilly at night.

In addition to the campground, the Tilly Jane A Frame is available as a rental- it was having some work done to it in August 18, so should be in good shape for the summer 19 and beyond camping seasons. There is also a small amphitheater in the campground.

Cart- in Camping with Lake Superior Views

Loved the whole area around Split Rock Creek State Park. The campground was clean with good facilities and I loved the organized cart in operation! We chose site 5 for it's view of Lake Superior!

Each site had a fire pit, bear locker and picnic table, and sites are reservable in advance (see photos for instructions).

There's lots of hikes around the state park -- the most notable being those that let you catch a view of Split Rock Lighthouse. Worth the visit.

Easy Access for Lake Superior Road Trip Adventures

Stopped at Gooseberry on our way up the coast of Lake Superior on a long weekend. The state park is easy to access right off the highway, but with the amount of nature at your fingertips there you easily forget that you're on the roadside when you't in the campground!

There are 3 waterfalls in the park and plenty of hiking options. We were there in the late spring and the summer trails were open. Hardy hikers can find winter trail maps here as well. The Gitichi Gami state trail passes through the park if you camp with your bike.

The waterfalls are very busy since they are a roadside attraction, but most visitors don't stay long or make it past the first parking lot.

Close to the Rialto and Close to Forks

If you prefer a campground with amenities over camping right ON the beach, Mora is the option you should choose for Rialto. Each site has a fire ring and table, and there are facilities within a short walk. There are also rubbish facilities and a dumping station. It's a peaceful place to camp just a mile or two down fro Rialto -- the main attraction in the area. If you aren't spending a night camping on the beach at Hole-in-the-wall, you'll want to grab a tide chart and make sure you hit the beach early enough to hike through it.

On your way to Mora you'll pass through Forks, WA -- this is one of the more decent size towns in the OP and you'll be able to restock supplies at Thriftway, grab a burger or pizza, and access wifi. You can also take a Twilight tour.

An acceptable overnight -- not really a destination

Bear Hollow County Park is a decent little campground to spend a night if you're passing through Eastern Oregon for the fossil beds, painted hills or the just the dark skies. We stopped here on our way into Spray as we were running out of daylight hours and didn't know the roads well. It gets dark out here!

If you're looking for a destination campground you can do much better in Oregon - but Bear Hollow is adequate for a drive in!

There is an ADA accessible site. Water didn't appear to be potable and there isn't really anything nearby so you'll need your own supplies. 20$ a night - cash only.

An Easy Hike in for Beach Camping Adventure

Hole in the Wall is a great place for a little bit of beginner backpacking. The hike out to the beach is easy and the ranger stations at ONP make it easy to register and equip yourself with the required bear can.

The beach gets busy during the summer days, but quiets out at night, and you really can't beat camping next to the sound of the ocean. It's a great place to chill

You'll definitely want to check the tides at least a day ahead of time - or even two- so you can prepare your drive time and arrival strategy. We were enjoying the beach and waited too long into the day to hike our way through the hole in the wall -- the waves got a bit dicey, and we wound up soaked.

Good Base for Hiking and Hot Springs

The highlight of Sol Duc was the long loop hike around the waterfalls. We were disappointed with the hot springs as they felt more like a crowded public pool than the wonder of nature that I'm sure they once were. We did enjoy the showers at the hot springs through after a very wet camping day.

The campground is pretty big (80+ sites I believe) and is quite spread out and booked out well in advance. You'll want to take note of the facilities are when you make your reservation. Bookings for the summer through October can be reserved beginning the end of April.

The Stars were Amazing ...When it wasn't raining

We we surprised to be able to find a walk-in site here in August -- perhaps it helped that it was a rainy weekday and there had been some fires in parts of the park at the same time.

The campground is busy, but the view from the cliffside makes you forget all the other campers around you. When it stops raining, the stars over the ocean are pretty magical.

The camp shop just down the street - near the Kalaloch lodge was pretty well stocked including beer, wine and coffee. You can also hit up the lodge for a breakfast or dinner, if you're in need of a meal that you don't have to cook on your campstove or fire -- especially handy if you get hit with the rain.

A great site for bikers, and for easy hikes down to the beach.l

Quiet Base for Hikes Near Carson

Beaver Campground is a great base for Washington gorge hikes deeper into the Gifford-Pinochet near Carson - including Falls Creek Falls (one of the prettiest waterfalls in the whole gorge area). If you're based in Portland and doing a weekend of hiking this is a good and easy base to keep you from having to make the 1.5 hour drive home and back to sleep. It's super accessible to get to after work for an evening camp and early start the next day.

There are a variety of sites available including group sites, single sites, double sites and 2 fully accessible sites. The campground takes reservations and also has walk ups. I was there in early June just after Memorial Day and the place was empty.

