There is no lack of wild and beautiful places to set up your tent and enjoy the great outdoors with your pooch here in the Pacific Northwest.
Delightful places abound for you and your hound for sharing time under the stars in our special corner of the world. Here are my favorite Fido-friendly campgrounds; gorgeous places to go camping all near trails, lakes, rivers and beaches, and all of them surrounded by acres upon acres of public land. Some of them are close by, ideal for a quick- get-away; while others are a little distance away and perfect for a week long outdoor holiday. But most importantly, all of them are welcoming and perfect for your canine camping companion.
Kalaloch: Olympic National Park, Pacific Coast
Set up camp on a coastal bluff high above the crashing surf of the wild Olympic coast. A sprawling campground with a handful of sites with breathtaking ocean views, Kalaloch is one of the few public campgrounds in Washington right on the Pacific. Watch stunning sunsets right from your picnic table. Listen to gulls, oystercatchers, and eagles and let the incessant pounding of the breakers lull you and your lab deep into la la land. While dogs are not allowed on the trails of Olympic National Park, they are allowed on leash on this stretch of park beach—over ten wild miles worth! While there are 170 sites, in summer they go fast.
Sullivan Lake: Colville National Forest, Selkirk Mountains
One of the largest and prettiest undeveloped lakes in northeastern Washington, Sullivan is surrounded by steep emerald peaks including 7,308-foot Abercrombie Mountain and 7,309-foot Gypsy Peak, the two highest summits in eastern Washington. Two gorgeous national forest campgrounds, East Sullivan and West Sullivan grace the lake’s northern shore while remote and peaceful despite its name, Noisy Creek Campground graces its southern shore. The sites are well-shaded and there are plenty of dog-friendly hiking trails nearby, including the four mile Sullivan Lake trail connecting the campgrounds. The lake warms up nicely by mid-summer and there’s a beach for your dog to splash in!
Colonial Creek: Ross Lake National Recreation Area, North Cascades
One of the most stunning settings for any campground within the entire country, Colonial Creek sits in a deep valley in the heart of the North Cascades. Set in primeval timber along the turquoise waters of Diablo Lake and surrounded by towering glacial-clad cloud-piercing peaks, you may not want to budge too far once you set up camp. But if your buddy’s tail is indicating it’s time for a walk, take to several miles of delightful trail radiating right from the campground. The 1.9 mile Thunder Knob Trail is perfect for an after dinner leg-stretcher. Claim one of the sites right on placid Thunder Arm and spend an afternoon in the canoe paddling with your pooch.
Silver Springs: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Mount Rainier
While Mount Rainier National Park allows your furry friend to accompany you at one of its developed campgrounds, you can’t take her on the park’s trails. So if “the Mountain’s” allure is too much for the two of you to resist, consider setting up camp right outside of the park at the Silver Springs Campground in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Nestled in old growth forest right on the glacial-fed White River, this CCC-built campground offers spacious and private sites. And when it’s ready to hit the trail, head to nearby Crystal Mountain taking to a large network of trails surrounding the resort. Lots of dog-friendly options complete with howling views of Washington’s most famous landmark.
Cape Perpetua: Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon Coast
While there is no shortage of great camping spots along Oregon’s spectacular coastline, most of them can get pretty busy during the summer months. Cape Perpetua, a rugged area of salt-blasted headlands, moisture dripping old growth giants and fog-catching coastal peaks offers one of the most secluded and quietest campgrounds on the entire coast. Nestled in a deep valley set back from busy US 101, choose from 38 campsites perched along Cape Creek. Once the pegs have been staked, hit the trail! There are 26 miles of interconnecting trail radiating from the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area including paths to shore-hugging Neptune State Park. And while this campground is a tranquil gem, it’s well known. Be sure to secure a reservation.
Silver Falls State Park: Willamette Valley
Looking for a quick getaway in the Willamette Valley? Does your pooch enjoy waterfalls? Do you? Silver Falls State Park located just 25 miles east of Salem is a waterfall lover’s, hiker’s, and camper’s haven! One of the crown jewels of the Oregon State Park system you and your outward bound hound can choose from among 100 sites (electrical hookups available) and then take to 25 miles of dog-friendly trail to 10 dog-gazing cascades, four in which you can wag your tails from behind. Be sure to reserve your site online before packing the Subaru.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park: North Coast
Set up camp along a quiet creek shadowed by towering redwoods hundreds of years old. While this gorgeous state park on the Redwood Coast does not permit dogs on its trails, you can walk your buddy on some of its quiet roads. Be sure to watch for elk feeding in misty prairies. Gold Bluffs Beach located within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park consists of 10 miles of wide sandy gorgeous northern California beach—and it’s open to your four-legged camping companion. And just south of the park you can roam two more beautiful dog-friendly beaches, Humboldt County Parks’ Big Lagoon and Clam Beach.
Doran Beach: Sonoma County Parks, San Francisco Bay Area
While your four-legged friend is allowed to set up tent with you in the scores of beautiful California state parks lining the Pacific, she’s not allowed to accompany you on almost all of those parks’ wonderful trails and beaches. That’s when places like Sonoma County Park’s Doran Beach come to the rescue. Located about 40 miles north of San Francisco in quaint and scenic Bodega Bay, Doran Beach provides camping on a beautiful two-mile long dog-friendly beach. And there are one dozen other dog-friendly beaches nearby including a couple of stunning ones at Point Reyes National Seashore.
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About the Author
Craig is an award-winning guidebook author, outdoors writer and photographer, ardent conservationist, and Northwest trails and hiking expert. He hikes, runs, paddles, and bikes and has written about these passions for more than two dozen publications, including; Seattle Met, Backpacker, Paddler, Northwest Runner, AMC Outdoors, Northwest Travel, and Outdoors NW. Craig writes weekly content for Hikeoftheweek.com and is the author of more than 25 books including Best Hikes with Dogs: Inland Northwest (Mountaineers Books).