Are you looking to widen your dispersed camping horizon? Washington has a vast area of free lands and nature preserves waiting to be explored by you!
From pristine rain forests to hulking rocks and wildernesses that stretch far and wide, Washington has limitless natural areas for adventurous campers like you. Moreover, many of these areas offer free dispersed campsites to enjoy an adventurous boondocking experience without worrying about breaking your bank for designated campsites.
For campers who are always up for one more adventure, we have provided a list of the 20 best free dispersed campsites in Washington.
Going Dispersed Camping In Washington
Washington might be known as the leading state that produces half of America’s domestically grown apples, but that is not all The Evergreen State is known for.
Located in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States, Washington is the only state named after a U.S. president. Washington boasts of being the birthplace of the famous Starbucks, home to the Starbucks Reserve, and 7.8 million citizens in 2022. But that is not all that the great state has to boast of.
Washington also boasts of famous natural landscapes like the highest mountain in the U.S., Mount Rainier. From alpine snow-capped volcanic mountains to choppy beaches and arid deserts, Washington is a home of beauty and breathtaking biological and geological diversity. Every kind of landscape you might imagine, you will most probably find one in the state.
Unsurprisingly and expectedly, Washington is a magnetic hotspot for tourists and campers looking to explore the sceneries the state has to offer. These natural attractions are on every tourist’s bucket list, with people looking to explore the lush scenery and engage in exciting activities they will cherish forever.
The geological diversity in Washington means there are different terrains that campers can explore. With various landscapes, wildlife, and ecosystems, nature enthusiasts will never run out of amazing things to see as they journey through Washington.
More importantly, if you are a camper looking to explore the wonders Washington offers, it is great to know you can explore all you want and get free camping when you need it.
Washington State is packed full of dispersed campsites, it is essential to know where to look. However, the upside remains that if you are looking to eliminate housing costs while you are out exploring the millions of acres of natural land in Washington, you have lots of options to choose from.
Washington State’s natural lands are managed by Federal and State agencies like the U.S. Forest Service Dispersed Camping in Washington, Washington Department of Natural Resources Campgrounds, and the Bureau of Land Management Dispersed Camping.
The lands overseen by these agencies are marked public land and can be legally used for dispersed camping. However, while these lands may be free for boondocking uses, you might require a permit to gain legal access. To find out if your preferred terrain can be used as a free dispersed campsite, it might be best to reach out to the U.S. Forest Service.
As with anywhere else, free dispersed campsites in Washington require all campers or overlanders to follow set rules to protect the area and, of course, themselves. These rules are generally known as the Leave No Trace principles and guidelines.
If you choose to go boondocking in these areas, you must have to arrange all your essentials like going to the bathroom and cooking your meals. Dispersed campsites are mostly undeveloped, and there are no facilities to offer any luxury.
If you are out to explore by yourself and pick out your preferred campsite, it is advisable to do the necessary research and figure out the best campsite for you. However, we will ease your burden and provide an up-to-date list of the best dispersed campsites in Washington.
20 Best Free DIspersed Campsites In Washington
Are you looking for the best free dispersed campsites in Washington? Look no further than our finely curated list of the best areas for dispersed camping in a tent or your overland vehicle.
1. 29 Pines Campground
29 Pines Campground is located on the north fork of the Teanaway River. It is a standard free dispersed campsite with a first-come, first-served policy. There are no reservations allowed.
29 Pines Campground is a large area with 59 sites, each with a fire ring and picnic tables. With limited facilities provided for the campers and overlanders, this campground has policies that necessitate precautionary and safety actions, like campers packing garbage themselves and packing their vehicles on rock pads.
To get to 29 Pines Campground, turn north to Hwy.907 from Hwy.97. Follow Hwy.907/MP7 to Teanaway Road. The campground is 12.8 miles away. You can use a GPS or a printable Topo Map to navigate the area. The campground is free, but it requires a Discover Pass.
2. Godman Campground
Godman compound offers breathtaking scenery that makes boondocking there worth it. It is located near the top of the Blue Mountains, peeking over the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. The Godman Campground is in the Umatilla National Forest along the Kendall Skyline Road.