All sites have fire rings and picnic tables. Double sites have 2 tables. There is a limit to one car per single site, or you'll be charged an additional 10$ fee.

There are no showers, but it's pretty darn close to the baths at Carson Hot Spring Resort which feel nice after a long hike!

Perfect Basecamp for the Ozette day hike

The official National Park Ozette Campground is a very small campground right on the lake and next to the ranger station in Ozette, at the upper NW quadrant of the Olympic Peninsula.

The sites are all flat and pretty much open - you will definitely see your neighbors. The toilets are a bit of a walk away at the ranger station / trail head. There is a huge parking lot full of cars but no people as this is a big place to hike out and camp on the beach (about a 3 mile hike in to the closest camping) - if you hike on the beach, you'll need a backcountry permit which you can get at the ranger station (available when it is open or closed).

It was surprising to me, but there were deer walking around the camp while we were there. Don't leave your food out. We also found it to be pretty mosquito-y here compared to other ONP camping.

This is actually in the National Park, so you'll need to have a NP pass or pay the fee to register your car. Camping is first come - no reservations.

All sites have a fire ring and picnic table. There is also a water point. For showers, you can pay at the Lost Resort up the street.

If you're planning to do the 9 mile Ozette triangle loop hike, you'll want to check the tide table at the ranger station. Low tide was very early in the morning during the summer and you'll find yourself racing the tide to get around the heads if you don't leave early enough. If you do wind up on the beach at high tide, you'll have to use the upper trails which requires some ropes and steep hills to finish the hike. If you have kids, be sure to leave early enough. If the tide is low in the morning, recommend camping here and using it as your base.

A Great Option for Lake Ozette Overflow (and WIFI)

Lost Resort Campground is near the end of the road at Lake Ozette in Olympic National Park - super close to the official ONP Ozette Campground. While the Ozette campground is great because its directly on the lake, the Lost Resort campground is great because it doesn't turn anyone away.

There are some great, quiet and wooded sites at Lost Resort. There are also several very open areas where they can put campers who turn up when everything else in the neighborhood is full (ie. the NP campground and backcountry are the only other options here)

Lost Resort has a little camp store that's open into the early evening most days and serves full meals as well as coffees, espressos and has a pretty well stocked shop with camping necessities. Firewood is available for sale on an honor system even if the store is closed.

The campground is a horshoe/U shape up a hill with some private cabins that can be reserved. Sites are not numbered. Be sure to check that your site has a flat spot for your tent footprint if you're tent camping.

All sites have fire pits and tables and the ones on the far side are more wooded and dark if you like to sleep early or are hammock camping. Ozette was the only place we encountered mosquitos camping in ONP. (The store sells bug spray too).

The store also has wifi which reaches the closer parts of the campground. There isn't much of a signal anywhere in the upper NW peninsula, so this is a nice chance to connect if you need to research where you're hoping to sleep the next night!

There are 3 toilet options: One in the store open during hours, an outdoor full service near the store - open 24 hours, and 2 port a potties on top of the hill closest to the upper campground sites. There are showers available during store hours for a fee- 3$ if you're camp at the site, 6$ if you aren't.

Sites are $25 a night here (5$ more than the NP campground), and they take credit cards!

Title: Ranger Review: OOFOS / OOMG Low Shoe at Littleton Horse Camp

Littleton Horse Camp is on the edge of the very popular Lake Crescent area of Olympic National Park. It's hidden away from the crowds, but still super close and convenient to all of the ONP activities and hikes on the eastern part of the peninsula - and was a perfect place for me to really put my new OOFOS to the test.

Campground Review

The Littleton Horse Camp is a haven in the midst of summer national park chaos! There are only a handful of actual sites - but it is a horse camp, so the sites are HUGE, and well spaced out. Each site has a table and firepit as well as an area with the posts to tie up your horses (or your hammock). There were lots of trees as well for hammocking!

Since this campground is in the national forest instead of the national park, there is a lot more flexibility. In fact, if you turn up here and there aren't any actual sites left, you can camp in any of the green space here around the trail head. When we woke up, we found a lot more tents in the common area then we did when we settled in for the night. The campground itself is the trailhead for Muller Mountain.

The campground wasn't well maintained during the weekend of our visit, there was a giant pile of trash by the trash can (which wasn't ever picked up while we were there), the drop toilet was in the kind of state that you don't want to go into unless you really have to, no one was collecting the $10 fee for the sites, and there weren't any envelopes to register.

There is no running water - or any water source, so you have to pack everything in. You're also only 4 miles from the Fairholm camp store if you have to stock up on anything.

The campground is not marked from the road, but it isn't hard to find if you're looking for it. It's 4.4 miles past Fairholm (ONP campground) going west, up a forest service road. This campground works as a great base for Lake Crescent (especially is Fairholm is packed out- and it's 12$ cheaper per night than the NP campgrounds)

Campfires were permitted here in fire rings despite the overall ban burn in the area. This changes and will be clearly marked throughout the National Park and Forest.

