Washington state lists parks with bike/hike campsites

Facebook Twitter More...

[Updated for 2016 — See30 places to camp for National Bike Travel Weekend“]

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission launched its new “interactive” website last week at www.parks.wa.gov.

Carter Creek campsites in Iron Horse State Park

Carter Creek campsites in Iron Horse State Park

I immediately tested its “search” function for a topic near-and-dear to my heart — bike/hike campsites. Happily, I discovered that more than a dozen of Washington’s 100 state parks host campsites that are set aside for those who arrive under their power.

The predecessor website never revealed this information.

Bike-hike campsites are commonly first-come first-served, reduced rate campsites reserved for those who arrive at the park by bicycle, by foot, or by kayak or canoe.

Here’s a list of bicycle-friendly and biker – hiker campsites in Washington state parks :

Bogachiel State Park — 2 hiker/biker campsites

Camano Island State Park — 2 hiker/biker campsites

Deception Pass State Park — 5 hiker/biker campsites

Fairholme Campground (National Park Service) – 88 campsites; first-come

Fay Bainbridge Park (operated by Bainbridge Island; not a state park) — 15 tent sites

Fort Townsend State Park — 4 hiker/biker campsites

Fort Worden State Park — 5 hiker/biker campsites in Upper Forest Campground

Green Mountain Horse Camp — primitive tent sites maintained by horsemen’s association

Illahee State Park — 5 hiker/biker campsites

Iron Horse State Park — 4 small campgrounds on John Wayne Pioneer Trail (in addition to 2 hiker/biker sites at Lake Easton):

Alice Creek — Milepost 2127

Carter Creek — Milepost 2123

Cold Creek — Milepost 2113

Roaring Creek — Milepost 2109

Isput Creek Campground (Mount Rainier National Park) — 28 campsites (all first come; wilderness permit required)

Joemma Beach State Park — 2 hiker/biker/kayaker campsites

Lake Easton State Park — 2 hiker/biker campsites

Lewis and Clark State Park — 1 hiker/biker campsite

Manchester State Park — 3 hiker/biker campsites

Middle Fork Campground (US Forest Service) — 39 tent campsites (closed for 2016 season due to road work)

Rainbow Falls State Park — 3 hiker/biker campsites

Rasar State Park — 3 hiker/biker campsites

Spencer Spit State Park — 7 hiker/biker/kayaker campsites

Tolt MacDonald (King) County Park — 22 campsites (reservation and 1st come) and six yurts (reservation)

Twin Harbors State Park — 4 hiker/biker campsites

As you can see, the campsites are concentrated in western Washington. Many other Washington state parks have camping facilities; these are the only ones listed with biker/hiker campsites.


One advantage of biker/hiker campsites is that people traveling under their own power can’t always predict how far they’ll get in one day. If one campground is full, it’s not always possible to pedal through the night to the next site.

Also, many of the bike-hike campgrounds are communal, so there’s always room for one more traveler.

They should be easy enough build. You just need some flat spaces, a fire ring and a picnic table or two. You don’t need a 400-square-foot pad to park a recreational vehicle or electrical hook-ups.

I’d like to see all the state campgrounds have a couple of biker-hiker spots. Virginia, for instance, has a policy that all state campgrounds set aside an area for bicyclists to pitch their tents, even when the campground is otherwise full. The Virginia Bicycling Federation explains the details.

Although Washington state doesn’t have such an official policy, I was assured by a parks customer service specialist several years ago that “they would do their best not to turn away any camper arriving under their own power (hiking or biking) but would find a site even if it was just for the night.”

Other states where parks offer “guaranteed camping” policies include Oregon, California, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota.

Also, see the Kansas Cyclist Bicycle Camping Resources by State.

The National Forests of Washington also are available for  primitive camping.

Washington national forests:

Colville National Forest
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Olympic National Forest


Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2014/02/19/washington-state-lists-parks-with-bikehike-campsites/


3 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. Rob Anderson

    There are more Washington state parks to add to this list: Fort Casey, South Whidbey Island, Scenic Beach, Battle Ground Lake, and Seaquest all have hiker/biker sites.

    1. Gene Bisbee

      Thanks. Those on the list were the only ones identified on the state website with hike/bike campsites. I’m glad there are others.

      The Dungeness State Park near Sequim had a nice collection of hiker/biker campsites, but that facility is now run by Clallam County. Glad to say the hiker/biker sites are still there.

      If anyone else knows of others, please pass the info along.

  2. stew

    Fort Ebey State Park has a few

  3. Nick

    Please cite where you found that Indiana’s state parks guarantee camping. I ask this because last night, I was turned away from Indiana Dunes State Park on my bike during a bike overnight, looking for a campsite. I explained that I had learned Indiana has a no-turn-away policy, and no one there knew what I was talking about, including the attendant, the head of security at the park, and a ranger.

    1. Gene Bisbee

      I’m very sorry that happened, Nick. I double-backed and tried to find the information regarding Indiana and couldn’t. I first reported that back in 2012, when Virginia instituted its “guaranteed camping” policy for cyclists. I can only think it appeared in a comment or forum discussion at the time, but that no longer exists online. I emailed the Indiana DNR to confirm that they don’t have such a policy, and I’ve stricken it from this website.

  4. Mike

    Sequim Bay SP and Salt Creek further west both have hiker/biker sites.

    1. Gene Bisbee

      Thanks, Mike. Good to know for anyone bicycling the Discovery Trail on the Olympic Peninsula. Altho not directly on the trail, those parks are within riding distance if I recall.

  5. Mary

    Thanks for this post, Gene. Do you know if hiker/biker sites cost the same as other campsites?

    1. Gene Bisbee

      The hiker/biker sites are less expensive. Primitive campsites are $12 per night, while standard campsites are $25 to $35 a night. Camp sites tricked out with electricity are up to $45 a night during the summer.

      All the details are here: http://parks.state.wa.us/166/Camping-Fees

  6. Roy A Knaak Jr

    Larabee state park on chuckanut drive whatcom county also has several bike in hike in only sites.
    I noticed they are not listed… perhaps add them?

  1. Bike News Roundup: Biking the distance between planets | Seattle Bike Blog

    […] Washington state lists parks with bike/hike campsites » Biking Bis – A cloudy day is a great opportunity to plan a sunny weather bike trip […]

  2. 30 bicycle-friendly camping spots in western Washington » Biking Bis

    […] a list of camping fees for state […]

  3. Tour Bikers Guide for Filthy Casuals: Backcountry Campsites and Making a home in the Woods | Alice's Wanderland

    […] and private campgrounds rarely have a hiker biker discount, state parks (especially in Oregon, Washington, and Montana) are great about it.  Also hiker/biker sites cannot be reserved in all the states we […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>