Godman campground is best visited in Summer or Fall to maximize your visit to the reserve. It requires no reservations and has a pet-friendly policy. Many sites on the campground have a fire pit and a covered picnic area with a cook stove.
Godman is not only a place to enjoy free dispersed camping but also other activities like hiking, fishing, hunting for deer, and biking.
3. Sherry Creek Campground
Sherry Creek Campground is nestled in northeastern Washington. It is another free campground that requires a Washington Discover Pass for use.The campground is off Hwy 20, through a gravel road that can be easily navigated.
Sherry Creek Campground is full of large camping areas operating on a first-come, first-served basis. It is a popular area used by campers and other enthusiasts, however, it is equally peaceful.
There are few amenities and facilities at the campground. Each area has a table and fire pit with vault bathrooms. The campground offers ADA access for disabled campers, drinking water, and fire pits. All in all, Sherry Creek Campground is a great place to explore nature and enjoy free camping.
4. Middle Waddell Campground
Middle Waddell Campground is located in the Capitol State Forest. It is a popular tourist destination set off a short distance from Olympia.
To use the Middle Waddell Campground, you need to get a Washington Discover Pass. When you get access, you will be privy to large camping areas with clean sites and all the privacy you need.
The area and amenities are well-maintained. Each site has picnic tables and a fire ring. Water and garbage disposal are unavailable, so you will have to figure out the best ways to go about that.
Since Middle Waddell is a popular spot for off-roaders, you might have to deal with constant revving noises from the vehicles. However, the area is as peaceful as possible, making it a great place for a quick getaway.
5. Cowlitz Wildlife Area
Cowlitz Wildlife Area is located in Lewis County and managed by WDFW. It spans 15,420 acres of land that serves as wildlife mitigation for the dams on the Cowlitz River.
Cowlitz Wildlife Area offers year-round access for campers looking to enjoy the beautiful scenery. There are about thirty campsites available for free for people brave enough to tolerate the biting cold in the area.
The campground can be easily accessible through a paved road. The area is suitable for campers or RV users and can be used for a maximum of fourteen days.
6. Crawfish Lake Campground
Located in Colville National Forest, Crawfish Lake Campground is a free primitive camping spot on the shores of Crawfish Lake.
This campground offers 19 tent campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis. It is usually open from May until the end of October and is best visited during the Summer.
There are dirt camping trailer pads for campers with vehicles. The campground provides each site with a picnic table, fire ring, and drinking water. There are also toilet facilities and a boat ramp.
Essentially, Crawfish Lake Campground offers easy access, campsites set back into the shades of the trees, cleanliness, and a lush area to be explored.
7. Rocky Lake Campground
Rocky lake campground is open seasonally and offers campers a maximum stay of five days. There are seven undeveloped campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The camp is free to be used by tent campers and smaller vehicles as the campground is a small area. However, regardless of its size, Rocky Lake Campground offers exquisite views and an ample amount of activities for campers to engage in.
8. Big Meadow Lake
Big Meadow Lake offers a view of the pristine lake with a backdrop of forested mountains. The shallow lake can be used for fun activities like swimming and canoeing.
There are seventeen campsites on either side of the ake, all complete with picnic tables, vault toilets, camping tent pads, and fire rings. The campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are often quickly filled up in the middle to late Spring.
9. Old Cascades Highway Dispersed
Old Cascades Highways Dispersed is a peaceful and secluded dispersed campground set off the Old Cascades Highway. The campground is a small area that will fit just a few vehicles and a handful of tents.
The area is filled with towering trees, waterfall trails, and a lake that meanders through the area. The area offers a spectacular view and is best visited in warmer months
10. Wickiup Campground
Wickiup Campground is located near the Triple Ridge area. It is surrounded by The Jones, Huckleberry, and Hogback ridges. Since the site is close to towns like Asotin, Anatone, and Pomeroy, campers will have other scenic spots to explore.