Overall, the only thing about camping here that wasn't optimal was that it rained for almost our entire visit! So we didn't get as outdoor time hanging out around a campfire here liked we'd hoped. When the downpour started, we drove back to the Lake Crescent lodge, ate lunch on their covered patio and did the Marymere waterfalls hike.

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - at the LIttleton Horse Camp (and all through my week of Olympic National Park camping and hiking) I tested out the Women's OOMG Low Shoe from OOFOS.

I was excited to test out a pair of OOFOS, because their shoes are designed to relieve pressure and speed up the recovery process for your feet. I do a lot of hiking, and was planning to hike an average of 6-10 miles per day during my Olympics camping adventure.

OOFOS come in both flip flop / slide style and a full covered slip on shoe style. I picked the full covered shoe because I'm always cold when I'm camping and I hate having dirty feet in my tent and sleeping bag. I wasn't sure if I'd like the way they look on- but I'm not super stylish in the campground anyway, so I went with the black full shoe with white sole.

The biggest challenge I had with my OOFOS was getting my size right! I'm a 9-9.5 usually, and wear my running shoes a half size up in a 10. I mistakenly went with the 9 since I wasn't planning on wearing them with socks, and they were too small upon arrival. I had to send them back for the 10, and luckily I still got them the day before I left for my trip. (note: the return process was pretty easy, customer service actually called me back when I left a message, and I see now that OOFOS has added to their site that they recommend ordering up on half sizes)

What I loved (and learned) about camping with my OOFOS:

  1. These are soooooo comfortable. I didn't wear them to hike, but I literally wore them every other moment of my trip (and I'm still wearing them every day a week later). The insole is soft, but supportive in all of the right places. It's like wearing properly structured marshmallows on your feet.
  2. The full shoe slips on and off as easily as a flip flop. While my camping mate was struggling with setting up her tent with half of her body in and out so she didn't have to take off her shoes, I was able to easily slip mine on and off any time I wanted to pop into the tent or into the hammock. The easy on and off, also makes this super easy for changing in and out of clothes.
  3. Because the insoles are made of the same recovery foam material as the outsole, wearing these sockless didn't feel super great in the rain. They felt much better in the rain once I put on some socks, and I learned to dry my feet off before I wear them without socks. (If you have sweaty feet, you'll want socks)
  4. I got the white soled shoes because they seemed the most stylish option, but they got dirty very quickly in a mucky campground. They do clean up pretty easily, but if you don't want to clean the soles, black may be a more practical option for the outdoor lover.
  5. I did a 14 mile hike the day these arrived in the mail, and they were amazing to put on my very tired feet and calves. I don't know the scientific reason that they work, but they made my feet happy. They will be the shoes I pack from now on to slip on when I take my trail shoes off.
Summer Weekend: The Walmart Parking Lot was Less Crowded with Campers

Fairholm is a picturesque campground on the edge of Lake Crescent in a very easily accessible part of Olympic National Park for weekend getaways from Seattle and local adventures in from Port Angeles. Because the lake is pretty and easy to get to, this camp ground is POPULAR.

There are 3 loops + walk in lakeside side, but the actual size of the camp ground is small. Sites are very small and right next to one another. There is no privacy and no feeling of being out in the woods. The convenience here during the crowded month is simply proximity to Lake Crescent.

All sites here are first come, but there is not an in/out or campground host system for any of the ONP campgrounds like I've experienced in other national parks. The only way to know if a site is opening is to drive around in circles and/or to simultaneously check the reservation board to see if anyone was leaving. It's a bit of a free for all and not a very relaxing 'in the woods experience'

Sites are all equipped with picnic tables and fire rings, and there are large bathrooms, running water, and even a camp store nearby. Fires were allowed in fire rings even though there is a summer burn ban in the park.

I'd probably give this campground a much higher score (like all the other reviews) if it during any other time of the year when it wasn't absolutely crazy.

If you arrive there during a busy time, an alternative is Littleton Horse Camp, an unmarked National Forest campground 4.4 miles just past Fairholm, turn right on the fireroad. This is where we moved to.

Mirror Lake: You can camp there

When I planned my Mirror Lake hike, this is where I thought I was going to camp as I assumed that this was an actual campground at the trailhead. It actually isn't that at all.

Mirror Lake trailhead is essentially parking along HWY 26 - there are about 20 spots and on a not very busy mid-week morning I waited about 15 minutes for a hiker to finish so I could get their parking spot. The hike is super popular (and it is gorgeous), so it is worth doing. You will need a recreation pass in advance for parking here (and you cannot buy one here, and there is no turn around, and you won't want to lose your place in the parking line to go and buy one, so make sure you have one in advance)

There are technically walk in "campsites" at Mirror Lake. These are essentially a few small cleared areas around the lake. There are no tables or fire-rings or toilets, or water (apart from the lake), so you'll need to carry everything in with you - which is a 1.7 uphill hike in.

