The Best In Tent Camping Washington  by Jeanne Louise Pyle

The Best In Tent Camping: Washington Guide Book

by Jeanne Louise Pyle (Menasha Ridge Press)
The Best In Tent Camping Washington  by Jeanne Louise Pyle
From wide sandy beaches to volatile, snow-capped volcanoes to narrow river gorges, Washington is great for tent-camping weekends and vacations. But do you know how to find the right place? Here’s the answer, right in your hands. Maybe you seek a small, quiet campground near a fi sh-fi lled stream close to home. Maybe it’s to be a romantic interlude, or you have the kids and their friends in tow. In The Best in Tent Camping: Washington, outdoor enthusiasts Jeanne Pyle and Ian Devine have compiled the most up-to-date research—in the region they know so well—to steer you straight to the safe and scenic treasure spot you had in mind.

© 2009 Jeanne Louise Pyle/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "The Best In Tent Camping: Washington" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 50.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 50.

Beacon Rock, once known as Castle Rock but renamed by Lewis and Clark in 1805, towers 848 feet above the mighty Columbia River in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and is second only to the Rock of Gibraltar in size. Several smaller but similar rock formations in this section of the gorge have prompted geologists to hypothesize that Beacon Rock may be the exposed volcanic plug of an ancient mountain, part of a range that preceded the Cascades. The monolith is estimated at 57,000 years old, actually young by geologic measure.
Camas, WA - Campgrounds
You’ve started the day with a plan to leave Everett in the morning and be in Leavenworth in time for dinner by the campstove. By the time you pack the car, stop for coffee and pastries, crawl through the growing congestion of Snohomish, Monroe, Sultan, Startup, and Gold Bar (beware the speed traps in these hamlets of 25-mph zones), gawk at Mount Index, take a short leg-stretching hike to Sunset Falls, and pause to watch kayakers as they thread the boulder gardens along the Skykomish River, it’s clear you won’t have much daylight left to enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of Leavenworth. Might as well find a campground close by!
Skykomish, WA - Campgrounds
You’ve probably done what I’ve done— driven right by Bedal on the way to loftier destinations or while out for a day cruise of the Mountain Loop Scenic Highway.
Darrington, WA - Campgrounds
It doesn’t get much simpler than Beverly. But that’s okay. You won’t be spending much time in the campground anyway. Beverly, in contrast to the beauteous heights to the west, doesn't have much to offer in the looks department, and it has even less in the way of amenities. But, to me, there is a sublime charm to places like Beverly. I like to call it the "minimalist advantage," or the "less-is-more" approach to car camping. There's a standard fire pit and and grill with a picnic table at each site.
Cle Elum, WA - Campgrounds
Washington State Parks are seldom escapes from the crowds, and Deception Pass State Park is no exception to this. They are, however, almost always delightful escapes from the ordinary, and Deception Pass reigns supreme in this department. The park encompasses 4,134 acres. There are 38 miles of hiking trails, 77,000 feet of saltwater frontage, and 33,900 feet of freshwater divided among four lakes. There are wetlands, sand dunes, interpretive trails, Native American stories, historical monuments, a saltwater fishing pier, and an astonishing array of wildlife, sea life, and birds.
Oak Harbor, WA - Campgrounds
In the early days of my short-lived career as a river-rafting guide, I was part of the historic first commercial descent of the Klickitat River, a small, lively, and rapidly dropping tumble of water that courses off the slopes of Gilbert Peak high in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. Plunging south through the basalt-lined canyons of the Yakama Indian Reservation east of Mount Adams, the Klickitat finally succumbs to anonymity as it empties into the Columbia River at the small town of Lyle.
Goldendale, WA - Campgrounds
I had just about given up hope of finding an adequate replacement for Evergreen Court on the Long Beach Peninsula. This is an area of Washington State so unique in history, landscapes, economic activities, and environmental sensitivity that I felt shortchanged for not being able to have it represented from a tent-camping standpoint.
