Dog-Friendly Camping in Washington
Dog-Friendly Camping in Washington: Three Favorite Locations
There are dozens of dog-friendly campgrounds in Washington State. We decided to highlight a few special spots. (It was hard to choose!)
1. Verlot Campground (Granite Falls, WA)
This beautiful campground is located in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, under two hours from Seattle by car. It has access to the Stillaguamish River and Benson Creek plus several miles of hiking trails, making it a perfect location for a weekend getaway with your pup.
2. Cape Disappointment State Park (Long Beach Peninsula [Ilwaco], WA)
With 2,023 acres alongside the Pacific Ocean, Cape Disappointment is anything but. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trails and in the campground; they are also allowed in designated cabins and yurts (though there is a pet fee). The beaches of this awe-inspiring park are also open to leashed dogs, but caution is advised because the waves can be very dangerous.
Fun tip: Does your dog like to dig? They might find black magnetic sand a few inches below the ground’s surface!
3. Fort Worden Historical State Park (Port Townsend, WA)
This park is located at the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula. With a view of the Olympic Mountains across the Puget Sound, Fort Worden offers beautiful vistas in addition to many options for fun activities. Leashed dogs are allowed in camping areas, on hiking trails, and on the beach (there are two miles of saltwater shoreline to explore).
4. Lake Ann (North Cascades, Mount Baker Area)
This lovely hike in the North Cascades has views of Curtis Glacier, Fisher Chimney, Mount Baker, and Mount Shuksan. Though it begins a little rocky, once you’ve reached the sub-alpine forest level, the trail becomes very traversable. Camping must take place at least two miles from the trailhead (which has a nice paved parking lot) and leashed dogs are allowed on both the trail and camping areas. Due to snow levels, this is typically a late season hike. *Requires a Northwest Forest Pass
5. Summit Lake (Mount Rainier Area)
The views of the alpine lake and large mountains in the background make this hike a must have on the backpacking list. The initial trail is about 2.5 miles in with the option to continue a loop around the beautiful Summit Lake to the peak. There are multiple camping sites around the lake. Dogs are welcome on leashes. *Requires a Northwest Forest Pass
6. Snowgrass Flat (Randel, WA)
Wildflowers can be found scattered about this trail - most blooming in July and August. One of the joys of this hike is that there are multiple routes and you can choose a variety of length and difficulty levels. Campsites are found throughout the trail, so you can stop and explore and take in the scenes as soon, or as late as you would like. If desired, you can travel up to 13 miles on this trail! Dogs on leashes are welcome.
General Recommendations and Reminders
Check individual park websites for detailed information about features, amenities, reservations, fees, and permits. (Click here for a helpful car camping reservations guide from Washington Trails Association.)
BRING POOP BAGS! All dog waste must be properly disposed of. Put pet waste in bags and place it in the garbage or pack it out in an airtight container. (Do not put it in compost bins!) Dog waste can attract wildlife; plus, it is bad for the environment!
Wildlife can be very dangerous. In Washington State, there are black bears, wolves, coyotes, and foxes, plus deer, elk, raccoons, and skunks. (There are many others, too! The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife provides lots of information about species in Washington.) While this page is from the Olympic National Park site, it has great tips about wildlife safety more broadly. Please do your research to ensure that you know what to expect and how to handle a potential wild animal encounter.
Edited and updated by K. Sims and W. Black
Original article published July 2018