The area is beautiful for camping, and going to sleep and waking up at the lake before the crowds descend is the biggest bonus.

If you want to do this hike early in the morning without the crowds, but aren't prepared for primitive walk-in camping, Camp Creek Campground is just a few miles down HWY 26.

Ranger Review: VivoBarefoot Primus Trail shoes at Camp Creek

Campground Review

Midway between Welches and Government Camp, I picked Camp Creek as a my Mt. Hood hiking base for the weekend because of it's proximity to access Mirror Lake for a morning hike for a true test of my new vivobarefoot hiking shoes (see below) Note: Mirror Lake does have its own primitive walk-in campsites.

The campground is 2 loops. The loop to the left includes the day use area, and the loop to the right is smaller and quieter. It was still pretty cold at this elevation end of May, so most other campers here were RVs and we had plenty to pick from without reservations (this will not be the case in the summer or holiday weekends). Site 10 was our pick, on the quieter loop with proximity to the bathroom and water pump and alongside the creek. The water pump is an adventure. Recommend to stop by the Safeway in Sandy en-route and carry in your own water.

Nearly all of the sites are huge, and all include picnic table and fire ring. The first site when you enter the campground on the left has a gorgeous stone fire place/chimney that remains from an old building (a tradeoff for the high traffic). There is one toilet in each loop, so there is a bit of a walk to the loo from some sites.

This campground is a good National Forest campground. What makes it great to me is its location right off of Hwy 26. You can easily access Government Camp for supplies, and it's super accessible for an early morning start on any of the Mt. Hood hikes that get really crowded. Mirror Lake has very very limited parking and it's a super popular hike, so this was a perfect solution.

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - on this trip to Camp Creek I tested a pair of VivoBarefoot Primus Trail SG barefoot hiking shoes. SG stand for the Soft Ground sole which I chose since I'm Oregon hiking in often in wet and muddy areas.

Testing these shoes at Camp Creek let me try out the Primus Trail both for practicality in the campground as well as in action on the trail at the nearby Mirror Lake and Tom Dick & Harry Peak.

I hike quite often, and mostly do so in my running shoes since I really dislike really bulky and heavy hiking boots. I'm always searching for a better option, and have tried barefoot running in the past, so when the opportunity presented itself to test out a pair of VivoBarefoot shoes, I didn't hesitate.

I had a hard time choosing which shoes, but decided on the Primus Trail SG because of the extra traction on the sole, and I wasn't disappointed. (There is a water version as well that looks great for a SUP/Hiking/Camping trifecta, and a full ankle boot for hiking that also look amazing)

I loved that the vivobarefoot shoes are so lightweight. It truly is like you aren't wearing shoes, yet the traction of the SG is amazing. I tested them to the max by climbing up boulders, rocky trails, and navigating log crossings.

Since I'm not a regular at hiking or running barefoot, I followed the beginner instructions online to make sure I didn't over do it and get injured. I wore the shoes around a few days to get used to them before the trip, and around the camp ground with no problem. Since I didn't have time to break them in on short hikes, I did the first half of my 7 mile hike in them, then switched into my normal running shoes- which felt so heavy afterwards. Since this first hike, I've added a mile or two each time before the shoe switch. The goal is that I'll be able to do a full 10 mile hike in them soon. I've found it easiest to get used to the front of the foot strike going up-hill.

I really loved is that these shoes fold up to almost nothing. You could literally store these hiking shoes in your purse (which is totally something I'd do). They fit in the waterbottle pocket of my day pack, and in the pocket of my travel hammock (a big campground win for summer hammock camping shoe storage).

Wearing them around the campground, my favorite part was that they are so low profile that I could put on and take off my bottom layer of sweatpants over my shorts without having to take off my shoes. This came in really handy since it was chilly when we arrived and I didn't have to waste time taking my shoes off and doing a full change before getting set up.

If you're a cold person like me, it is worth noting that the minimalist nature of these shoes aren't exactly designed to keep your feet warm. When I was moving I was fine, but sitting at the summit of my hike (where there were still patches of snow), my sock-less toes were pretty cold (I wasn't wearing socks).

Size-wise, I ordered by European size off of the size chart and the fit is pretty true on this style. They felt a little big in the toe box when I first tried them, but that's just because barefoot shoes give your toes more space. Now that I'm used to them, they feel perfect.

The only problem is that I really liked wearing them around the house, and now they're all dirty from hiking. I'm thinking about getting the Primus Lite Women's next :)