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Best Camping Near Mount Rainier

05.02.17

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Best Camping Near Mount Rainier
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Mount Rainier National Park is an incredibly popular destination, and while getting campsite reservations can be extremely difficult, the effort is certainly worth it. Good and early planning is critical. The park's campgrounds include:

  • Mowich Lake Campground: 21 tent/walk-in sites, no reservations.
  • Ipsut Creek Campground: 31 car/tent sites, no reservations, CURRENTLY CLOSED TO VEHICLES.
  • White River Campground: 108 car/tent sites, no reservations.
  • Cougar Rock Campground: 186 car/tent sites, 5 group sites, reservations allowed.
  • Ohanapecosh Campground: 185 car/tent sites, 2 group sites, 8 walk-in sites, reservations allowed.
  • Sunrise Camp: 7 tent/walk-in sites 1.3 miles by trail west of the Sunrise Visitor Center in the heart of Yakima Park.

Note that only Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh Campgrounds permit RVs and trailers, but neither provide electrical, water, or sewer hook-ups. Dump stations are provided at both, however.

If you're finding it difficult to secure a reservation within the national park, there are a number of great overflow campgrounds just outside of the park boundary: 

  • Big Creek Campground: 24 car/tent sites, reservations allowed. (West of the park off of WA Hwy 706, outside of Ashford.)
  • Silver Springs Campground: 56 car/tent sites, reservations allowed. (North of the park off of WA Hwy 410.)
  • Buck Creek Campsites: 38+ primitive campsites, no reservations. (North of the park off of WA Hwy 410.)
  • The Dalles Campground: 45 tent/car sites, reservations allowed. (North of the park off of WA Hwy 410.)
  • Sand Falts Horse Camp: 6 horse stall sites. (North of the park off of WA Hwy 410.)
  • La Wis Wis Campground: 54 car/tent sites, 16 group sites, reservations allowed. (South of the park off of WA Hwy 12.)
  • La Wis Wis Campsites (Loop H): 5 car/tent sites, 1 group site, 8 walk-in sites, reservations allowed. (South of the park off of WA Hwy 12.)
  • Granite, Bertha May + Pothole Lakes: Backcountry sites located 1 mile hike-in from the Teeley Creek Trailhead. (Southwest of park off of WA Hwy 706.)
  • Alder Lake Park Campground: 173 sites in 4 campgrounds, 44 tent/walk-in sites, 18 tent/car sites, 74 RV sites, 37 full hook-up RV sites, 5 group sites. (Southwest of park off of WA Hwy 7.)
  • Alder Lake Park, Rocky Point Campground: 25 RV sites. (Southwest of park off of WA Hwy 7.)
  • Nisqually River Campsite: Located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest just outside the parks southeastern boarders, where "dispersed" camping is legal and free. (South of park off of WA Hwy 706.)

There are, of course, a number of backcountry sites throughout the park for those looking for a different type of adventure. Backcountry Camping Permits are required and should be reserved and purchased well in advance of your trip. However, 30% of all campsite permits are kept aside for same-day purchase. 

No matter where you camp, always remember to leave the area better than you found it (Leave No Trace principles apply).

Once you have your camp spot, it's time to adventure! To get you started, here's our list of our favorite day hikes on Mount Rainier.

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