South Bend, WA - Campgrounds
It took me more than a year and a flurry of rescheduling over the course of many weeks to get here, but I finally made it to Cold Springs Campground.
Colville, WA - Campgrounds
For your own personal, unsurpassed view of the north face of Mount Rainier and for a different perspective of the Crystal Mountain Ski Area, take a hard left off WA 140 about 30 miles southeast of Enumclaw onto Forest Service Road 7174. This is a challenging piece of roadway that is minimally marked at the entrance.
Enumclaw, WA - Campgrounds
I traipsed around the Okanogan Valley and heights for several days before I got a look at Cottonwood and Salmon Meadows. Cottonwood in particular had been recommended to me by the staff at the Tonasket Ranger Station, but I was having trouble getting over there as I kept running into dead ends elsewhere that were costing me valuable time. I was a doubting Thomas about both Cottonwood and Salmon Meadows simply because I assumed that anything this close to Conconully State Park (a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to camp there) would be nothing but the overflow of the overflow, the worst of the worst. Disgruntled campers grousing about not having a hot shower or a place to get a pizza. I had already been horribly disillusioned by Tiffany Spring, which I had built up in my mind as a magical highaltitude kingdom and which turned out to be just a dull collection of dusty sites at a bend in the road. I tried to find Crawfish Lake the back way and wasted an entire half-day not getting there. I learned that Summit Lake would not be a wise choice. I wasn’t in the mood for any more “thumbs-down” revelations.
Tonasket, WA - Campgrounds
Here’s one that has all the makings for being a fairly busy campground in the summer months, so you may want to put it on your agenda for when those still-warm days and crisp nights of autumn are upon us. Chances are good that you’ll have the place to yourself.
Tonasket, WA - Campgrounds
The sign reads, “Narrow winding road next 8 miles.” OK, thanks for the warning. Frankly, I don’t even remember seeing that sign on the way up. But I sure had a few words for it on the way out—even took a picture to remind me.
Port Angeles, WA - Campgrounds
Let me tell you about the day I almost didn’t discover the rare beauty of Dungeness Recreation Area.
Port Angeles, WA - Campgrounds
Don’t try to figure it out. Chewuch. I mean Chewack. No, Chewuck. Or is it Chewuk? Chewak? OK, enough. I don’t really know which is correct and, apparently, neither does anyone else in the state. You’ll find all varieties on maps and road signs and in reference books and guidebooks. Some maps even use Chewuch and Chewack side by side. There is consistency in the inconsistency at least.
Winthrop, WA - Campgrounds
I’ve chosen Ferry Lake over Swan Lake as the place to camp along the Sanpoil River drainage south of Republic. Swan Lake has become the gathering point for the crowds, such as they are, out here. If you’re going to come all this way to a place where camping is pretty much camping-simply-for-the-sake of camping and you’re like me, you want as much solitude as you can find. Ferry Lake and the even smaller Long Lake are much better choices than Swan. So far, there’s no formal campground at the dainty, picture-perfect Fish Lake.
Republic, WA - Campgrounds
Where the heck is Anatone?
Anatone, WA - Campgrounds
Situated in blissfully underdeveloped waterfront beauty, Fort Ebey is increasingly popular among tent campers and others looking to escape urban life without having to travel too far.
Coupeville, WA - Campgrounds
For those of you looking for an ends-of-the- Earth destination complete with (gulp!) stories of stalking mountain lions, read on. For those of you who prefer to find your own adventures rather than having them find you, look up Tucannon.
Pomeroy, WA - Campgrounds - Trail Length:
It would be a cruel hoax to lead you into the splendid alpine world of Indian Heaven Wilderness without giving you the bad news early on.
Trout Lake, WA - Campgrounds
Set on the western shore of Lake Roosevelt against the sprawling backdrop of Colville National Forest—a 1,095,368-acre parcel in central northeastern Washington—Haag Cove is one of 32 campgrounds within the magnificent Coulee Dam National Recreation Area managed by the National Park Service.
Kettle Falls, WA - Campgrounds

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