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Old 11-09-2013, 11:01 AM   #1
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Boondocking near Mt. Rainier?

Hello folks. Looking to see if anyone can point me in the right direction for free rv camping near Mt. Rainier. Can't do logging roads in a 32' motorhome, but would love to find somewhere to take my family for free weekend trips. I just moved out here so any advice would be greatly appreciated. In fact, I'm open to any advice for boondocking anywhere in WA, I just live closer to the west side of Rainier.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:15 AM   #2
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You are going to be hard pressed to find anything near Mt. Rainier that can handle a 32' MH. Most everything up that way won't take much over a 25' or 26' rig. Very old National Parks there. Try going to the National Parks website and pulling up their locations.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:39 AM   #3
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Yeah, I did. Found a few seasonal spots that can accomodate just outside of the natl park. Hoping for some hidden gem or primitive spot like I found over the years of living in the South. There were tons of old hunter's camps and state forest boondocking spots down there. I'd never found any via Internet. Had to go out and find them the old fashioned way. I'm going to take a drive today and start looking toward the West of Mt. Rainier. And although the internet says seasonal, I'm going to take a peek at Evans creek cg. And anything along the way.
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Old 11-09-2013, 12:44 PM   #4
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While it's not Mt. Rainier, there's a neat spot for boondocking on Observatory Road leading up to the (you guessed it) U of W Observatory on Manashtash Ridge. We've had our 37' Tropi-cal in there. You'll want a toad for exploring past the campground and on up to the observatory. Great views from there!

Manastash Ridge Observatory Homepage
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Old 11-09-2013, 02:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Savage Jr View Post
While it's not Mt. Rainier, there's a neat spot for boondocking on Observatory Road leading up to the (you guessed it) U of W Observatory on Manashtash Ridge. We've had our 37' Tropi-cal in there. You'll want a toad for exploring past the campground and on up to the observatory. Great views from there!

Manastash Ridge Observatory Homepage
Good info....
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Old 11-18-2013, 06:52 PM   #6
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The National Forest CGs In that area are a great place to camp in that area. Not free but they won't break the bank either.
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:44 PM   #7
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I want to get up that way in two years. Good info !
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:11 PM   #8
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Iron Creek NF is a great place to camp!

Iron Creek CG 8 miles or so south of Randle on Rt 12 southwest of Mt Rainer NP is a great campground. Not free but paved and very low National Forest rates. The road it is on allows you to go to the east side of Mt St Helen's. Much better views than west side of park. You can see right into the volcano.

We drove there for a mini family reunion from New Mexico this summer. We have been camping there for 20+ years. We love the 800+ year old trees, over 285 feet high.

You won't regret it.
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:23 PM   #9
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Welcome to Washington!

I'm a dyed-in-the-wool boondocker and have some favorite places to share. My rig's smaller than yours, but I'll try to suggest places where you might fit...

As stated, boondocking places near Mt. Rainier are sort of sparse, especially on the west side. Much of the public land in that area is National Park, so camping's only allowed in regular campgrounds. East of the mountain, there are a few places along the American River where one can boondock for free. I've never had much luck finding them empty, though.

You don't say exactly where on the west side you are, but here's my choice for best boondocking opportunities within a hundred miles east or so of Seattle: The Cle Elum River. There's a whole section up there between the top of the lake and Salmon La Sac that's wide open for boondocking, and much of it's accessible to rigs your size.

Side note:

Though a west-side dweller myself, my favorite boondocking places are on the east side of the Cascades, and I'd be happy to share more of those if you're interested.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:23 PM   #10
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Not really much on this side. But welcome to Washington. There are a few, Off hgy 12
on the Cowlitz river there are a couple, think they are corp of eng. parks. Mostly for
the fishing crowd.
Capitol Forest here in Oly has some but I think closed for season.
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:42 PM   #11
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Thanks so much for the replies. I'm in Orting and am looking for any of the less expensive or free (off the beaten path) sites. But I'll take any advice or campground recommendations in the state of Washington. Close is good, but it's looking like I may have to drive a few hours anyway. Probably doing our first trip in December!
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Old 11-25-2013, 12:34 PM   #12
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We camped at Iron Creek for a few days on way back from Alaska in 2008. It is beautiful but not a place for solar. We still remember those trees as huge. But then we are from New Mexico and any trees are huge, any trees period.
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Old 11-25-2013, 12:43 PM   #13
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We camped at Iron Creek for a few days on way back from Alaska in 2008. It is beautiful but not a place for solar. We still remember those trees as huge. But then we are from New Mexico and any trees are huge, any trees period.

There are some very nice Forest Service CGs on east side of Mount Hood. One had excellent sites along the river. We stayed at Sherwood Forest for four nights but the Forest Service has a lot of dispersed camping sites as well. the first one that we were told to try was some very touristy lake that is an absolute zoo.

Reed and Elaine Cundiff

There are some great
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:06 PM   #14
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Sorry to revive such an old thread, but it was literally the first link to show for my search. Any updates to this question? Any new spots or experiences from anyone?
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