Make reservations now for best summer camping spots


Published: Sunday, January 18, 2015, 12:01 a.m.

Make reservations now for best summer camping spots


  • The Enchantments are incredibly beautiful. It's also extremely difficult to get a reservation to camp there. For the best chance, submit an applicatio...

    Jessi Loerch / The Herald

    The Enchantments are incredibly beautiful. It’s also extremely difficult to get a reservation to camp there. For the best chance, submit an application in February.

  • A small patrol cabin sits near the lake at Golden Lakes Camp along the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park. Permits for camping along the ...

    Jessi Loerch / The Herald

    A small patrol cabin sits near the lake at Golden Lakes Camp along the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park. Permits for camping along the trail are very popular.

If you want to go camping this summer, you should be thinking ahead already. Many popular campgrounds fill up months in advance. Here is a roundup of what you need to know.

Car camping

State parks: Spots in popular areas fill up well in advance, especially from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Reservations are available at more than 60 state parks for campsites, yurts and cabins. To make reservations for most Washington state parks, go here or call 888-226-7688. Cama Beach and Camano Island state park reservations must be made by calling 360-387-1550.

Mount Rainier National Park: Mount Rainier has three car-camping campgrounds, Cougar Rock, Ohanapechosh and White River. Cougar Rock and Ohanapechosh allow reservations. White River is first-come, first-serve. To see open seasons and make reservations, go here. Another campground at Mowich Lake allows walk-in, tent camping, but you can drive right to the edge of the campground. It also allows reservations, which are filled using the wilderness permit system. (See below.)

Olympic National Park: Kalaloch Campground allows reservations. The other front-country campgrounds are all first-come, first-serve. To make reservations, go here. Reservations are accepted from June 10 to Sept. 20 and can be made no more than 6 months in advance.

North Cascades National Park: Campgrounds are first-come, first-serve.

Forest Service: Many Forest Service campgrounds accept reservations, and you can find them all over the state. For a list of campgrounds in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, go to here. Click on each campground for information on when it’s open and how to make reservations. To look for and reserve Forest Service campgrounds around the state and country, go to

Backpacking permits

Enchantments: The Enchantments, outside of Leavenworth, are an extremely popular area for hiking. They are also extremely delicate. To protect the area, access is limited. Day hikers don’t need permits, but you do to stay overnight anytime between June 15 and Oct. 15. Permits are hard to get.

The application period is Feb. 15 to March 3. Permits are issued through a lottery system. Permits not issued during the initial period are available first-come, first-serve through the website. A limited number of permits are also available first-come, first-serve on a daily walk-in basis.

There is a $6, non-refundable application fee. After March 6, return to the website to determine if you received a permit. If you do get a permit, the permit fee is $5 per person, per day.

Mount Rainier National Park: A wilderness permit is required for all overnight camping in the wilderness areas of the park. The Wonderland Trail is especially popular, and permit reservations fill up quickly. About 70 percent of permits are allotted in advance, and the rest are first-come, first-served. You also need a permit for climbing above 10,000 feet or on any glaciers.

Reservations are accepted beginning March 15 and rangers begin processing the permits on April 1. All requests received between March 15 and March 31 are processed in random order. After that, requests are processed in the order they are received.

Requests can be made by fax or letter. After late May, they can also be made in person. Reservations are $20. If you don’t get a reservation, you will not be charged. You will receive a letter stating whether or not you received a reservation. If you did, you must pick up your permit by 10 a.m. the day your trip starts. If you cannot pick it up by that time, you’ll need to contact the park in advance.

For more information and a reservation form, go here.

Olympic National Park: You need a permit for all backcountry camping in the park. Some areas have quotas and reservations are recommended for May 1 to Sept. 30. Reservations are accepted beginning March 15. Do not submit a request before then, it will be ignored. Reservations can be mailed or faxed. They cost $5, plus $2 per person, per night. Kids under 16 are free.

For more information and reservation forms, go here.

North Cascades National Park: Backcountry camping and boating requires permits, which are all first-come, first serve. Get more info here.


About smokeycamping

Well let's see have lived in NY for my whole life, have always loved the outdoors (as long as it is warm out) have always hated the cold, and like a dummy have stayed in NY. But now with my second try my wife, we have been camping now for well over 25 yrs. We currently own a 2010 Cedar creek silverback 35TS and can not wait to get out on the highways and see this great country we all call home. Hope to see every National park before my medical issue becomes too bad to travel. I love my African gray parrot (she is my baby) and have two dogs at the time brother and sister mutts, but love them all the same. Have always been a big Nascar fan, love computers (have a number of certificates to build and work on them) am trying to learn photography, enjoy light hiking, being with good friends and folks. country music, pop music and just being outdoors. So I hope someday to meet some of the great people who like what I like and post out there in some great campground somewhere in the country, till then I will keep posting and I hope you keep liking.

Posted on January 21, 2015, in The world as i see it as a camper and who loves his country and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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