The campground is open seasonally from April to November. It offers area amenities like picnic tables, toilets, and parking.
The camping area features not only views of the mountains and trees but also cold water springs below the campground. This makes Wickiup not only a great place to camp but also indulge in activities like fishing and hiking.
11. Big Hill Campsites
This dispersed campsite is located in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The roads are challenging to access and navigate, but if you have a vehicle with great clearance- and a sense of direction- you should arrive at the camp with little to no stress. The campsite is underdeveloped but rewards campers with an exquisite view. It features limited amenities like a pit toilet, but no water is available.
12. Indian Race Track
The Indian race track is an out-and-back trail that local tribes once inhabited for after-work gatherings and entertaining activities. This is why the area is often frequented for artifact hunting.
Now, the race track, located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, is often used by campers looking for a free area to enjoy camping. There are limited amenities, and you will need a permit to camp in the area.
13. Camp Muir
Mountain climbers looking to conquer Mount Rainier often begin their expedition from Camp Muir, where they set up camp temporarily. However, the area is free for use regardless.
To get to this campground, you must embark on an 8.6-mile hike from the upper parking lot near the Paradise Visitor Center.
14. Leavenworth Lot P6
The Leavenworth Lot is a free gravel parking lot located in the town of Leavenworth. It has space enough to accommodate 35 feet RV vehicles. The area has an elevation of 1,148 feet and allows campers to have a maximum stay of overnight parking once every seven days.
15. DeRoux NFS Campground
The DeRoux NFS Campground is a dispersed campground in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. It is ADA accessible for easy use by disabled campers. The campground is pet-friendly and features amenities like a fire ring and restrooms.
DeRoux NFS Campground is near the North Fork of the Teanaway River and is a great place for dispersed campers to enjoy activities like biking, hiking, and winter sports in the winter.
16. Lion Rock Spring
Lion Rock Spring is another free dispersed camping spot in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. It is nestled in the Cle Elum Ranger District.
The campground is non-reservable and operates on a first-come, first-served basis. It offers only public toilets, leaving campers to create solutions for other necessary amenities during their stay.
17. Deer Camp
Deer Camp is another non-reservable dispersed campground in Leavenworth with an elevation of 2096 feet. It is accessible through a moderately easy 7.5km dirt road through the woods. It is a practical boondocking site with no notable amenities. Regardless, it is a fun and comfortable site to set up camp.
18. Mad River Sno-Park
Located in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, the Mad River Sno-Park is a free dispersed camping spot that does not allow reservations. Other than being famous for winter recreation sports, the area also provides campers with free dispersed camping.
19. Nason Creek
Nason Creek is another dispersed camping spot in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. It features lots of campsites spread out off the road. Because of its proximity to the road, you will often have to deal with noise from campers and overlanders passing through the area.
Besides this minor inconvenience, the campground is set in a convenient and comfortable location. Nason Creek dispersed camping ground is easily accessible and an excellent option for tent and vehicle campers.
20. Napeequa Crossing Campground
Napeequa Crossing Campground is located along the white river, making it easy for campers who choose to use the area to engage in fun activities in the river. The campground is also 7 miles from Lake Wenatchee, featuring a trail that provides access to Twin Lakes.
Napeequa Crossing Campground is a small camping spot with just five sites off the road. There are few amenities like picnic tables, vault toilets, and even grills. However, there are no essentials like potable water.
The camping spigot is suitable for both tent and RV campers as there is room for tent camping and about four RV sites.
Your Options In Washington Are Limitless
Although these areas are what we consider the twenty best free dispersed camping spots in Washington, your options are in no way limited to the camping spots on the list. There are many more free areas you can boondock in Washington, all you need is to research with the necessary land management agencies to ensure you can gain access.
As with any other location, if you choose to visit any of these dispersed campsites, it is essential to ensure you follow all vital rules of the area. Seek access permits when necessary, abide by the camp regulations, and always remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles. Essentially, plan ahead to stay safe as you enjoy an excellent dispersed camping experience.
For more adventures, check out our list of 20 best free dispersed camping spots in great Idaho!