Camp for free in Washington and Oregon in scattered areas

What does dispersed camping mean?

Basically, scattered camping means camping in a tent or RV outside of designated camping areas. No water, no electricity, no garbage cans, no tables, no fire pits and, in most cases, no toilets. But hey, it’s free, so you get what you pay for, right? Well, actually, you can’t put a value on being outdoors – it’s totally worth it.


Photo: – John Day Wild & Scenic River

Where is scattered camping allowed?

Scattered camping is permitted on most BLM (Bureau of Land Management) grounds. You are allowed to camp on BLM land as long as it is not posted, “no camping” or “restricted”, and usually it’s free (some areas charge a small fee per vehicle).

If you want to go where no one else is, you’ll want to find the road less traveled and look for a flat spot away from side roads. Most of these sites will be unmarked and you can create your own area – just make sure it’s flat and you don’t block access to it. You’ll likely see spots where others have camped, which will make it easier, and the BLM team actually prefers that you try to use areas that have been camped on before – it protects the land.


Photo: Fishtrap Recreation Area

How long can I camp for free?

You can camp for free for up to 14 days in the same place. Nothing more is allowed and if you wish to camp for more than two weeks you will need to travel outside of a 25 mile radius from the previous location. Make sense ? Otherwise, click here for the explanation of the rule. Simply put, the government doesn’t want you to settle permanently on public land (it’s only allowed in the city of Seattle – just kidding). Godman Recreational Site

What other rules are there for scattered camping?

If you wrap it, you wrap it. There is no excuse for leaving trash and other debris behind. Leave-no-trace has detailed rules and 7 principles to follow to help protect our natural lands.


Photo: Twin Lakes Recreation Area

How do I locate dispersed camping areas in Washington and Oregon?

There are literally thousands of acres of public land where you can camp, and the Bureau of Land Management has a curated search page for Washington, Oregon, and other states. Warmer weather is in sight and now is the time to set your sights on the perfect scattered campsite.

5 Great Private Campsites Near Tri-Cities

You will find private campsites available for rent in the mountains, on the farm, in the desert, on lakes and rivers. Most will set you back $19 to $40 a night. Here are some isolated sites available in Washington and Oregon.

5 Great Winter Campgrounds in Eastern Washington Open Year-Round

Just because the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder doesn’t mean you have to put away the camping gear or the trailer. Surprisingly, there is a long list of state parks that allow camping during the winter months on a first-come, first-served basis.

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