While researching destinations on our 9000 mile road trip we quickly realized that getting to Mt. St. Helens was similar to getting to the Grand Canyon – it very much depended what direction you were coming from! We went camping near Mt. St. Helens on the west side.
There were five of us tent camping so we were looking for a decent non-primitive spot to pitch our tent for a night or two. (You can disperse camp for free!) It also happened to be over the 4th of July weekend which was a real treat!
We ended up staying at the Longview North Mt. St. Helens KOA which provided a PHENOMENAL fireworks show! Wowza! Plus they had a darling public herb garden to use for our dinner!
On our way over to Mt. St. Helens we stopped in at the Forest Learning Center as part of the Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument Headquarters and Visitor Centers. The Forest Learning Center is FREE and absolutely worth stopping at but be aware that it closes earlier than the surrounding visitor centers.
*If you’re looking for a hike in primitive camp option then there are plenty of places to camp in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest not listed below. You can also find some stellar spots using Hipcamp!
Below are places to go camping near Mt. St. Helens in Washington based on whether you’re entering from the north, east, south or west directions.
The below camping options are not primitive (meaning they have toilets and showers!) and require no permits or additional hiking to access. All great family and casual camping options.
Hiking & Camping Gift Ideas:
Camping on the West Side of Mt. St. Helens:
If you’re looking for a typical “visit the visitor’s center and view the location” travel experience you will probably want to stay on the west side of Mt. St. Helens.
- Longview North Mt. St. Helens KOA– Located at 167 Schaffran Rd Castle Rock, WA 98611, we chose this campgrounds because of it’s price and location next to I-5. It’s a bit of a drive to make it to Johnston Observatory from I-5 so we opted for staying near major highways due to our itinerary. Take exit 49 onto 504 from I-5. RV and tent options. Pets ok. Website here.
- Silver Cove RV Resort – Located at 351 Hall Road Silverlake, WA 98645. RV, Cabin, Cottage andTiny Home options. Pets ok. Website here.
- Eco Park Resort – Located at 14000 Spirit Lake Hwy., Toutle, WA this is the closest accommodations to Mt. St. Helens that you can get. Just look for the totem pole near mile marker 24 on SR 504. Tent, RV, yurt and cabin options. Website here.
- Silver Lake Resort – Located at 3201 Spirit Lake Hwy, Silver Lake, WA 98645. Tent, RV, cabins and motel options. Website here.
- Seaquest State Park – Located across the street from the visitor’s center at 3030 Spirit Lake Highway Castle Rock, WA 98611. Hiker/biker sites, tent, RV, yurts and cabin options. Website here.
- Kid Valley Campground – Located at 9360 Spirit Lake Highway, Toutle Wa 98649. Tent and RV options. Website here.
- Toutle River RV Resort – Located at 150 Happy Trails, Castle Rock Washington 98611. RV, tent and cabin options. Pets ok. Website here.
- Dome Camp – not for the faint of heart! More info here.
Camping on the East Side of Mt. St. Helens:
- Iron Creek Campground, Blue Lake Creek Campground and Tower Rock Campground are both US Forest Service locations for camping on the remote north side of Mt. St. Helens. Many US Forest Service camping options require primitive camping or hiking to access so make sure to research each location.
Camping on the North Side of Mt. St. Helens:
- Tower Rock U-Fish RV Park – Located at 137 Cispus Drive, Randle WA 98377. Tent, RV and cabin options. Cash only. Website here.
Camping on the South Side of Mt. St. Helens:
- Eagle Cliff Store and Campground – Located east of Cougar, WA. Tent, RV and cabin options. Website here.
- Swift Forest Camp – Located at 14752 Forest Service Road 90 Cougar, WA 98616. Tent and RV options. Boat launch access. Open to camping through November 30 each year. Website here.
- Beaver Bay Campground – Located in Cougar, WA. Tent and RV options. Website here.
- Lone Fir Resort – Located at 16806 Lewis River Rd. Cougar, WA 98616 RV, tent and cabin options. CLOSE to Ape Cave! Website here.
- Cougar RV Park and Campground – Located in Cougar, WA – also close to Ape Cave! Tent, RV and cabin options. Pets ok. Website here.
- Merrill Lake Conservation Area Campground – Located near Cougar, WA. Boat launch access. Pets ok. Website here.
If you’ve stayed at any of the campgrounds above or found other camping options nearby leave us a comment and let us know about your experience!